Current Status · Korean food · Recipes

Korean Food: Kalbi, Korean style ribs


I am Korean. I know, that is really weird way to start. BUT I have a reason. I think I am really biased or just smart, because when I go to look for a Korean recipe, I always check the source. Was this recipe written by a Korean or someone of a Korean background? Why is this important? Because I am looking for authentic, no-substitution Korean recipes. Since my mom has a hard time writing down recipes for me and eyeballs everything without measuring, I have had to resort to blogs and cookbooks. However, I want the food I cook to taste like how my mom made it growing up. I get a teeny weeny bit jealous of my sisters sometimes because they still live at home and although that can be a drag sometimes I am sure, they also get fed! I don’t know if you have noticed this, but Koreans tend to treat and heal others with food. Every get together is a feast and Koreans are constantly pushing food on people. “Eat more, eat more! You are getting fat! Eat more.” So messed up and really mixed messages, but it is the Korean motto. So in order to cook Korean food like my mom, I have to get as close to authentic as I can. I really wish I had tried to learn more about Asian cooking when I lived at home, but at the time I was much more into baking and making casseroles and pastas. I always felt much more American than the rest of my family and didn’t appreciate my Korean background until late into college. All those classes on diversity and privilege did a number on me.

So as much as I would like to say that I am cooking Korean to get in touch with my heritage and family background and blah blah blah, I will admit that it is mostly because it tastes good even when healthy. This week I ventured into Kalbi and Kimchee fried rice. Kalbi is your typical delicious marinated Korean bbq meat. It is made with short ribs which is a little pricey but for 2 people, a $10 package plus another dish made a perfectly portioned dinner. The marinade is so easy if you have a Vitamix or high-powered blender. You can totally make it without but it is a lot more work without one I will admit.

And again, (I know I need to stop complaining about this) but why the hell is white sugar added to recipes that don’t need them? So I adapted a couple recipes AGAIN to be able to omit the sugar without affecting the taste. I win. With the honey and whole Asian pear, the marinade is super sweet without needing the extra sugar.

I bet this recipe would come out okay if it only sat like six hours, but I did mine overnight so about 20 hours and it was perfect so I don’t really recommend rushing this one. Having it all ready to go to grill the next night is also very nice on a weekday.

I adapted this recipe from

Korean Kalbi

Marinade (if you are going to blend it up) 
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup rice wine (or mirin)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 Korean/Asian pear, peeled and cored and quartered
  • 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
  • 3 scallions/green onions, chopped
  1. Rinse the ribs to wash off bone dust, and drain well. Pound the meat lightly with a meat tenderizer, or stretch it out with your hands.
  2. Place soy sauce, water, honey, rice wine, sesame oil, pear, onion, garlic, ginger, and pepper in blender. Puree well. Add the green onions and sesame seeds and stir. Marinate overnight.
  3. Preheat the grill over medium high heat. Grill the short ribs, turning only once, 2 – 3 minutes on each side. (PS I let my husband grill and I didn’t tell him the one time rule and they turned out just fine)


So because I made this recipe without rushing around the night before we actually ate it. I remembered to take pictures. This is probably the first and last time. To show you how easy this marinade is, here are the photo instructions! 












Now pair with kimchee fried rice!



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