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WHEN IT’S TIME TO DIG INTO SOME SERIOUS SEOUL FOOD: BIBIMBAP

WHEN IT’S TIME TO DIG INTO SOME SERIOUS SEOUL FOOD: BIBIMBAP

Maybe it’s because we’re experiencing one of our rainiest springs on record here in Vancouver, but we have been on a serious roll with great comfort food recipes—Shakshuka, anyone?

Bibimbap, a national favourite in Korea, is no exception. Never heard of bibimbap? Bibimbap literally translates to what it contains, with “bibim” meaning “mixed”, and “bap”, meaning “rice”. So, with the definition allowing ample room for versatility, the dish typically consists of steamed rice that is fried to be made crispy, sauteed vegetables, a fried egg, sometimes a few thin slices of beef or tofu, and always the legendary gochujang sauce, which is a thick, red fermented chili paste that you can find at your local Asian grocery store.

If you’ve ever enjoyed bibimbap at a Korean restaurant, your dish probably arrived in a traditional ‘hot stone pot’, in which the bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for a few minutes. The bottom of the bowl is coated in sesame oil, creating the crispy layer of rice at the bottom. With hot bowls, a raw egg will cook right in your dish, so you can crack it right in without having to think about it. However, we went ahead and assumed that not everyone has a hot stone pot for making this at home. So for now, we’ll just make do with frying up our rice and eggs beforehand. No hot stone pot magic, but you can’t have everything.

Once everything is assembled, mix it all up, and don’t be afraid to douse everything with another dallop of gochuchang, and a heap of kimchi. Bibimbap can be assembled in an aesthetically pleasing way, with different coloured veggies hugging the edges of the bowl, and the egg in the center. But once you add the gochujang and mix it all up, the chili sauce will turn your bowl into a hot red mess. Just let it happen. People often say that the dish gets better as you dig into it, as the flavours have had more time to marinate. So if you can, eat slow.

How do you make your bibimbap? Any secret ingredients to share with us?

Easy Korean Bibimbap

Ingredients:

Beef Bulgogi

  • 1 pound sirloin, thinly sliced
  • 1 Asian pear, grated
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper

Gochujang Sauce and Rice

  • 4 Tbsp. gochujang paste
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. water
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 3 cups steamed white rice

Veggie Prep

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and julienned
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced with stems removed
  • 2-3 green sliced, thinly sliced
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Minced garlic
  • Sesame seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Kimchi
  • 3-4 eggs, cooked over easy

Directions:

Beef Bulgogi:

  1. Add all ingredients to a zipper bag to marinate. Place in the refrigerator for between 30 minutes-3 hours.

Gochujang Sauce and Rice

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Once hot, spread the steamed rice in the pan, and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes undisturbed until rice is golden brown and crispy on the bottom. Keep on low heat, or remove from heat and set aside.

Veggie Prep

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Blanch the spinach 1 minute until wilted, then drain in a colander. Squeeze out excess water and set aside.
  2. Boil bean sprouts 4-5 minutes, then drain in colander. Place in bowl.
  3. Place carrots and zucchini in separate bowls. Sprinkle each with salt, and allow to sweat for 10 minutes. Dry with paper towels and return to bowl.
  4. Separate the other vegetables into bowls. Prepare green onions, oil, soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper near the stove.
  5. Heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a wok over medium heat. Once hot, saute carrots for 2-3 minutes. Place on a large platter.
  6. Add another teaspoon of sesame oil in the wok. Add zucchini, saute sesame for 2-3 minutes, sprinkling with sesame seeds. Place on the platter.
  7. Add another teaspoon of sesame oil to the wok. Add mushrooms, seasoning with pepper, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon green onion, ½ teaspoon garlic, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Saute 3-4 minutes until tender, then place on platter.
  8. Add another teaspoon of sesame oil to the wok. Add blanched spinach, season with salt and pepper, add ½ teaspoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon garlic, and sprinkle of sesame seeds. Saute 2-3 minutes, then remove to platter.
  9. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to the wok. Take beef out of the marinade, and cook in 2 batches for 3-4 minutes, flipping once. Set cooked beef and juices aside in a bowl.
  10. Heat ½  teaspoon sesame oil in the wok (last one). Add the boiled bean sprouts, sauteing with ½ teaspoon garlic, ½ teaspoon green onion, and ½ teaspoon sesame seeds. Saute 2-3 minutes, then place in platter.
  11. Fry the eggs to your desired doneness.
  12. Portion the crispy rice into serving bowls. Place beef bulgogi and assorted veggies on top of rice, placing a fried egg on top of each bowl. Drizzle with gochujang sauce, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Mix everything together when ready to eat, adding more gochujang sauce, sesame oil, and kimchi as desired.                  

 

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