When I read Kat's post this week (and saw the pictures), I knew exactly what I was going to making for Friday night's picnic-in-the-living-room dinner: Bibimbap (Korean mixed rice bowl). (This is why I always ask you guys what you are cooking!)
A quick trip to my local Korean market was all that I needed to collect ingredients for my bibimbap, but it can also be made with ingredients you find at your local grocery store. It's a rice bowl topped with a little meat and lots of veg and can really be tailored to your fancy. Want it completely vegetarian or vegan? That can be easily arranged.
One thing I would recommend, however, is that you seek out the vinegared chili paste (kochujang) that give the dish its spicy kick. If you don't have a Korean market near you, you can find everything you need at kgrocer.com or koamart.com. (for example: vinegared kochujang or kimchi--I've tried it, it's very good)
To make the cooked, seasoned vegetables that top the bibimbap, you can either purchase them from the Korean market (usually there is a deli section) or simply make them yourself. The basic recipe is as follows and works with many types of vegetables:
In a large saute pan over med-hi heat, heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 clove of minced garlic until golden and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add vegetable of choice, saute for 1-2 minutes then remove from heat. Season generously with salt and ground toasted sesame seeds if you can find them.
Vegetable ideas (all should be cooked until tender-crisp):
- 1 lb of soy bean sprouts that have been steamed for 10 minutes in a tightly-lidded pot and drained
- 1 bunch of spinach, washed and trimmed
- 2 zucchinis, sliced
- 2 carrots, juilliened
- 1 lb of shiitake or assorted mushrooms
- 1 lb of shelled edamame
I used soy bean sprouts and zucchini which I prepared in the above manner.
Everything else, including the pre-marinated bulgogi* (made with rib-eye) I purchased at the Korean market. I bought about a pound of beef, quickly sauteed it, then divided it among 4 people. (This premixed marinade is fine to make bulgogi. Just add it to your beef, let it hang out, and away you go.) Meat should just flavor, not be the main component of the dish. Or, you can leave it out all together.
For my bibimbap, I assembled it as follows:
Place about a cup of hot steamed short-grain (aka sushi) rice in a large bowl. Around the rice, arrange the following in a circular pattern:
- soy bean sprouts
- marinated fish cake (purchased)
- radish kimchi (purchased)
- cabbage kimchi (purchased)
- bulgogi (purchased, but easily made at home)
And now, more pictures. Enjoy!
Marinated fishcake. It has a chewy, tofu-like quality. Some of the best stuff you will ever put into your mouth. Garlicky. Flavored with sesame. Wonderful.
Bunny and Wallie's bibimbap. No kimchi for them, instead, cool daikon "salad"—the white, noodley strips you see on the right hand side of the plate in the foreground. Both kids go bonkers for the fishcake.
*YouTube has lots of videos showing how to make bulgogi at home. You'll notice every recipe is different. Do what works best for you.