When you don't grow up with smell, aroma and taste of dishes of certain part of the world and you get introduced later in early adult life and actually start to love and appreciate it as an adult, you have to do some digging around to see where it's coming from, how it got its name, what are the alternatives, if the ingredients are available in stores etc., so I do read every single day about food around the world and teaching my kids too. It's like a big unsolved mystery to me that I just have to solve it by learning more. Not only that I focus my brain on the recipe, culture, or tradition but on a language too. Without bragging I have to say that I am pretty hard working blogger.
I wish that I traveled throughout beautiful Korea and had many questions answered, instead I have to spend many hours reading from people with different experiences about...well, everything and eat in local Korean restaurants to develop the taste at least for a moment. I cannot saddle reading just one experience, but let's say over 100 videos, blogs and articles, so I can write, cook and have literally virtual experience myself. Same goes for Japanese or Chinese, I order the dish if available to see how it truly taste before making it myself.
I also love learning new language-very slowly though but it keeps your brain working and occupied. It's not hard learning words, I find it very soothing and quite beautiful; it is also totally and absolutely different than English with translation and sentence construction (English is my second language too) but to skip where I spend my free time other than being a mommy and a wife, let me write about this delicious and healthy dish that is very popular in Korea and the rest of the world-->"bibimbap" (bibim-mixed, bap/bab-rice).
Web is flooded with Bibimbap recipes, but I thought what better way to make very delicious dinner than this veggie and protein packed dish and at the same time present something that is staple of every Korean household, International dish that is listed at #40 on World's 50 most delicious foods readers' poll compiled by CNN in 2011, and also to feed my kids with something healthy and delicious.
The best thing about bibimbap is that you don't have to keep it "traditional", any leftover veggies and meat can be used, and if you are vegetarian than tofu or mushrooms can be substitute for meat.
I was planing to make this dish in Hot pot stone dish or dolsot the way they serve it in the restaurants, but the lady in the Int' store took two last bowls in front of me so I used this beautiful red bowl. Most commonly in the Korean households it's served or presented in metal bowls.
Bibimbap have several traditional versions, depending what region of S. Korea you are in with marinated clams, raw yolk on top of bibimbap and cooked against the hot dolsot with sizzling rice or rice cooked in rich beef broth...whatever you find in the pot, I am sure that your taste palate will be happy as much as your stomach and the eyes, because it is colorful and truly feast for the eyes. But just to add one more note that the goal in Korean cuisine is to serve a meal with 5 colors (red, yellow,white, black and green), and 5 flavors (hot, sweet, salty, sour and bitter).
With Thanksgiving being over, I am imagining that many of you still have leftovers, so give this recipe a try, and again you do not have to use exact ingredients but Korean Chili Red Bean paste(gochujang) is a must in my opinion and you can find it in Korean, Oriental or International markets, so stock up on that because gochujang is amazing.
My ingredient list is quite large but that just tell you how healthy this is. I had many leftover veggies as well as grilled beef, so I just sauteed for less than minute with drizzle of soy sauce and oil. The recipe was of course success and I got to tell you very delicious, spicy and fulfilling too!
- Steamed white rice (1 cup per person)
- Bulgogi (bul-fire gogi-meat or grilled marinated meat, you can use ground beef too-30 minute marinate: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup Sprite or clear sweet soda, 1 tablespoon sugar,1 Asian pear, 1/2 onion, 3 garlic cloves, 2 inch fresh ginger,and sesame oil; seafood, chicken, tofu or even turkey can be substitute for a beef.
- 1 Carrot, julienned Sauteed for 30 seconds with sesame oil and 1/2 tsp. Sugar to bring bit more sweetness.
- 1 Cup blanched and drained Bean sprouts, sauteed in a little sesame oil and seasoned with splash of soy sauce.
- 1 Cup blanched and drained Spinach, sauteed in a little sesame oil and seasoned with splash of soy sauce.
- 5 Shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced and sauteed in sesame oil and seasoned with salt. If you are using dry shiitake then soak them for 15 minutes in water;then slice and saute for minute(or you might use whatever is available to you)
- 1 Zucchini, julienned and saute for 1 minute in Sesame oil with bit of salt
- 1/2 Cup Kimchi, chopped and sauteed for less than minute in sesame oil (or you can use it cold without sauteing)
- 2 Spring Onions, cut Lengthwise and sauteed with sesame oil and dash of salt for 30 seconds.
- 2 eggs, for egg roll omelette seasoned with salt + 1/2 tsp. oil to grease the pan.
- 1 Cucumber (English is similar), cut the same length as other vegetables, no sauteing
All veggies that are noted to be sauteed should be sauteed separably, for less than a minute, just to loosen up a bit and bring more color or to add one more layer of flavor. Use sesame seed oil or any oil on hand if you desire, but I think that sesame seed oil gives very unique flavor. Also always season it with drizzle of soy sauce, or sea salt and pepper.
- 1 Tbs. sesame seeds (1/2 Tbs. Toasted Sesame seeds and 1/2 Tbs. Black Sesame Seeds)
- 1 Tbs. Sesame oil
- Dried Seaweed
- Soy sauce, to taste
- 1 Tbs. Gochujang paste mix or more per serving.
- 1 Tbs. Red Chili Bean paste (gochujang)
- 1 Tbs. Rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs. Soy Sauce, low sodium
- 1/2 tsp. Sugar
- 1/2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
- 1/2 Tbs. Toasted Sesame Seeds
- 1 Spring Onions, finely chopped
With addition of what to to next that I added on the ingredients list, let me just say that when everything is done you add in the bowl 1 Cup or more of steamed rice(almost sticky a bit), and start adding all the veggies and meat one by one next to each other. That way you have colorful circle on top of the rice.
Add Gochujang paste mix, fried egg if you desire, dried seaweed, more sesame seeds, drizzle bit of sesame oil and soy sauce, and mix it all up to code each veggie, rice and meat with delicious gochujang mix just before eating. Personally for myself I added about 1/2 cup of kimchi juice and more gochujang, it was that much more delicious but if you don't like too spicy keep it as it is.
Also If you are serving to other people, I would recommend to put everything separately so they can add what they would like in their bibimbap, and how much Red Chili Paste mix they want because some people cannot tolerate spicy food.
It looks like a lot of sesame oil in the recipe but actually you are using just a few drops of oil each time when you sauteing vegetables.
Rolled egg omelette:
- 2 eggs
- Dash of Ground Sea Salt
- Oil for greasing the frying pan
- Mix eggs and salt.
- Pour it in the hot frying pan.
- Wait until the top is almost dry.
- Flip and roll.
- You can put in the middle of omelette dry seaweed before you flip and roll if you desire.
- Cut into equal strips for bibimbap.
Other option you can fry sunny side up egg and add to the bibimbap.
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you decide to make this I know that you will not be disappointed! If you want to watch how to prepare and make bibimbap then you can find many videos on You Tube as well as search online for other delicious bibimbap recipes and alternative ingredients! Also you can watch "Kimchi Chronicals" -PBS show available now on HULU and hosted by beautiful Marja Vongerichten and her husband and learn more about Korean cuisine and culture. Great show by the way!
With any leftover Bibimbap if not mixed together you can make Kimbap(Gim or Kim mean Seaweed and Bap-Rice), which are similar or same as Japanese Maki(Makizushi or Nori-Maki--rolled seaweed).
Wishing you all wonderful week ahead!
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