This is a recipe for Korean Bibimbap, which means "mixed rice." It consists of a hearty rice bowl full of sautéed veggies, meat and an egg on top, beautifully arranged.
When it comes to healthy, nourishing and complete meals, I always think of Korean Bibimbap.
To me, it epitomizes the perfect balance of vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein.
What is bibimbap?
"Bibimbap" means "mixed rice" in Korean.
It consists of:
- various sautéed vegetables
- fermented kimchi
- gochujang (Korean red pepper sauce)
- meat (such as beef)
- fried egg
- steamed rice
It's stirred all together before eating.
History of the dish
There are different theories as to how bibimbap came to be.
It was purported that after making offerings to the gods (ancestral rite), they would mix rice with various side dishes (banchan) and eat it.
Another theory was that before the lunar new year, people would make bibimbap as a way to get rid of all the leftover side dishes prior to the new year.
They would place all the leftovers into a bowl and mix it with the rice.
Ingredients you'll need
The beauty of bibimbap is that you can choose any vegetables you like and lightly sauté them.
The vegetables are artfully arranged in a visually pleasing manner with the egg at the center.
Traditionally, you'll find the following presented on a bowl of steamed rice:
- zucchini: julienned
- carrot: julienned
- spinach: julienned
- mung bean sprouts: lightly cooked
- mushrooms: any type that you like; but I like using dried shiitake, re-hydrated in water
- radish: I've omitted it as my family doesn't like it, but you can add it if you like it
- bellflower root: I've omitted the bellflower root (since it may be difficult to find)
- marinated sliced beef: Thinly sliced or shaved beef is sold at Asian supermarkets in the frozen section, near the hotpot items. If you don't have access to an Asian supermarket, you can easily take a cut of beef and place it into the freezer for 2-3 hours. Then, using a sharp knife, slice the meat against the grain thinly.
- raw or fried egg: usually presented on top of the rice
Gojuchang or red pepper paste and sesame oil are added to the mix and give an aromatic punch of flavour to the final dish.
Kimchi is a salted, slightly spicy, and fermented vegetable side dish that is common in Korean cuisine. It's made with napa cabbage and radish. You can find kimchi in Korean or Asian markets in the refrigerator section.
Gochujang is a sweet, spicy yet savoury red chili pepper paste that is also fermented and made with chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soy bean powder, barley malt powder and salt. Korean grocers will carry gochujang. Gochujang may be a little more difficult to find, but if you're not a fan of spicy, you can omit this.
How to prepare the vegetables
Bibimbap is relatively quick to prepare once you have everything ready.
The most time consuming part is cutting up all the vegetables.
Cut the vegetables in a similar thickness so they cook quickly.
Once the pan is hot and oiled, sauté the vegetables individually and set them aside.
Repeat the process with each vegetable.
How to assemble
Place the hot rice in the bowl.
Artfully arrange a bit of each vegetable around the perimeter of the bowl.
Leave space in the centre for the fried egg.
Variations & substitutions
Sometimes on a Korean restaurant menu, you may come across something called "dolsot" bibimbap.
This is a variation of Korean bibimbap which is served in a piping hot stone bowl.
"Dolsot" refers to "stone pot."
The stone pot is sizzling hot and sesame oil coats the bottom of the bowl.
The rice at the bottom of the bowl develops a crispy golden brown exterior.
The remaining ingredients are similarly mixed together and the raw egg is cooked in the hot bowl.
Using other proteins:
Switch the beef up for tofu or chicken, or omit it for a vegetarian version.
Other recipes you may like
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like:
A Korean classic dish, bibimbap is a comforting, filling and nutritious meal that you can jazz up with whatever ingredients you have on hand (or like).
It's a great way to use up those wilting vegetables in the crisper and make a healthy and delicious dinner out of it.
Let me know if you try this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- ½ lb thinly sliced beef
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar optional
- ½ C grated Asian pear
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ onion minced
- pinch of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oil for cooking
- 2 carrots julienned
- 1 small zucchini julienned
- 5-6 shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 C hot cooked white rice
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1 package mung bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoon kimchi
- 1 fried egg
- white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Cook the Bulgogi beef:
- Place the beef, soy sauce, brown sugar (if using) grated Asian pear, garlic, onion, and black pepper into a bowl. Gently mix the marinade into the meat with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.
- Heat a frying pan over medium high heat, add 1 teaspoon of oil and the marinated beef. Stir the meat around for 3-4 minutes -- because the meat is thinly sliced, it will cook quite quickly. Place the cooked meat onto a clean plate and cover. Set aside.
Cook the veggies:
- Wipe down the frying pan and add a little oil. Heat over medium high heat, and add in the julienned carrot. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until lightly softened. Transfer to a clean bowl.
- Repeat with the zucchini -- no need to add any oil -- saute for 3-4 minutes, until the zucchini softens. Transfer to a clean bowl.
- Repeat with the shiitake mushrooms -- add a little bit of oil to the frying pan and saute for 4-5 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through. Season with a little soy sauce. Set aside.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
- Place the washed mung bean sprouts into a colander and pour half of the boiling water over top of the bean sprouts. Drain. Transfer the sprouts to a bowl and drizzle with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds.
- Using the remaining boiling water, blanch the spinach for 1-2 minutes, and drain. Submerge the spinach in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Gently wring out the spinach and place into a bowl. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds. Set aside.
- Heat up a small frying pan with a little oil and crack an egg in it. For sunny side up eggs, cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the cooked white rice to the bowl, and top with the sunny side egg in the middle.
- Layer the veggies and meat on top of the rice around the egg. Add a drizzle of sesame oil, dollop of gochujang, and sprinkle of sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
This article was originally published for Curious Cuisiniere.