Galbitang is a rich but delicate soup made from short ribs, Korean radish, and glass noodles (dangmyun). It most likely originated more than 800 years ago, during the waning days of the Goryeo Dynasty.
Because beef historically has been expensive in Korea (and often still is), galbitang was reserved for special occasions. For example, it's commonly is served at traditional Korean wedding receptions. The glass noodles are made with sweet potato starch.
If you're looking for a light, simple meal, galbitang isn't your best option—it's a hearty, substantial dish intended to fill you up. In addition, if you're looking for a recipe that's simple to cook and can be finished in just a few minutes, this isn't your best bet, either. Galbitang takes substantial preparation time, which includes pre-soaking the ribs to remove traces of blood.
Nonetheless, if you have the time and the inclination to try making Korean short rib soup, you won't be disappointed. You also can plan ahead by making a large batch of galbitang and refrigerating it or freezing it until you're ready to serve it.
Some people like to add some chili seasoning to it at the table to give it a little kick, but others prefer it plain with rice and banchan. In addition, many Koreans prefer to eat this with kimchi, so you might make certain you have some of that on hand when serving galbitang.
- For the Soup:
- 2 lb. beef short ribs, English-cut (cut into 2-inch squares)
- 4 oz. glass noodles
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 scallions (sliced into 1-inch pieces)
- For the Seasoned Radish:
- 1/2 large Korea radish (or 2 Chinese white radish, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices)
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tbsp. ginger (sliced)
- 1 tsp. pepper, finely ground
- Optional: kochukaru (chili powder)
- Soak the ribs in a bowl of cold water for about 1 to 2 hours to drain the blood, changing the water a couple of times. Longer soaking may be needed (traditionally, the ribs were soaked for 8 to 10 hours).
- Mix sliced radish with the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and pepper.
- Place the ribs in a pot and cover with fresh water.
- Bring to a boil and simmer vigorously for 5 minutes.
- Remove ribs from pot and rinse any scum or oil off in cold water.
- In a large pot, cover ribs with 4 cups of fresh water.
- Bring to a boil, and then simmer over high heat for 30 minutes.
- Add the seasoned radish and the salt to the soup pot and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Add the noodles and cook for another 4 minutes.
- Add the sliced scallions and cook for another 1 minute.
- Serve with a sprinkle of chili powder, if desired.