Korean beef stew, kalbi jim
I had to shop so I told Vero to boil the short ribs in the pressure cooker and prepare some blanched veggies, any veggies from the fridge, for dinner. When I came home, I added the seasoning ingredients, let the stew cook in the pressure cooker for a while longer and then switched the heat off to let the flavors develop. Dinner time, and Vero brought this plate of veggies to the table:
Isn't that a pretty plate of veggies? The lettuce looked like they were boiled to death but still, who would've thought, a plate of lettuce surrounded by purple cauliflower? I told Vero she did a good job and she dismissed it humbly.
When the weather's cool and rainy, I like dishes that warm the body. Stews do a great job warning up the body and stomach. The funny thing about kalbi jim is, the few times I cooked it, that it was either too watery and or too dry or too bland but this time, when I didn't bother to follow the cookbook, it turned out perfect. I found that with the pressure cooker, my stews turn out better when I get the meat half-way tender and then switch the fire off so that the sauce can seep into the meat while the meat continue to cook in the retained heat. After some time, I re-heat and let it cook without pressure to reduce and thicken the sauce. If I use the pressure cooker all through the cooking process, the stew doesn't turn out as flavorful. You can cook a good stew with the pressure cooker but by combining pressure and non-pressure simmering, your stew can be better than just good.
Instead of marinading the ribs, I cooked them until half-tender and then added the seasoning ingredients. The family gave high marks for this, and I'm happy.
1.5 kg beef short ribs, in 4-5 cm pieces
2 carrots, in small chunks
1 large white carrot/radish (daikon), in small chunks
7-8 red dates, washed well
5 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked & halved
1 small piece of ginger
1 T minced garlic
1 T sesame oil
1 T toasted sesame seeds
6 T light soy sauce
1 T dark soy sauce
1 T sugar
3 T rice wine
1/4 cup scallions or spring onions, chopped
2 T corn syrup
generous dose of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pineapple or pear juice, preferably from the fresh fruit*
*in Korean cooking, pear or pineapple juice is often added to tenderize the meat. I used the stem/heart of a fresh pineapple, because we had a fresh pineapple.
1. Trim the rib of any fat, wash well. Blanch the ribs with plenty of boiling water, drain.
2. Put ribs into a pressure cooker and add enough water to just cover and cook about 20 minutes after the pressure is reached. Turn heat off.
3. When the safety button drops, remove the lid and add all the remaining ingredients except a large pinch of chopped spring onions for garnish. Cover and simmer at normal cooking heat without pressure for about 20 minutes. If there's too much liquid, leave the lid half-on, turn the heat to high and cook so that somw of the liquid is reduced. Cover and turn heat off.
4. After 20 minutes, re-heat the stew and let it cook under pressure for another 10-15 minutes depending on how tender the meat is.
Let the stew steep in the sauce until just before serving time. Re-heat, taste & season if necessary.The sauce shouldn't be too thin. If it is, leave the lid open and cook the stew at high heat to burn off some of the sauce to thicken it. Sprinkle the reserved spring onions over the stew and serve hot with rice.