Slow Cooker Kalbi Short Rib

At the moment, given the global crisis, people have a lot of time to invest in the food that they are making at home. A lot of people are being forced to cook at home, with restaurants being closed, but others are desperately trying to scrimp and save on every penny because of the economic crisis, and job redundancies that have followed in the path of the virus pandemic.

While we haven’t had a strict lockdown in Hong Kong, a lot of people have voluntarily reduced how much they go outside, or how many people they see. The restaurant business is struggling, but they are still open (with certain restrictions), but it’s the small businesses like family-owned gyms that are the ones who really need support. Luckily, my gym has been doing what they can to keep everyone fit by running outdoor bootcamps, but maintaining the maximum group of 4 per workout station. It’s not ideal, but at least it keeps everyone motivated.

I, on the other hand, have been in a semi-quarantine type state given that the person who lives above me is a confirmed case, now in hospital. I haven’t had any contact with him, or his wife, since they got back to HK from their travels, but there is always the risk of touching something in the stairwell, or travelling through the plumbing (there were a few cases back in February that occurred because of some shoddy plumbing). Either way, while I’m not concerned about my own exposure, it’s better to avoid being out and about and risking the spread.

Good news is, I’ve only got 3 days left before I’m “allowed out in the wild” again. Truth is, as restrictions start to get lifted, the speed at which people seem to relax is worrying. This virus isn’t vanishing as soon as restrictions are lifted, in fact, there are conversations about how it lingers deep in the lungs, and therefore can’t be detected. But, I’m not trying to scare or worry anyone. I apologise. I just need to say, be careful and remain vigilant.

Meanwhile, in the world of food – slow cookers are a great friend right now, as you can leave them to do their thing while you do something else. Home-school the kids, learn how to knit, do some gardening, make sourdough from scratch… anything else you want to do, you can.

If you can get short ribs, through delivery or your limited supermarket shops, get them and make Kalbi ribs. The recipe below serves 3 to 4 people.


1.5 kg short ribs, bone in
200ml soy sauce
200ml beef broth (or stock if you can’t find broth)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
30g brown sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece garlic, peeled and minced
1 tbsp Gochujang (or 1 tsp red pepper flakes)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp cornstarch
25ml cold water
spring onions, for garnish
1 tsp sesame seeds, for garnish

  1. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, beef broth, rice vinegar, brown sugar, pepper, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and Gochujang.
  2. In your slow cooker, arrange the ribs in a layer along the bottom (as much as possible), and sprinkle with the sliced onion. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the ribs.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8hours.
  4. 20 minutes before serving, whisk the cornstarch and cold water together and pour it into the slow cooker. Stir it through the sauce and juices from the meat carefully. Cover back up and cook for a further 20 minutes, for the sauce to thicken.
  5. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker, and place on serving plate. Sprinkle with spring onions and sesame seeds.
  6. Separate the liquid in the slow cooker from the fat, and serve the sauce on the side with rice, pearl barley, or in tortilla wraps (the meat will fall off the bone easily enough for tacos).

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