Korean short ribs with spicy kimchi cucumbers is an absolutely delectable dish. Serious comfort food, Korean style, with just enough spice to shake up your comfort zone. It’s slow food, but watch how fast it disappears! Cheap cuts of meat, like short ribs, don’t necessarily make the most gorgeous-looking dish… but they taste incredible.
Recipe by Niel Roake
Korean short ribs with spicy kimchi cucumbers
- 1,5kg beef short ribs
- 4 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 6cm root ginger, peeled and chopped into 3 pieces
- 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
- 250ml (1 cup) soya sauce (yes, that much!)
- 15ml (1 tbsp) sesame oil
- 15ml (1 tbsp) crushed dried chilli
- 15ml (1 tbsp) sugar
- 600ml water
- 5 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 4cm pieces
- 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 600ml warm water for 30 minutes
- 150g shimeji mushrooms
Spicy kimchi cucumbers
- 2 English cucumbers
- 10ml (2 tsp) salt
- 30ml (2 tbsp) chives, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
- 3cm root ginger, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 60ml (¼ cup) fish sauce
- 15ml (1 tbsp) dried chilli flakes
- juice of 1 lemon
- 5ml (1 tsp) sugar
For the ribs, ensure you buy the best short ribs with the least fat and gristle. (I stand at the butcher counter and pick and choose, pick and choose…) Bring a big pot of water to a boil and cook the ribs, 10 minutes. Drain the ribs and repeat the process.
In a food processor, pulse together the onions, garlic and ginger until they are finely chopped, but not paste-like. In a large, heavy-base pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion mixture. Stir-fry over medium heat until softened but not brown, 10 minutes. Add the drained ribs and continue to fry, stirring often, 10 minutes. Add the soya sauce, sesame oil, chilli, sugar and water and cook away with the lid on, 1 hour.
While this is cooking, prepare the kimchi. Cut the ends off the cucumbers and chop into 8cm pieces. Stand each piece on its end and cut through the middle, but not all the way through. Now, turn the cucumbers 180 degrees and slice down through the middle again, but not all the way through. Are you keeping up?
Now, sprinkle the salt all over the cucumbers and set aside in a colander to drain, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients. Rub away all of the salt and water that has oozed from the cucumbers with a tea towel. Open up the slits in the cucumbers and stuff the spicy filling as far up the cuts as you can get it, until you have used up all the mixture. Set aside, at least 30 minutes. (You can leave this overnight too.)
Back to the short ribs! Add the carrots and shiitake mushrooms and their soaking water to the pot and boil away for a further 30 minutes with the lid off. Just before serving, add the shimeji and place the lid back on. The shimeji wilt fast, so watch carefully. Serve with the kimchi cucumbers.