Like a normal Korean family, we grilled galbee.
Naturally, we had carne asada tacos to go with it!
What is wrong with my family? Why can’t we be normal?
Why can’t we be like a typical FOB family who makes steamed rice, grills bulgogi, galbee and dahk bulgogi for the one “artistic” sister who doesn’t eat red meat, and everyone walks buffet-style around the patio table using disposable wooden chopsticks to pile our paper plates with glassy, glittering jahp-chae, gogi-jun (battered and pan-fried ground beef patties), ggae-nip (seasoned perilla leaves) and kimchee so high you’d think we were at a Korean church picnic where you can’t go back for seconds because really, would Jesus seventh sinfully go back for seconds?
Why can’t we be like a typical American family and grill ground beef burgers of questionable quality from Costco, top them with cheese, but not on Dad’s because “don’t forget Dad’s cholesterol, Sarah!” and serve them with potato salad that’s homemade, but macaroni salad from the deli counter at the market because when it’s family BBQ potluck, who really makes homemade macaroni salad?
And rather than even going the semi-normal, though hateful to me, route of fusion wherein we could have bulgogi burgers with gahm (sweet potato) chips or even galbee with potato salad which isn’t fusion anyway because no bahnchan is more Korean than potato salad (!) so never mind, we went to double the effort of two complete and culturally distinct meals that represent the respective ancestries of our family members.
Korean….for the Korean half of our family.
Mexican…for the Chinese half of our family.
It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
Of course it does because we live in LA and in LA, only the concept of “drive-time” doesn’t make sense.
When I thought about it, though, it really does make sense, given the actual foods we were eating. The way Koreans eat galbee is very similar to eating a taco. For both cuisines, marinated beef is grilled – carne asada for Mexican food, galbee and bulgogi for Korean food. For both, the beef is placed inside a wrapper – tortillas for Mexican food, sahng-choo (red leaf lettuce leaves) for Korean. For both, there are various and sundry “toppings” to add to the beef – fresh cilantro, onions, salsa, and guacamole for Mexican food, ssam jahng (stank nasty fermented soybean paste mixed with hot pepper) for Korean food. Egads! There is even a parallel between my favorite bahn-chan (other than kimchee) ggae-nip, and cilantro – they’re
leaves from the same minty family. I almost had it in me to wrap a tortilla around galbee and chopped kimchee, but someone beat me to it.
Writing out this post, I realize that I have never shared a recipe for galbee, which is probably the number one Korean recipe for which people email me, even though I have never, not once, ever posted about actually cooking galbee.
Just because I’m Korean doesn’t automatically mean I know how to make galbee!
(But I do.)
So here’s the “recipe” (in quotes because galbee marinade is so very personal)
Galbee (Korean Marinated and Grilled Short-Ribs)
This is the “ratio” for making 1 lb of galbee, which is enough for oh, about half a person. Increase the quantities proportionally and you should be fine. If you are accustomed to the way-too-sticky-sweet galbee they serve in kBBQ restaurants in LA, you may want to up the sugar.
I don’t like my galbee sweet.
Toss 1 lb. crosscut shortribs (either have the butcher do it for you, or go to a Korean grocery store, where they sell the meat already sliced) with 1 T. each of sugar and rice vinegar.
In a small bowl, combine 5 T. soy sauce, 2 T. sugar, 2 T. rice wine, 2-3 super finely minced garlic cloves, ½ t. super finely minced fresh ginger, 1 finely chopped green onion (including white parts), 1 T. sesame oil, a dash of black pepper and 2 T. water.
Pour over sliced meat and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Grill on your grill, about 3 minutes on each side. My entire family likes their galbee like shoe leather well-done, whereas I prefer mine just beyond medium-rare.
(** As a side note, you can add half a pureed kiwi to the marinade as a tenderizer.)
** a year ago today, i got my groove back at Jar **
**two years ago today, i actually baked! it was fresh fig and honeyed mascarpone tart in a basil pine nut crust **