Along with kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage), bibimbap takes its place among the favored foods in Korean cuisine. Literally meaning “mixed rice,” it’s a popular and healthy meal consisting of white rice topped with seasoned vegetables, thin strips of beef (although optional for vegetarians), a whole egg, and gochujang(red chili pepper paste). For those who cannot handle the heat of the gochujang, you can substitute it with soy sauce or a slightly milder red chili sauce (Sriracha). As there are countless variations depending on preference of ingredients, there is also a distinctive style in which it can be served. If you’ve ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you probably have seen and heard some sizzling sounds coming from stone earthenware bowls filled bibimbap, which is calleddolsot bimbimbab. In the colder months, I love these stoneware pots because they always come out sizzling/bubbling/steaming and keep the food super-hot, even after prolonged periods of time. There are 2 kinds of these stoneware pots, the one mentioned earlier and another called dukbaegi (stoneware for soups & stews). Although I don’t own any right now, hopefully I’ll get my hands on one of these rustic, traditional bowls before the colder weather comes around.
Servings: 4 Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes
- 4 cups cooked white rice
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 zucchini, julienned
- 4 cups bean sprouts
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 large eggs, sunny side up
- 4 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- any type of lettuce leaf varieties
- 4 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste; Sriracha sauce okay too)
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Cut vegetables into matchstick pieces (or julienned) and set aside for sauteing.
- In a pot, bring enough water to cover spinach and 1 tbsp of salt to a boil. Blanch spinach briefly and drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze spinach dry of excess water into a ball.
- Wipe out skillet; heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium-high. Add carrots and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant or semi-browned, 1 minute. Add zucchini slices mixed with gochugaru (red pepper flakes). Combine spinach and soy sauce; set aside until serving.
- Heat 1 tsp olive oil in non-stick pan over medium-high. Add eggs and cook until whites are set and yolks are still runny, about 5 minutes. Runny eggs are essential since the yolks will combine with thegochujang to make the final sauce.
- Divide rice among four bowls; top with vegetables and eggs. Drizzle each with sesame oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Top with gochujang (red pepper paste) or Sriracha sauce as substitute.
Bibimbab and its main ingredients (usually rice and vegetables) can be chosen at one’s preference. This is the main reason why bibimbab is so appealing; it suits vegetarians, dieters, health-conscience eaters, and even meat-lovers, who are more than welcome to add extra beef to their liking. For me, since I usually have rice available to eat at all times, I simply slice up and saute any available vegetables or lettuce leaf varieties in the fridge for an “instant” and very satisfying bibimbab meal. So feel free to deviate from the original recipe!
A version of this article by MyKoreanEats.com. Photo by MyKoreanEats.com.