Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bibimbap - The National Dish of Korea

There are few things I love more than Bibimbap - very few.  It's an undertaking to make, but soooo worth the effort.  Please try this at home, if you can't find the bibimbap cookers anywhere (I got mine at Kim's Grocery on Van Buren and Snelling in Saint Paul, Minnesota), do it in a cast iron skillet.  The results will be the same and will blow you away!

The first step cook up a batch of brown rice.  When the rice is done, set it aside and begin with the vegetables by lightly sauteing  matchstick zucchini.  I have seasoned them with black sesame seeds, sea salt, and some Korean hot pepper flakes (which you can omit if you are not a chili head like me).

Then, caramelize some cleaned and sliced shiitake mushrooms in some sesame oil, garlic, and brown sugar.  Remove from heat and set aside for assembly later.

These are bibimbap vegetables, mainly mung bean sprouts and seaweed.  If you live near an Asian grocery, you will find them in the refrigerated section. 

Next is the garlicky spinach.  Quick saute some chopped garlic in sesame oil, then add the spinach and wilt.  Remove from heat and set aside with sprouts and mushrooms.

A quick saute in the pan for the matchstick carrots and bean sprouts (I use fresh and the prepared vegetables in my bibimbap)

Almost ready for assembly.  From top, scallions chopped and marinated with sesame oil and cider vinegar, sauteed zucchini, bibimbap vegetables, garlicky spinach, and carrot/bean sprout mix.

Korean hot pepper flakes and Shoyu, a light soy sauce

Starting to layer the ingredients in the bowl:  a swirl of sesame oil, a half cup brown rice, then the veggies in any order that suits your fancy.  I like the caramelized mushrooms on top for their visual appeal.
Korean bibimbap bowls can sit right on the burner so you get the rice to crisp up a bit on the bottom and heat the dish throughout.

This can be vegetarian, or not.  I have added ground beef on top that was seasoned with soy, ginger, garlic, and honey.  The last step is to top the bowl with an over-easy fried egg.  You can't believe the taste when the yolk runs down and blends in with the other ingredients in the bowl!

Prior to serving, sprinkle the pickled onions on top.

Kimchi on top is optional.  If you are not comfortable with the loose instructions here (which is how I usually cook), there's excellent step by step instructions here:

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