Right when I think I have tasted all of the popular Korean soups, I discover a new dish. Kalbi tang is a Korean beef short rib soup that I am familiar with but I never actually had it. Whenever I go to a Korean restaurant that offers this dish, I spot another item on the menu that I can't resist. I always think, "I can order that next time!", and that next time just never happened. Well, I'm making a change to that habit and making it myself. Tummy, get ready for a hot bowl of kalbi tang!
Kalbi Tang (Korean Short Ribs Soup)
- 2 Persian cucumbers
- 1 jalapeno sliced
- ½ daikon radish
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- ¾ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 lb beef short ribs bone-in, cut into 2 inch sections
- 12 cups water
- 1 onion peeled
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 inch ginger peeled
- ½ daikon radish peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
- salt and pepper
- 6 oz glass noodles
- 2 eggs whisked
- 6 green onions chopped
- Prepare the jangahjji. Scrub the cucumbers until clean. Slice cucumbers, jalapeno, and radish into ¼ inch thick slices. Place into a glass jar.
- Heat sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour soy sauce mixture in the jar onto the cucumber mix. Let cool to room temperature. Cover the jar and let sit overnight.
- To make the soup, soak the beef short ribs in cold water in a large bowl. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Drain ribs and rinse. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover and let boil rapidly for 10 minutes to remove any impurities. Remove from heat, drain and rinse the ribs. Thoroughly wash the pot.
- Place ribs back into the pot and fill with 12 cups water. Add whole onion, garlic, and ginger into the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the ribs are tender. The meat should easily fall apart from the bone.
- Strain the broth, discarding the onion, garlic, and ginger. Set aside the short ribs. Bring the strained broth back to a boil. Add the radish and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Return the short ribs to the broth and season the soup with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.
- Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a nonstick saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the whisked eggs and spread in an even layer to create an egg crepe. Cook for one minute. Flip and cook on the other side until the eggs have set. Remove from heat and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
- Portion the glass noodles into 6 bowls. Ladle soup on top with short ribs and radish. Garnish with egg strips and chopped green onions. Serve with rice on the side and jangahjji.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you never had Kalbi tang before, think of it as a version of seolleongtang, another great Korean soup. If you had neither, well, what are you waiting for? Both are easy to prepare with minimal ingredients.
Since the jangahjji needs to pickle overnight, start by preparing this component. If you're wondering, "What the heck is jangahjji?", it refers to Korean pickled vegetables. You normally have it as a side dish but we're going to use it as a sauce for the short ribs.
When purchasing the beef short ribs, make sure to pick the English cut. There are three types of short ribs: boneless, English-cut, and flanken style. You want the bone-in short rib to add heartiness to the broth. The flanken style is when the bones are cut across the bones, a cut ideal for grilling. The English cut is most often used for braising because of the large cuts of meat. Ask your butcher to cut the ribs crosswise into 2-inch pieces rather than in long slabs.
Soaking the ribs in cold water is the first step in removing impurities and draining the blood from the meat and bones. Blanching the bones is the second assurance of removing the impurities. Taking these steps will achieve a pure, clean broth.
Many kalbi tang recipes do not add onion, garlic, and ginger to the broth but I prefer adding these aromatics to help not only impart flavor but also to remove any unpleasant odors.
Once the short ribs are tender, add the daikon radish and continue to simmer until the radish is soft and tender. Cook the noodles and serve.
You can technically serve the kalbi tang without the jangahjji but I find that using it as a sauce is optimal. The soup itself is clean and light in flavor; therefore, dipping the meat in the jangahjji adds another flavor element that excites the palate.
I served the kalbi tang to first-timers like myself and to my parents who had this dish many times before, both parties very much enjoyed it. Another great Korean soup to add to my list!
For more Korean soup inspiration check out this dak kalguksu recipe!