I have a new favorite kitchen appliance! Thanks to many of you who have asked for pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) recipes, I finally bought an Instant Pot, and I’m very pleased with it! The Instant Pot is a multi-function gadget that pressure-cooks, slow-cooks, steams, etc. To start out, I made this braised oxtail (kkorijjim or ggorijjim, 꼬리찜) using its pressure cooking function. Amazing!
Oxtail is a tough cut of meat that usually takes hours to bring out its tenderness, but it takes a fraction of the time in the Instant Pot. Stovetop pressure cookers may take less cooking time.
In Korea, oxtails are common but very expensive. They are typically braised (kkorijjim) or made into soup (kkori gomtang, 꼬리곰탕), both of which are extremely popular as nourishing dishes. Lucky for us, oxtails are relatively affordable around here. Look for a package with larger pieces.
For those of you who’re not familiar with oxtail, it is the tail of a cow which is bony, fatty, and highly rich in connective tissues and collagen. Slow or pressure cooking breaks down the collagen into a rich, flavorful gelatin, making the dish incredibly delicious and satisfying!
How to braise oxtail in Instant Pot
As I mentioned in my slow cooker galbijjim recipe, the Korean traditional braising technique does not involve initial searing of the meat. However, since I’m using one of the latest technology kitchen gadgets, that has the “Sauté” function, I decided to try it and sear the meat. You can skip this step if you want.
The braising liquid is similar to the one used for galbijjim (braised short ribs). As a sweetener, I like to use honey (or a combination of honey and sugar) for a richer flavor, but you can use all sugar or all honey.
Here, I also used a little bit of Korean green plum syrup (maesilcheong), which is a staple in modern Korean cooking as a sugar substitute. It gives the dish slightly acidic, fruity sweetness which rounds up the flavors nicely. Pineapple juice can be a good substitute, or simply use sugar and/or honey.
Once you’ve placed the meat and vegetables in the Instant Pot, close the lid tightly. Press the “Meat” function, and using the “+” button, increase the time to 45 minutes (50 if you want it extra tender). When finished, the Instant Pot will automatically turn to the “Keep Warm” mode. Leave the pressure cooker alone for about 10 minutes before opening the lid.
More Instant Pot recipes
Pressure Cooker Braised Oxtail (Kkorijjim)
- 3 to 4 pounds oxtail
- 1/2 medium onion cut into large chunks
- 1 to 2 carrots cut into large chunks
- 3 to 4 dried shiitake mushrooms briefly soaked and quartered (omit if unavailable)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice wine or mirin or dry white wine
- 1/2 medium Korean/Asian pear, grated or 1 bosc pear or apple
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 4 tablespoons honey or sugar (or 2 tablespoons each)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons maesil cheong (Korean plum extract) - optional
- pepper to taste
Other additions and garnishes
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 scallions roughly chopped (and some finely sliced for optional garnish)
- sesame seeds - optional
- Trim off excess fat. Rinse the oxtail pieces and let them sit in cold water for 10 to 20 minutes to draw out excess blood. Drain well, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Press the “Saute” button on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil. Sear the oxtail pieces in two batches, browning all sides. (Alternatively, Place the oxtail in the Instant Pot, add 2 cups of water and cook for 3 minutes on the Manual setting. Quick release the steam, discard the cooking liquid, and rinse the oxtail pieces and the pot.)
- Mix together the braising liquid ingredients. Place the oxtail pieces in one layer in the pot, and pour the braising liquid over.
- Add the vegetables.
- Close the lid tightly. Press the “Meat” function, and using the “+” button, increase the time to 45 minutes (50 for extra tender meat). When finished, the Instant Pot will automatically turn to the “Keep Warm” mode. Leave the pressure cooker alone for about 10 minutes before opening the lid.
- Remove the meat and vegetables from the pressure cooker. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl to skim off the fat. I use a fat separator. (See note.) At this point, you can reduce the sauce in the Instant Pot using the Saute function if desired. Return the oxtail to the pot, and stir in the scallion and the sesame oil. Serve with the optional garnish.