Pan-Seared Korean Beef Short Ribs with a Maple Glaze (Maple Syrup Kalbi Marinade)

Pan-Seared Korean Beef Short Ribs with a Maple Glaze (Maple Syrup Kalbi Marinade) Recipe

My cousin took me to a Korean Buffet a few months ago and I just got hooked on Korean beef short ribs ever since. The meat is very tender and delicious. This dish is meant to be eaten with your fingers. If you try and eat these with a fork and knife, you'll never get all the goodness and flavor out of the meat near then tendons and bones.

The key to making good Korean short ribs is to maintain a balance of sweet and savory flavors. I picked maple syrup and soy sauce for the sweet and savory agents in this dish. 


Yields: 6 servings

4 lbs Korean short ribs, about 15 slices
4 Tbs plain whole yogurt
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbs garlic, finely minced
2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 Tbs canola oil
1 drizzle toasted sesame oil
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 lime , freshly squeezed
2 baby Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced (only the green part)
2 Tbs fresh cilantro , coarsely chopped
2 Tbs fresh mint
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 Romaine lettuce, shredded
1 fresh green serrano pepper, thinly sliced, optional
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, freshly ground
1 pack dried vermicelli rice noodles, cooked


Place the beef in a large stainless steel mixing bowl. Place the onion and yogurt together into a blender. Spread the onion yogurt onto the beef. Mix well. Plastic-wrap the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, ginger garlic paste, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons of scallions, cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons of canola oil and toasted sesame oil if (used) in a bowl. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the marinade and pour the rest into the beef. Mix well. Make sure all the marinade coats all the short ribs. Marinade the Korean beef for at least 30 minutes. Do not extend the marinating time more than an hour otherwise the beef will be too salty.

Heat up the rest of the canola oil in a large griddle pan over high heat. Make sure to spread all the oil onto the griddle pan to prevent the maple syrup from sticking as it caramelizes. Add the rest of the minced garlic. Drain as much excess liquid marinade off the beef as possible and place the ribs onto the hot griddle. Cook for about 3 minutes. The meat should be caramelized on one side. Flip all the beef ribs and cook for about 2-3 minutes to get a medium rare meat. Brush more of the marinade onto the beef using a silicone brush. Extend the cooking for another minute if you like it well done. Do not overcook the beef since the Korean-Style short ribs are sliced pretty thin.

Transfer the short ribs to a plate, cover the meat loosely with aluminum foil and let the meat rest for at about 5 minutes. Slice the meat and drizzle with the reserve marinade.

Place in 2 large serving platters. In one plate, place thin vermicelli rice noodles. In another plate, add fresh vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts, fresh cilantro and mint and scallions. Fill a bowl with the reserve beef marinade. It's family style - everyone helps themselves to their own bowl, starting with the veggies, the noodles, and then finally the Korean beef. Pour the marinade, add the coriander and mint. To be eaten with chopsticks of course!

Bon appétit!


The acidity of the yogurt acts as a great meat tenderizer, and the onion helps add a nice flavor to the beef.

I use maple syrup for its distinctive flavor but you can substitute with a flowery honey or any other sweetener.

This marinated beef short ribs recipe is also great for barbecue during the summer. Can't wait for the sunny warm BBQ parties this in a few months!

My favorite soy sauce is the Da Bo De brand. It has a very nice flavor and is not too salty. You can buy this particular sauce in downtown San Jose, like at Dai Thanh Asian market on 420 S 2nd St, in San Jose. Well, it's not the prettiest. Don't expect to enter an Asian version of Whole Foods, but it has all the fresh Vietnamese produce at a very reasonable price. This is one of the best "ethnic" grocery store in the area.

I used rice noodles and served the meat the same way I did for my fried catfish.

I buy Korean-style short rib cut at a local Korean market. It is also called "flanken".  The name is derived from a strip of meat that runs across the bone to the chuck end.  The cut is about 8 inches long studded with 3 small rib bones. it is oh so good .

 Korean Beef

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 18, 2009.


[-] yogurt? - Guest-JessicaFoodmayhem
I've made Korean short ribs before but not with yogurt...I didn't know Koreans used yogurt...this sounds great though!

Jessica@Foodmayhem Website Link
[ Posted at 6:30 PM on 4/19/09 | Reply ]
[-] meat tenderizer - Jackie
My aunt who used to run a restaurant in the early 90s told me that it was a chef's trick to use yogurt as a meat to ensure a juicy product.
[ Posted at 10:31 PM on 4/21/09 | Reply ]
Now THAT makes me hungry.
[ Posted at 11:03 PM on 4/19/09 | Reply ]
[-] Anne in Oxfordshrie - Guest-anne
Hi Thanks for commenting on my blog....We had a fabulous time in Paris thank you...hope to go back soon!

anne Website Link
[ Posted at 9:50 AM on 4/20/09 | Reply ]
[-] question. - Guest-Nguyet
Hi Jackie,

Where can I buy ginger garlic paste? Does Ranch 99 carry it? I'm in the Seattle area, and we have a Ranch 99 here, so can't wait to go buy some short ribs to try out this recipe!
[ Posted at 9:46 PM on 4/21/09 | Reply ]

You don't need to buy ginger garlic paste. You can make your own. I find that the ginger brings more flavor to the dish even though I don't think you would use ginger in the traditional Korean dish. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. Just clean the ginger and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife, then finely chop the root. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a mini-prep/ blender, add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.

I used ginger garlic paste in my vegetarian Indian curry pot pie, Indian-style pearl onion confit upside-down tart, tandoori chicken thighs, lima bean paneer and saffron basmati rice, cherry tomato and sour cherry chutney and my caramelized tofu with wasabi and soy sauce.

[ Posted at 10:29 PM on 4/21/09 | Reply ]
This is luscious! I absolutely love these flavors and I would love to try this dish. We love good Korean ribs, and if you can't find them near home, then I guess we need to try and make them ourselves. Thanks for the yummy recipe!

Jamie Website Link
[ Posted at 1:15 AM on 4/23/09 | Reply ]
[-] Steam Oven Cooking - Guest-Tenina
Love this, the blend of flavors...and the yoghurt would make them so tender! thanks for visiting me too!

Tenina Website Link
[ Posted at 6:38 PM on 4/26/09 | Reply ]
The glaze looks fantastic! I've never thought of using maple syrup before. Thanks for the tip - I'll try it next time!
[ Posted at 11:47 AM on 8/6/09 | Reply ]

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