Bibimbap – Trust the Koreans to transform the humble rice bowl into a recipe that’s revered all around the world! With a kaleidoscope of seasoned sautéed vegetables, Korean marinated beef, and the signature fried egg, the thing that really seals the deal is the bright red, spicy Bibimbap Sauce that I can’t get enough of.
Mix it all up into one big delicious mess, then dig in!
I am a little obsessed with Bibimbap. I’d go as far as to say that it’s my favourite Korean food – but it always concerns me when I make grand statements like that because I’m worried I’ve said that about another Korean recipe I’ve previously shared.
No one’s ever accused me of being unenthusiastic, that’s for sure! 😂
Bibimbap is one of the most well known Korean dishes. A rice bowl topped with all sorts of seasoned sautéed vegetables, marinated meat (usually beef), a fried egg sunny side up, finished with a sprinkle of sesame and generous dollop of a sweet-spicy-savoury Bibimbap sauce. <- Heads up, this sauce is so awesome, you can basically use any vegetables and any meat and your Bibimbap is going to be delish!
Lengthy – but repetitive!
There’s no denying it – this recipe has more components to it than my quick ‘n easy one pot meals because all the toppings are seasoned and cooked separately.
But the simple seasonings are largely repetitive and it is a very straightforward, leisurely recipe you can start and stop as you please because it’s MEANT to be served at room temp!
I’m going to walk through each of the components here, but if you’re feeling impatient, just skip ahead to the recipe!
It’s probably not “normal” to start with the Bibimbap Sauce, but I am because I think it makes this dish. You can use any vegetables and any protein (even tofu) and your bibimbap will still be SO GOOD once it’s all mixed up with the rice and this sauce!
The essential ingredient in Bibimbap Sauce is Gochujang, an intense flavoured spicy miso paste that’s key to Korean cooking. Find it at Asian grocery stores (it’s cheap, ~$2.50, and lasts for ages), at some Woolworths stores (Australia), and here it is on Amazon Australia, US, Canada and UK.
Nowadays, you’ll find Bibimbap with all sorts of meat toppings but the traditional version is made with thinly sliced beef. The beef seasoning is usually a slightly toned down version of Bulgogi (Korean Marinated Beef). We don’t need big flavour on the beef because the Bibimbap Sauce adds tons of flavour. Some recipes even use just basic soy-garlic-sesame oil combination.
But I like each component on my Bibimbap to be tasty enough to eat on its own so I use a scaled back Bulgogi marinade.
The unique ingredient in Bulgogi is grated apple – this is a signature technique used in Korean marinades to add flavour, sweetness and tenderise! Nashi pear is also commonly used.
Totally! Chicken, turkey or pork finally sliced or cut into thin strips, small prawns/shrimp or even fish fillets (cook whole then flake).
This is the part that some people find tedious but I don’t find to be a big deal at all – cooking each of the vegetables individually.
Here’s how it goes down:
Shiitake mushrooms – soak in boiling water, then slice and sauté with garlic, soy and sugar. Fresh also ok, but dried has more intense flavour.
Zucchini and carrot – cut into batons, optional to sprinkle with salt then leave for 20 minutes (I often skip this), then sauté until soft.
Spinach – chop then sauté, super quick!
Beansprouts – steam or boil until wilted, squeeze out excess liquid then season with garlic, sesame and fish sauce OR soy sauce.
Simple, right?? Get two pans going if you’re impatient!
So. Many. Options! Here are some suggestions to replace the vegetables I use:
Dried shiitake – sub with any fresh mushrooms
Carrot and zucchini – sub with asparagus, green beans, broccolini (halve lenthgwise), snow peas (slice, peppers/capsicum
Spinach and bean sprouts – kale, silverbeet, cabbage (sliced), leafy Asian greens
My favourite part! (Aside from eating it of course… and breaking the yolk… and mixing it all up… OK fine. It’s my 4th favourite part!)
There are no rules about the order in which the vegetables and meat get placed on the rice, but try to use alternating colours just to make it look as good as it tastes. 😇
How to eat Bibimbap
Part of the whole Bibimbap experience is how the bowl comes to you looking as pretty as a picture, then you get to dollop on as much Bibimbap Sauce as you want (I use about 2 tbsp), then after all that hard work preparing the bowls, you mix it all up and turn it into a delicious mess.
That first mouthful… I try to get a bit of everything, including a bit of runny yolk.
Then after that, I don’t care – I just get stuck into it. 😂
I was going to sign off there, but I better leave you with a slightly neater photo of Bimbimbap. 😂
– Nagi x
PS If the photos haven’t convince you, the video surely will!↓↓↓
Watch how to make it
- 4 cups cooked white rice , preferably short grain (Note 1)
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
Korean Beef & Marinade:
- 250 g/8oz beef tenderloin or thick steak , very finely sliced (subs, Note 2)
- 1/4 green apple , grated using box grater (Note 3)
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce , light or all purpose (Note 4)
- 1 tbsp honey (or brown sugar)
- 2 tsp sesame oil , toasted (Note 9)
- 2 carrots , large, cut into 5 x 0.5cm/2 x 1/5" batons
- 2 zucchini , large, cut into 5 x 0.5cm/2 x 1/5" batons
- 1 bunch of spinach , cut into 5cm/2" lengths
- 8 dried shiitake mushrooms , large (Note 5)
- 4 cups bean sprouts
- 2 tsp garlic , minced (3 cloves)
- 8 tsp vegetable oil , separated
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp soy sauce , light or all purpose (Note 4)
- 1/4 tsp fish sauce (sub soy)
- 1/4 tsp white sugar
- Sesame oil , toasted (Note 9)
- 4 tbsp gochujang paste (Note 6)
- 2 tbsp mirin (Note 7)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar (Note 8)
- 1.5 tsp soy sauce (Note 4)
- 3 tsp white sugar
- 1 garlic clove , finely grated
- 2.5 tsp sesame oil , toasted (Note 9)
- Mix ingredients until sugar is dissolved.
- Mix the marinade in a bowl, then add beef. Marinate for 30 minutes to overnight.
- Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. Let excess marinade drip off then add beef. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes until cooked and there's some caramelised bits, then remove from skillet.
- Keep warm until required or reheat to warm.
- Shiitake: Soak mushrooms in a large bowl of boiling water for 30 minutes, or until rehydrated. Drain, squeeze out excess water, then slice.
- Carrot and Zucchini salting (optional, Note 10): Place carrot and zucchini in separate bowls, sprinkle each with 1/4 tsp salt, toss, leave for 20 minutes then drain excess liquid.
- Get 2 skillets going if you can!
- Shiitake: Heat 2 tsp oil oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook mushrooms for 2 minutes. Add 1.5 tsp soy, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp of garlic. Stir for 1 minute, then remove.
- Carrot: Add 2 tsp oil into the skillet, cook carrot until just tender (5 to 8 minutes), then remove.
- Zucchini: Cook as with carrot for 4 minutes.
- Spinach: Heat 2 tsp veg with a splash of sesame oil. Saute until starting to wilt. Add 1/2 tsp garlic, and salt to taste, stir, then remove. When cool, squeeze to drain out excess liquid.
- Beansprouts: Simmer in water for 5 min or steam in microwave for 3 min until floppy. Drain under cold water, then cool. Squeeze out excess liquid with hands, place in bowl. Mix with 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp garlic, 1/4 tsp fish sauce.
- Vegetables can cool, they are meant to be at room temp or slightly warm.
- Fry eggs in a skillet to your taste (I like mine with runny yolks).
- Place warm rice in bowls.
- Top with vegetables and beef, as pictured in post, then lastly, the egg.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds, drizzled with sesame oil. Serve with Bibimbap Sauce!
The spicy side of life: Korean recipes
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