Bibimbap

This is essentially the "white person dish" of Korean cuisine. It is pretty much just vegetables and rice. One of the only things I could eat in Korea because of their heavily meat-based diet, I made it with simple ingredients for lunch when I wanted to pack food that would last me the day. Bibimbap is very easy to make and extremely filling. Although it is traditionally made with white rice and slightly different ingredients, you can use whatever you want- I used black rice to try something new because brown was not available.

You'll need

MAKES 2 LARGE SERVINGS

  • 1.5 cups brown rice

  • 1 yellow pepper

  • 1 small zucchini (1/2 large zucchini) 

  • 3 button mushrooms

  • ~ 1 bunch of spinach (2-3 large handfuls)

  • ~1/2 large carrot

  • ~2 heaping cups beansprouts (2 large handfuls)

  • 2 small brown free range/organic eggs

  • ~1/2 cup soy sauce

  • ~1/2 cup sesame oil

  • ~2/3 cup good quality kimchi 

  • sesame seeds

  • salt & pepper to taste

The best way to cook rice is in a rice cooker. If you don't have one just cook in a pot on the stove on medium high in about 2 cups of water, stirring occasionally. While the rice cooks, chop the carrot, zucchini & pepper into thin matchsticks. Try to get them all a similar size so they cook evenly. You can sub the zucchini for eggplant which is also quite tasty although bibimbap is traditionally made with zucchini. Slice up the mushrooms & wash the beansprouts well.

For visual presentation, each of the vegetables are cooked separately for this dish which is a bit more time consuming. If you do not care about this, you can fry all the veggies together- it will not taste any different :)

Steam the beansprouts while you fry your first vegetable on a TBSP or 2 of sesame oil. You can also cook the beansprouts in a pan with a bit of water until soft. I added in sesame seeds to each fried vegetable batch when it was almost done cooking so that the seeds would get toasted. Like all nuts and seeds, toasting them in the oven or on the pan brings out their amazing flavours.

You can attempt to fry more than one thing at a time in separate pans but between two separate pans of frying vegetables, steaming bean sprouts and checking on the rice, things might get a little hectic. If you keep the heat lower it will be much easier but it's better to take a little longer and make sure everything cooks nicely rather than burn your vegetables to save a couple minutes. It obviously depends on your skill level and comfort in a culinary environment, the more you practice the easier it will be.

 

I always like to keep the eggs out of the fridge from the start of the recipe so they get the chance to come closer to room temperature before frying them.

 

Once the beansprouts are soft and flaccid, you can take them off, garnish with sesame seeds & steam the spinach. Again, steaming can be done with a steamer, in a bowl atop a pot of boiling water, or simply with a bit of water in a hot pan. The spinach will cook much faster than the sprouts.

 

At this point in time the rice should be finished (soft & has absorbed all the water). Take it off the heat once its done and fry the eggs in a TBSP or 2 of sesame oil. Traditionally, the egg in bibimbap is left quite runny but I like it a little more cooked. I fry one side, break the yolk then flip and fry a but longer but not enough to cook the yolk entirely.

I love the rainbow of vegetables in this dish. The savoury aromas will quickly envelop the kitchen as everything cooks to a lovely golden brown. Vegans can easily make a delicious bibimbap by omitting the egg. Once the vegetables and rice are cooked you are pretty much done. Top the rice with the veggies, egg, kimchi & garish generously with soy sauce & sesame seeds if you have not added them already. You can also add in salt & pepper at this point. It's nice when the egg is not fully cooked so that the yolk pours in to enrich the rice. 

 

Kimchi is spicy fermented cabbage. It definitely has an acquired taste but is great for killing bacteria in the body. The high vitamin C content of the cabbage combined with all the garlic & hot pepper in kimchi makes this a power food for your immune system. Only downside- doesn't make your breath smell the greatest haha. 

Thats it! enjoy warm. 

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