This is not about the recipe as much as it is about my all-day undertaking in attempting to recreate that familiar sweet and spicy flavor that comes in a bowl of steaming, piping hot korean beef stew from Kimchi. I thought I was going to hit home this time. It wasn’t as much of a failure as the first time I tried to make it, but it’s still not quite THE kimchi korean beef stew that I loved and craved. I don’t think anyone can ever make it the same way Kimchi did. It may come close but I believe no one can ever do it, except the people who’ve worked in their kitchen cooking up this fall-off-the-bone, mouth-watering meal in huge stainless steel pots.
I got the meat tenderness down having cooked the dish in the Crock Pot. But I don’t know, I guess I just have to keep on trying.
This recipe is an amalgamation of 2 different formula and my own take on it. I took the method from recipe A where he/she browned the meat before pouring in the liquid ingredients but I was a little bit leery about one element which was the wine. I don’t think House of Kimchi used wine in their massed produced pot of goodness. Recipe B, her ingredients just made more sense to me. The whole crock pot approach was completely mine, and later on in the process, I did some tweaking again. I’ll explain later. And you can agree or disagree. I have no professional culinary background so I could be wrong and all this may just be a personal preference.
Here we go…
- Short ribs (about 2-3 lbs.)
- 1 head garlic
- 3 thumb-size pieces of ginger
- 1 tbsp. chili powder (I used Sambal sauce)
- 1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns (I used crushed because I can’t figure out how to open the mill to save my life)
- 3-4 pieces of chilis
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 3/4-1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- 15 stalks of green onions – chopped
- Toasted sesame seeds
- 3 1/2 cups Water
- Saute ginger in oil. Add onions and garlic. Stir well until fragrant.
- Brown the meat. you know how you sear your steak? You’re going to do the same with your ribs. Brown all meaty sides. You want a nice crusty, caramelized meat. Don’t worry about undercooking it. Remember that you’re going to slow cook this. If you’re pan is not big enough to accommodate your meat, you might have to do this in batches and tent the meat or just throw it straight in the slow cooker afterwards. (This is the part where I got a little impatient and threw everything in after the first batch. Don’t do this)
- In a separate bowl, mix water, sugar, sesame oil, chili powder. Mix well until blended. This is your brown mixture. You will find some recipes using white sugar. I followed that recipe and I found that white sugar muted the soy sauce and sesame oil. I found myself dumping half the sauce out and made a new brown mixture. It was better. I think that brown sugar heightens the soy sauce, it brings out its flavor unlike the sugar which just makes everything sweet for no reason.
- Once you’ve browned your beef, transfer them in your Crock Pot (or dutch oven or whatever slow cooker you have) and pour in brown mixture, add chili and bay leaves.
- Slow cook according to your slow cooker’s instructions. When meat is fork tender, you can throw sesame seeds and chopped green onions.