Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bibimbap (Korean Rice Bowl)!

Bibimbap! Bibimbap! Is there a word more fun to say? Aside from hootenanny, of course.

Basically, Bibimbap is composed of rice, topped with, well, pretty much whatever the hell you want, but often cooked spinach, carrot, mushrooms, meat (or if you're cool, tofu), cucumber, zucchini...anything you want. The most awesome part, however, is that none of the toppings are served plain - each one is like a little mini-salad with a few basic flavorings, which is what makes this rice dish so awesome. That, and the gochujang, a Korean hot sauce - it really makes the entire dish, and I don't feel it would be bibimbap without it. Not that I'm a bibimbap connoisseur or anything, but still, it totally makes it. We have a little Korean store here and that's where I found it, and I haven't seen it around anywhere else, but some Asian grocers probably have it.

After looking at recipes for bibimbap for 15 minutes and collecting ideas, I said, "screw it, I'm just gonna wing this." That's the kind of meal it is. And aside from the fact that there are many individually prepared toppings, each one took me maybe 5 minutes (or less), so it's pretty fast to whip together. The thing that took the longest was baking the tofu, but if you already have tofu prepared, or some sort of vegan beef concoction, then you're golden.

A note on bibimbap: it's usually served with a fried egg on top, but it tastes really awesome without eggs - probably even better.

Bibimbap

Ingredients:
-enough rice for 4 people (I used jasmine this time, but I usually use brown rice)

A) Gochujang sauce recipe - I used this one
B) Stir-fried zucchini
C) Baked tofu
D) Steamed spinach
E) Toasted sesame seeds
F) Shredded carrot
G) Mung bean sprouts

A) Make as directed. Since I don't have a mortar and pestle, I pulsed the sesame seeds a few times in my coffee grinder.

B) Stir-fried zucchini
Thinly slice 1 medium zucchini (I used a mandolin), mince some garlic (I used 3 cloves) and stir-fry in a little oil until the zucchini softens, about five minutes. After it was done cooking, I added a bit of mirin to give the zucchini more flavor but use whatever you'd like! Do what'cha want!

C) Baked tofu
Start this first, since you can leave it in the oven while you do the other stuff. I cubed a block of tofu and marinated it in a shallow dish with about 2 tbsp soy sauce for 15 minutes - enough soy sauce to cover it all, but leaving little to no excess liquid. Crank the oven to 375 degrees F and leave it in there for a while, about half an hour, stirring the pieces halfway through so they brown evenly.

D) Steamed spinach
Wash 1 bunch of spinach, and steam until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture and season with soy sauce and mirin to taste.

E) Toasted sesame seeds
Throw some white sesame seeds (about 2 tablespoons - see Susan V's recipe) onto a dry baking sheet and bake until they're nice and golden, stirring a couple times. This took me less than 10 minutes. Set aside - you'll use some as garnish, and some will go in the gochujang sauce.

F) grate 2 medium carrots, and put in a bowl with a drizzle of sesame oil.

G) boil 1 bag of mung bean sprouts (a lot, probably 4 cups worth) for a couple of minutes and then put in a colander to drain. After it's cooled a little, add a little toasted sesame oil and salt.

There you go! Now grab your rice, and assemble like so:


Voila! Bibimbap! If you're a spice wimp (like me), be careful about loading on too much sauce. A little goes a long way, as it is really spicy!

See you guys on Monday for another week of MoFo'ing!

4 comments:

  1. Oh YUM. That looks so good. I am absolutely putting one of these together soon!

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  2. I know, I think I'm going to have to repeat this meal again right away :)

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  3. excellent... I have just recently heard about bimibap for the first time, and now I have Korea coming up on my mofo agenda... so I was thinking of giving it a try. Thanks for the great post!

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  4. Oooh, definitely make bibimbap, you won't be sorry!! :)

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