Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kalbi Jjim Tacos (Korean Braised Short Rib Tacos)

Taco trucks selling Korean-Mexican fusion tacos seem to be one of the latest food trends in the country.  They were made popular in Southern California by trucks like Kogi and now are widely available for Korean BBQ and taco lovers to feast on.  Hearing about this craze, I was curious to try them since Korean and Mexican foods are right up my alley.  So just a few weeks ago my boyfriend and I went down the street from my apartment to where the Kalbiq truck was posted for the afternoon.  I ordered a few of their short rib and bulgogi tacos and the boyfriend got a bulgogi burrito.  The tacos were pretty tasty but wished I had gotten the burrito instead (it was like a California burrito with a Korean twist, yum!). 

I wanted to try making my own version of Korean tacos thereafter and knew that falling-off-the-bone-as-tender-as-can-be braised short ribs (kalbi jjim) would be the meat of choice for my tacos.  I’ve always loved kalbi jjim as a kid, and is definitely a comfort food of mine.  Seriously, all you need to go with the ribs is a bowl of perfectly cooked sticky white rice and you’re set.  Getting a little side tracked now but my point is, that these braised short ribs are absolutely heavenly and why shouldn’t they be just as good in tacos?

Making these tacos is a bit time consuming but honestly, completely worth putting in the effort.  The short ribs are simmered for half an hour in water, then an hour in a sweet and savory sauce until the meat soaks in the flavors and starts falling off the bones.  When they’re done the bones are removed and the meat cut into small pieces.  The meat is then wrapped up in a warm corn tortilla with fresh guac, my pico de gallo with a Korean twist (includes diced radish kimchi), cilantro-lime seasoned rice, and crunchy shredded cabbage.  The flavor and texture combinations are perfectly balanced, and you will not regret making these tacos!

Serves 2-3
Kalbi Jjim
2 ½ lbs Korean style short ribs, cut ½ inch thick across bones
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup sake
1 cup sugar
½ cup sesame oil
1 ½ cups water
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 Asian pear, sliced
1 teaspoon ground black pepper       

1. Cover the ribs in a pot of cold water for about 30 minutes to remove blood. 
2. Drain and add clean water to pot.  Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes to 45 minutes.  This will help remove excess fat from the ribs.
3. Drain and wash ribs with clean water.
4.  In a clean pot over medium heat, mix soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, water, garlic, pear slices, and pepper. 
5. Add in short ribs to the simmering sauce.  Let simmer for about an hour.
6. Take ribs out of pot and remove bones from meat.  Cut meat into small pieces.

Short rib meat (see above)
Corn tortillas
Cilantro-lime rice (To make cilantro-lime rice mix in chopped cilantro and lime juice with cooked white rice.  I used short grain white rice.)
Shredded cabbage

1. Assemble ingredients on corn tortillas as desired.

1 comment:

  1. These looks fabulous. And why do we not have taco trucks here in the DC Metro area. So not fair. hehe great job girl (=


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