Korean Beef Stew (Galbi Jjim) Easy Recipe!

One of the first dishes I ever learned to make aside from pasta (like most people) is the Korean Beef Stew or Galbi Jjim. This was way before the Korean tsunami hit the Philippines. I have to give a massive shout out to Little Asia restaurant (now Bistro Charlemagne), whose version of the dish I fell in love with more than a decade ago.

Many years later, Korean culture, including food and entertainment, invaded the Philippines. Now, everyone is familiar with Korean cuisine. More and more people are making it at home. If you’re looking for an easy way to create this classic dish, I’m happy to share my recipe with you. Be warned, this dish takes a while to make!


1kg beef short ribs, cut in 2-3 inch pieces (just cut between the ribs if you can’t get it pre-cut from the butcher)

3 cups beef stock (or use water and a beef cube)

8 tbsps. soy sauce

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp mirin (rice wine)

1 red delicious or any sweet apple

1 large potato

1 large carrot

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 stalks onion leeks

3 tbsp. Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds

  1. Defrost and soak your ribs in water for about 20 mins. Drain and replace the water several times to make sure that  the blood is drawn out from the meat.
  2. Completely drain the meat and season with salt and pepper on all sides. This is where my recipe differs from the traditional Korean method. They immediately boil the meat, then drain the water from the first boil before putting everything back in a fresh pot. I skip that and sear my meat on all sides instead. I find that this brings out a deeper flavor. Put a thin layer of cooking oil  in a deep, heavy pot like a Dutch oven (Make sure that will fit all of your ingredients later). Before starting the stew, brown your meat in small batches instead of putting everything in the pot at the same time. This way, the meat will caramelize.
  3. Once you are done browning the meat,  saute your chopped onions and minced garlic in the oil that’s left in the pot.
  4. Once the aromatics soften, add your stock and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Then, add all the meat that you set aside earlier.
  5. Add the soy sauce, sugar, honey, mirin, grated apple and chili garlic sauce to your stew. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. cook covered for about 45 mins to an hour before checking meat for tenderness.
  6. After about an hour, open your pot and check how soft your meat is by poking with a fork. If it is still very tough, cover again and cook for another 30 mins. Once the meat is starting to soften, turn up the heat and let the stock start to reduce. Keep an eye on the stew and move it around often to avoid burning the bottom. At this point, add the potatoes and carrots which have been cut into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Let the stock reduce until it thickens and covers only about half of the meat (about 30 mins on medium high heat). Check how tender your meat is and decide if it’s good to go. In case your stock starts to dry out before your meat is ready, just add small amounts of water. Make sure you don’t add water too late or your stew might burn.
  8. Once you are satisfied with the tenderness of the meat and consistency of the stock, add the sliced leeks. I like mine with a thick, gravy-like sauce instead of a watery stew.
  9. Serve topped with sesame seeds and bowls of steaming white rice!

In Korea, Galbi-Jjim is a special dish that isn’t served on a daily basis. You won’t find it in every restaurant menu either, unlike in many Korean restaurants in the Philippines. I think that’s because Korean beef is expensive and very high quality. Therefore, this is reserved for special occasions. We even had to go to a place that serves only Galbi-Jjim in order to try it!

It’s also interesting to note that the Galbi-Jjim there is served with the meat pre-tenderized. Then, they add a variety of mushrooms, rice cakes and potato starch noodles to be cooked at your tabletop. The broth also reduces and thickens right as you are enjoying the stew on your table. Of course, there’s some steamed eggs (gyeran-jjim) and other side dishes. Here’s what it looked like:

Galbi-Jjim in Korea

You can try serving your stew this way if you have a tabletop stove. Otherwise, the simple method is just as yummy! Please leave a comment if you make it successfully!