Soy-Braised Beef Shanks

I just got back from a family get together in California. It’s going to take me a while to get used to this cold weather in NYC – highs in the 30’s today. That’s way too cold for this wimpy, west coast transplant. And when the temperatures start falling, I only crave hot or warm foods. No cold salads for me in the winter.

I love braised meats in particular. I could have a nice, comforting braised meat dish everyday. When I got back, the first thing I craved was galbi jjim (Korean-style braised short ribs). The dish is perfect for a chilly winter day. And it’s perfect for a weekend get together with friends or family. It doesn’t require a lot of active cooking time. You can just let it simmer for hours while you entertain your guests. While it simmers, it will warm up your room and fill it up with the most wonderful, comforting aroma. My husband says it feels and smells like home.

I made this dish with beef shanks, instead of short ribs, because my butcher didn’t have any grass-fed short ribs. I actually prefer the beef shank. I especially love the bone marrow. The gelatinous substance flavors and thickens up the soup. You can also choose to scrape the marrow out and mix it in with rice or spread it on bread. It’s so rich and delicious. And even though the marrow is quite fatty, it doesn’t contain any saturated fat. It is also a source of protein, iron, and calcium. Keep in mind tho, it is still fat. So treat it as a once-in-a-while indulgence. Believe me. It’s a worthy indulgence.

Korean Soy-Braised Beef Shanks Recipe
Makes 4 servings
2 1/4 – 2 1/2 lbs beef shanks
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
3 cups of water
5 garlic cloves, chopped loosely
1/4 TB dry sherry
1/2 cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
2 TB sesame oil
3 TB agave nectar or 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 lb daikon, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch cylinders
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch cylinders
1/2 – 3/4 lb potato(es), cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Optional ingredients
1/2 (~ 4 oz.) basket button mushrooms, quartered
2 green onions, (white part for braise + green part for garnish)

  1. In a large pot, soak the beef shanks in cold water for about 30 minutes. After soaking, bring the shanks to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes. You will see brown foam float to the top. Discard the water. Clean off the shanks of any brown foam and bone chips (if any). Wipe out the pot and place the shanks back in the pot.
  2. In a bowl, stir together 3 cups of water, dry sherry, tamari, agave nectar (or sugar), garlic, sesame oil, green onions (ONLY white parts if using), and onions. Add the mixture along with the daikons to the pot. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid. Allow it to simmer for about 2 hours. Add additional water as necessary to replace any liquid lost through vaporization.
  3. Stir in carrots and potatoes. Cover and continue simmering for another 30 minutes.
  4. Throw in the mushrooms if using. Uncover and allow it to simmer until the sauce reduces/thickens. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve hot with steamed rice, mashed potatoes, or creamy polenta.

Cook’s Note*:
You can use a pressure cooker and cut cooking time by half.

You can substitute short ribs or brisket in place of beef shanks.

If you can’t find daikons, just skip it and slightly increase the amount of other vegetables in the recipe. But keep in mind that daikons impart a lovely flavor to the dish. Additionally, they can be braised for hours without breaking down or losing their shape (unlike potatoes or carrots). So they can be thrown in with the beef at the beginning part of the cooking process to absorb all of the delicious flavors of the dish.


29. November 2012 by gomo
Categories: Beef, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Korean Food, Main Dish, Soups/Stew | Tags: | 14 comments

Comments (14)

  1. Look so…. Delicious !!!

  2. These ribs turned out so nice. Was a bit hesitant at first but ended up a winning meal, thanks.

    • Happy to hear that it turned out well! I know it may sound a bit weird to non-Korean cooks out there that we throw out the first boiled broth and clean the meat 🙂 But there is plenty of flavor left in the bones and the meat … with less fat as a result! Thanks for sharing your experience!!!

  3. I’ve been cooking a lot with daikon lately. Soup, dong cua, chicken stew, pork stew… I need to try this.

    • Thanks for visiting the site Jayne! I love cooking with daikons too – especially in stews. It soaks up the flavors so nicely without disintegrating. I just have to remember to put in enough so that we don’t fight over it. 😛

  4. This looks so delicious! Loved braised beef! I always have a hard time photographing beef well – often it doesn’t come out appetizing on photos, even though it looks great in life. You do a really good job at making beef look appetizing in your pictures!

    • I love braised beef as well. It’s my comfort food of choice at the moment. 🙂 And I agree with you. Beef always looks better in real life! I guess it’s the color. Thank you so much for the compliment. I’m a very novice photographer. So it’s always nice to hear words of encouragement. 😀 Thanks for dropping by Julia!

  5. Bone marrow give so much flavor, and I love your braised beef. Great recipe and just mouthwatering pictures…i wish I have this right now to satisfy my craving. Was off nice cooked meal for a week, due to the stomach virus, so I need now to catch up on all the delicious hearty meals.

    • I’m glad to hear that you are doing better. Stomach viruses are tough, especially during the holidays when so much food is around. This is definitely a hearty meal. It’s just so comforting. It always makes me feel better. Take care of yourself Sandra!

  6. Hi. The ingredients state the use of Tamari Soy Sauce. In your procedure/instructions, I did notice you used the Tamari Soy Sauce.

    My question is when do you add the Tamari Soy Sauce?


    • Hi Steve~ That was an oversight. Add the tamari when making the sauce in step 2 (it’s been edited). Thanks for pointing that out:) BTW, don’t waste the marrow. It’s fantastic in this; mix it with some steamed rice. So yum! Hope you’re having a lovely week!

  7. Hi again. I made this recipe today using double the quantities as I had over five pounds of Osso Buco (beef shanks) in the freezer. I used a Le Creuset French Oven 9 1/2 quarts to simmer the shanks with the vegetables. All the meat fell off the bones leaving the marrow and tendon still attached. Everyone devoured the meal (including the marrow and tendon) and all I can tell you is there was less than quart left for tomorrow. Some members of my family added Korean soup soy sauce to their plate as they liked theirs a little on the salty side.

    Next time I will use this recipe to prepare ox tail. Your recipe is universal in the sense that one can use any bony meat like beef shank, lamb shank, ox tail, etc.

    Thanks for the lovely recipes and God bless you!

    • Hi Steve~ I’m so glad to hear that you and your family enjoyed the dish. It made my night. Oh, and speaking from experience, this preparation is great for ox tail:) Have a wonderful weekend!

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