(Korean mixed rice bowl with toppings)
Koreans love bibimbap, and this simple rice dish is often used as a tasty way of using up leftovers. A generous helping of steamed rice is placed in serving bowls, topped with a variety of meat and vegetables and seasoned to taste with a strong fermented soybean paste called gochujang.
Just prior to eating, the diner mixes all everything together — bibimbap means roughly "mixed up rice" — and the whole, wonderful mess is eaten with gusto.
Gochujang paste can be found online and in Korean and other Asian markets. Simple seasoning with soy sauce will do if you can't find gochujang.
- Hot, steamed sticky rice -- about 8 cups
- Prepared meat, seafood or poultry (see variations)-- about 2 cups
- Seasoned vegetables (see variations) -- about 2 cups
- Eggs, cooked sunny-side up -- 4
- Gochujang paste (optional) -- 4 to 6 tablespoons
- Divide the rice between four deep serving bowls.
- Top each portion of rice neatly with equal portions of meat and vegetables. Lay the fried egg over the meat and vegetables and add a healthy dollop of gochujang paste to each portion on the side or in separate little bowls.
- Each diner mixes the ingredients into the rice with chopsticks or a spoon, seasoning it to taste with the gochujang paste.
Any number of items can be used to top your bibimbap. Below is a list of some of the most common bibimbap toppings, but feel free to experiment.
- Meat, Poultry and Seafood:
- Beef: Follow the instructions for making beef bulgogi. Or use ground beef instead and season with a little soy sauce, sugar and salt.
- Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs and prepare as for beef bulgogi.
- Fish and Seafood: Try clams, octopus, or shrimp, lightly cooked and seasoned with a little soy and toasted sesame oil.
- Tofu (Tubu): Cut into slices and fry until browned. Or get more elaborate and follow the tubu choerim recipe.
- Mushrooms: Prepare shiitake mushrooms according to the beuseus namul recipe.
- Spinach: Saute and season spinach following the sigumchi namul recipe.
- Mung Bean Sprouts: Prepare simply as for sookju namul.
- Zucchini: Follow the recipe for hobak namul.
- Carrot or Daikon Pickle: Peel and julienne a large carrot or small daikon and soak in a mixture of 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 3 tablespoons sugar and a big pinch of salt for at least 30 minutes. Drain well.
- Dolsot Bibimbap: A special bibimbap served in a piping-hot stone pot and topped with a raw egg. The heat of the pot cooks the egg.
- Hoedeopbap: Bibimbap that is served with raw, sushi-grade fish or seafood. Popular along the coasts.