Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bibimbap (비빔밥)

It could be the Korean lessons I'm taking. Or it could be the cold weather. But I seem to crave Korean food very frequently these few days. The ultimate craving being for good ol' simple 비빔밥 - Korean bibimbap. 비빔밥 literally translates into "mixed rice" - a bowl of rice topped with a variety of vegetables (meat optional) and red pepper paste sauce. Add a fried egg and sprinkling of sesame seeds and you're good to go. The ingredients are all mixed together right before consumption.

There are several names for the humble Korean dish, the ones I'm more familiar with are 양념비빔밥 (Yangpun bibimbap) - the ones most commonly shown in Korean dramas where the Koreans dump a whole load of leftover stuff into a kick ass metal bowl and start mixing everything before digging in with a spoon; 돌솥비빔밥 (Dolsot bibimbap) - served in a hot stone pot, where the bottom layer of the rice becomes delicious crispy rice bits and just plain ol' 비빔밥.

비빔밥 lunch bentos

I tend to bring lunch to work quite often. I woke up early to prepare the ingredients for these bibimbap bentos for the Sista and I cos I didn't have time to prepare them the night before. The cooking time is pretty fast for each individual vegetable side dish, just that it does take some time to julienne all of the vegetables...


I normally use just one non-stick pan and a saucepan for the cooking. And I do it in the following order:

Soak a handful of dried shitake mushrooms in some hot water and set aside. I prepare the beansprouts first, boiling them in the saucepan and following this recipe.

The easiest to cook was the carrots. I just stir fried them dry in a non stick pan (without adding any oil or seasoning - plenty of seasoning for the other veggies already!) and when they are slightly softened (still with a bit of crunch), I remove the carrots and set them aside to cool.

Next I add just a little bit of oil to the same saucepan, and add in some onions to cook for 30secs. Then I add in the zucchini. I stir fry them a little, and add in some mirin and soy sauce. When they vegetables are cooked, remove and set aside to cool.

By this time, the mushrooms should have rehydrated. I remove them from the water (keep the mushroom water!!), remove the stalks and slice them up. Then I use the previous saucepan used for boiling the beansprouts (wiped clean) to cook them. I just dump the mushrooms into the heated saucepan, add a dash of sugar, some oyster sauce, a pinch of salt and some of the mushroom water and stir and cook till the mixture has become quite thick, before removing the saucepan from the stove.

Assembling is easy peasy. First I lined the lunch boxes with some barley rice, then I started lining the vegetables, I also added some homemade kimchi I had in the fridge. Then I placed some gochujang in the middle before drizzling some sesame oil and black sesame seeds over everything.

I tend to fry the eggs (in the non stick pan) only after I've assembled the dishes, so I can just plop them atop and let the dish cool down, while I go shower and prepare myself for work. The dish has cooled down by the time I'm ready to leave, so just nice, I pop the lids on top of the lunch boxes before I head out. :)
Add a sunny side egg...and the dish is complete.

I don't have a fixed recipe for this cos really, you can add any stir fry vegetables of your choice, and even meat (chicken, canned tuna, beef etc). Every time I make this, it always taste slightly different, depending on what I decide to add that day. I prepared bibimbap three times in a period of two weeks (ten working days). That just goes to show how much I love the dish. :)

6 comments:

  1. 같은데 means 'i think/i guess/it seems like' :) so what i was trying to say in the sentence is 'i think your bibimbap looks very delicious' hehe

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  2. 당신의 비빔밥을 너무 맛있는 같은데 :)

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  3. Gosh, you are so organised! I barely have time to feed the cat before work, let alone prepare my own food. Would you mind making a lovely bibimbap for me someday?

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  4. heh thanks evan, i sorta get the gist...except for the last three words - 같은데 - what's that meaning? :)

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  5. Your Bibimbap looks great. What did you use for the sauce? Just a plain gochujang?

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  6. thanks! yup i used just plain gochujang cos im lazy to season the sauce. do u use something else then ? (:

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