Bibimbap (Korean Mixed Rice)

48

September 26, 2010 by Dana

The results are in… and I made it to round 2 of Project Food Blog!  A big THANK YOU to everyone that voted for me!  I guess all of my bribery talent paid off ;)

For this challenge, my instructions were to create “an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with.”  Sounds easy enough.  Just pick a cuisine from any place on the map that you’re not as familiar with, do a little research, and get cooking.  Can’t narrow it down? Too many places to choose from? Just spin the globe!  The world’s your oyster!  Right?

Wrong.  That may work for some people.  In fact, that may even work for most people.  But for me, the very definition of a mutt, picking a cuisine that I was unfamiliar with was not as easy as it sounds.  I have family from all over the globe.  And let me tell you, this family can eat.  Food = love, and we have a lot of love to give.  Which means that I am well versed in cuisines from SO MANY cultures.

I know what you’re thinking.  You think I’m being dramatic.  That I’m overreacting.  I guess I’ve earned that.  But seriously…. Just look at this list of cuisines!

  • Mediterranean? Check. No one beats my grandma’s  avgolemono soup.
  • Jewish? Check. My mom’s matzoh balls are hands down the best.
  • Middle Eastern? Check. My stepmom is sure to fill me up with kofta and warm pita every time I visit.
  • Levantine?  Check.  My great-grandmother was famous for her delicious tebouleh.
  • Pizza? Check.  Ok, so maybe that’s not a cuisine.  And maybe I’m not Italian.  But living in NY, I am certainly well versed in the art of ordering a mean pizza. Or Chinese…  Indian… Thai… Mexican…  You get the idea.

So I sat down and thought long and hard about where I wanted to travel for this challenge.  Where in the world I wanted to go that would be completely new to me.  Somewhere with a classic dish with which I had no prior experience.  A dish that I couldn’t pull out my folder of take-out menus and have delivered in 20 minutes.

And it finally came to me. I would go to Korea.  And lucky for me, they have this classic signature dish: Bibimbap.

Bibimbap is a mixed rice dish.  The rice is topped with sautéed mixed vegetables, possibly a raw or lightly cooked egg, and sometimes beef, chicken, fish, or tofu.  There is, apparently, no “right” list of ingredients.  Everyone seems to have their own authentic version.  I took elements of each recipe that I found, while still keeping the integrity of the dish, to create my version of Bibimbap.

Ingredients

1 cup short-grain rice
1 medium zucchini, julienned, in 2-inch lengths
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus 1 pinch
4 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 cup bean sprouts
1 teaspoon dried hot chili flakes
1 cup packed spinach leaves
1/4 cup peeled and julienned carrot, in 2-inch lengths
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup Kochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
4 eggs

This version of Bibimbap is technically Dolsot Bibimbap.  Dolsots are Korean stone bowls, which are heated to a very high temperature before adding the rice and other ingredients.  The ingredients, including the egg, keep cooking  as you serve the dish, and make a great sizzling sound as you stir the ingredients together.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425º F, and place four Korean stone bowls (dolsots) in the oven.

2. Cook rice according to directions on package.  Set aside.

3. While rice cooks, place another medium pot of water over high heat to bring to a boil. Blanch zucchini in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove zucchini from water and drain well. (Keep water boiling for later use.)

4. Place a skillet over medium heat, and add 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 clove minced garlic. Add zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds. Sauté 2 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside. Wipe out pan and return to medium heat.

5. Add 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 clove minced garlic of minced garlic to hot skillet. Add mushrooms, a pinch of salt and soy sauce. Sauté 2 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside.

6. Place bean sprouts in the boiling water until wilted, about 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the colander to drain. Place sprouts in a bowl, and toss with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, hot chili flakes, and a pinch of salt.  Set aside.

7. Blanch carrots in boiling water for 1 minute.  Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately rinse with cold water.  Drain well.  Set aside.

8. Add spinach to the pot of boiling water and blanch until it wilts and turns bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain into the colander, rinse well with cold water until chilled, then drain, squeezing out excess water. Transfer to a bowl and add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds. Mix well and set aside.

9. To make the sauce, combine the Kochujang (red pepper paste), ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, honey, 1/2 teaspoon oil, and the remaining clove of minced garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.

10.  In a small frying pan, cook eggs sunny side up, leaving the yolk runny (it will finish cooking later in the hot bowl).

11. Remove the Dolsots (stone bowls) from the oven, and transfer to a heat resistant surface. Brush each bowl with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil to coat. Divide the rice into the bowls, and gently pack to the bottom (the rice will sizzle as you go). Arrange the vegetables in separate sections over each potion of rice. Immediately before serving , add one egg to each bowl.

12.  While bowl is still very hot, use oven mits to transfer each bowl to the table.  (Be very careful!!)  Serve with the prepared Kochujang sauce on the side.  Mix well and enjoy!

Serves 4

I absolutely loved making (and eating!) this dish! There is really a LOT to love about Bibimbap, and it’s no surprise that it is a  staple in Korea.  The presentation is beautiful, the spicy flavors are delicious, and hearing the sizzle of the oil against the hot stone as you’re serving it is pretty cool :)

For those of you that are wondering, you can get the Dolsot stone bowls at any Korean grocery store.  (You can also use a cast iron skillet or dish for a similar effect.)  I found mine at H-Mart in Flushing, Queens for about $18. It’s more than I would typically spend on a bowl, but I wanted to get the most authentic effect of the hot oil frying the bottom layer of the rice to make a crunchy crust.  It turned out to be a great investment, because I will definitely be making this again!!!

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48 thoughts on “Bibimbap (Korean Mixed Rice)

  1. Monet says:

    One of my close friends lived in Korea for a few years…and this dish reminds me of what she made for me when she returned. I’m so glad that you made it to the next round…you will have my vote!

  2. I love dishes like this – it looks great! Good luck!

  3. I’ve been really wanting to try this ever since I saw this dish on Gwyneth Paltrow website. It looks so healthy and tasty and I had no idea that it’s so easy to make. i will definitely vote for you :)

  4. Looks fantastic! You’ll get my vote! Glad to see you make it through!

  5. Looks fantastic Dana! Good luck in round 2!! Your meals look fantastic ;)

  6. January says:

    i love the process of elimination you did :) but you did well in arriving at your classic dish of choice! i love Korean food and apart from bulgogi and the usual beef stew, i would always order bibimbap at a Korean garden near my place. it reminds me of my favorite Korean actress Song Hye Kyo :) congrats for making it to round 2 and here’s hoping we both make it to the third. voting for you tomz! all the best!

  7. roxan says:

    Being Korean, I have to say GREAT choice! You did an awesome job with it. Good luck making it to the next round, not that you need it!

  8. sophia says:

    YAAAAY!!! Someone did Korean!!! Woo hoo!!! This makes me ridiculously happy! :D

  9. I love bibimbap! My bf is currently in Korea right now and this makes me think of him. I especially like the hot sauce (I sometimes just use plain sriracha). Yum!

  10. Victoria says:

    Great job! I’ve never had bibimbap, but it’s one of my favorite dishes to say, haha! This looks gorgeous! Congrats and good luck in this next round! I know you’ll do great :)

  11. sians says:

    i love korean food and this looks really good :)
    you’ve got my vote

    if u are interested, check out my entry

    http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/829

  12. Duchess says:

    This is hands down one of my fave things to eat! Now I’m wondering why I didn’t try it? Good job!

  13. I had a similar problem narrowing down an unfamiliar cuisine for the challenge (I ended up cooking Senegalese/West African). Love your choice – bibimbap is one of my favorite Korean dishes! Glad you got the right bowls and everything – the crunchy rice at the bottom is the best part, and also why I will continue to be getting mine in a restaurant… cupboard space in Paris is very limited! Anyway, great job, I’ll be voting for you.

  14. Nads' Bakery says:

    As a Korean I must say that bibimbap looks pretty dang good. Great job!! You have my vote!

  15. What? I could have sworn I commented…oups. Love the entry and I LOVE Korean…very impressed with the dish!

  16. LOVE bibimbap! i made it a while back and it’s definitely a winner, but not the same as what i used to order from the korean place across the street that’s since closed :(. will definitely give ya a vote!

  17. Amanda says:

    Looks great! Good luck :)

  18. LOVE bibimbap! You got my vote! :)

  19. Cate says:

    I ADORE Bibimbap! You got my vote!

  20. Amy says:

    I’m really glad you went into the agonizing cuisine decision — I had that trouble too! I love your choice and your story/description. Got my vote :)

  21. Jen Cheung says:

    this looks delicious :) Good luck with project food and you got my vote for this one! Feel free to drop by :) Good luck and best wishes for making to the top !! WOOHOO

    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

  22. I can totally relate to your predicament! You’ve surely got my vote in the bag. ;)

  23. Jermit says:

    A few things:

    1. This looks fantastic and as soon as I get a hold of the ingredients, I’m making it.

    2. I love your blog!! And the name (great minds think alike, no??) :]

    3. Do you have a recipe for the avgolemono?? I’ve been trying to find a quality recipe for it, but everything I find in books is sub-par. :[

    Good luck in the competition!!

  24. foododelmundo says:

    GORGEOUS!
    You’ve got my Foodbuzz ♥!
    Hope we both make it to round three.

  25. Michelle says:

    This is one of my favorite dishes and something I’ve very well-versed in! So funny that you chose a Korean dish and I chose a Jewish one! Best of luck!

  26. gigabiting says:

    Like so many of us, i am just discovering Korean food. Excellent post.

  27. This looks great! I too had troubles deciding where to turn as I feel like I am always trying new types of food! So far the Korean recipes have been my favorites on #PFB2010! I’m excited to start cooking some Korean! Good Luck!

  28. Reeni says:

    I have been wanting to make my own version of this! It looks wonderful! I like those bowls too. I wish you the best in this round – I’m rooting for you!

  29. Jeanne says:

    I am not at all familiar with Korean food, but this looks amazing! I love the egg on top! Great work on this challenge.

  30. Lisa says:

    Awesome!! I have to say, your effort is really impressive. Food looks great!! I’m sending a vote your way.

    Lisa.

  31. Lingbo Li says:

    Oh my god! I love bibimbap! Congrats on picking my favorite dish, you are a rockstar – this looks so good. You’ve won a vote from me. :)

  32. Great post! Lovely photos. I voted for you!

    Good luck! =)

    You can check out my PFB post at : http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/864

  33. petermarcus says:

    I love bibimbap, and this is the second one I’ve seen on the challenge, and I’m just as jealous that I didn’t think of it for our challenge! Great job, and I wish we could taste our fellow competitor’s dishes! You got our vote!

    (Our entry is here: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/957 )

  34. I love bibimbap and this looks like a fun one to make! Great post!

  35. One of my favorite Korean dishes. Great choice, and love your story. You got my vote and good luck!

  36. Just voted for you. I’m a mutt, too, but I think you’ve covered more ground with the cuisines you were exposed to (a great thing). Korea was a great choice. Good luck! :-)

  37. magicofspice says:

    Very nice and a great entry post :)

  38. Dan Clapson says:

    I saw this dish on an Iron Chef America episode recently. Dare I say yours looks even tastier? I dare to. 1 vote for you!

  39. YUM! Where did you get the stone bowl? I love how crispy the rice gets and how the egg cooks. Was it hard to get all those ingredients? Often times when I venture off in a new cuisine, I think about how I can use those ingredients going forward. Have you thought about other dishes you want to try? Great job and I look forward to your upcoming dishes. You have my vote :)

    Lick My Spoon

  40. bibimbap is awesome, dolsot bibimbap is twice as awesome! :) we finally got a stone bowl a month ago and i love using it. we voted for you!

  41. Cindy says:

    You have that container!
    I’m been thinking about getting one but don’t think I can make bibimbap that delicious like yours!

  42. RavieNomNoms says:

    I have never had this, but yours looks really good! Best of luck!

  43. [...] for Thought: Another bibimbap entry for round two, Dana had a similar reaction that I did to trying to pick one type of [...]

  44. [...] I’m not talking about religion.  Or nationality.  I’m talking about rule [...]

  45. [...] 1. Most Beautiful Post: Bibimbap [...]

  46. Judy says:

    Kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone. This dish looks amazing.

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