Korean food has to be one of my favorites… and Bibimbap is definitely my favorite Korean dish! So today we have a special post for a special dish!
Bibimbap (비빔밥) is a rice dish, topped up with meat (I used beef for this recipe) and assorted vegetables, usually assembled in a hot stone pot, with a delicious sauce and an egg on top. If this is not a great dish, I don’t know what is.
Making a bibimbap is not particularly difficult and it’s one of those dishes that is guaranteed to impress your friends and family. You can get a dolsot (hot stone pot, see the picture below) in an Asian store, online or you can even use a more normal bowl if you need to (I’ll tell you what you have to do if this is the case, do not worry). You can find all of the ingredients in all big supermarkets and most definitely in an Asian store or online.
All of the pictures for this recipe were taken by the incredibly talented Michael Chapman (and you can check his work here). Many thanks!
Preparation Time: 60 min | Cooking Time: 20 min | Serves: 2 | Spice level: 🌶🌶
What you’ll need:
For the gochujang sauce
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 medium sized red apple, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1/2 brown onion, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 and ½ Tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp mirin (rice wine)
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- A pinch of black pepper
For the beef marinade
- About 400-500g beef steak, cut into bite size strips
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- A pinch of black pepper
For the dolsot bowl assembly
- Cooked sushi/short grain rice
- Two or three handfuls of julienned carrot
- Two or three handfuls of julienned courgette/zucchini
- Two or three handfuls of beansprouts
- About 300g of spinach
- Two or three handfuls of shiitake mushrooms
- Some gochuragu (Korean red pepper powder)
- Some sesame oil to sauté and to use on the dolsot
- Sesame seeds q.b.
- 2 eggs
- Start by marinating your beef strips. In a large bowl, add the beef and the marinade ingredients (soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, sugar and a pinch of black pepper). Let this marinate for at least an hour. As usual, the longer you marinate your beef for, the tastier it will be. But don’t worry if you are in a rush, you can marinate it for just as long as you prepare everything else and you will be okay.
- Wash your sushi/short grain rice 4 or 5 times until the water is no longer milky white. Once the rice is clean, put your rice in a thick pot, covering it with the water (using the ratio of 1 and 1/2 cups of rice to 2 cups of water).
- Put the lid on the pot and bring the rice to the boil, in high heat. Once it starts to boil, which should only take a few minutes, open the lid and give it a stir.
- Put the lid back on and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer, with the lid on (this is very important) for 11 minutes. Don’t open the lid and leave the rice to cook undisturbed.
- Once the time is up, turn the heat off and let the rice rest for 10 more minutes with the lid still on. After this time, you can finally open the pot and give it a stir to fluff it. You will have perfect sticky rice, ideal for this dish! Keep it warm while you carry on with everything else.
- To make the gochujang based sauce all you need to do is add all the sauce ingredients to a food processor and puré until smooth. You will find that this will be enough for two bowls, but you can keep it in a fridge for a couple of days if you need to.
Vegetables and meat
- Presentation is an important part of this dish, so give your vegetables some attention. Julienne your carrots and courgette/zucchini, and chop your shiitake mushrooms into bite sized pieces.
- Sauté your vegetables separately in a hot wok or big frying pan with a little drizzle of sesame oil. Start by the lightest ones and make your way to the darkest ones so they don’t get stained (as a rule of thumb, leave the mushrooms for the end as they tend to stain whatever you put on the wok afterwards). Add a pinch of gochuragu to the bean sprouts and some sesame seeds to the spinach.
- Don’t overcook your vegetables, you just need a light sauté. The dolsot bowl will become very hot and everything will cook just a little bit further once it’s assembled. You want to keep some crunchiness in your vegetables as well so you get different textures in every mouthful while eating.
- If some of your vegetables get a little wet, make sure to drain when you remove them. Place your vegetables aside, separately.
- Lastly, lightly sauté your beef strips. Do not overcook them (the bowl will warm up and finish cooking the meat), otherwise it can get chewy.
- Now comes the fun part! Your rice and its accompaniments are ready to go into your dolsot bowls. If you didn’t get around to find one, you can use a ceramic bowl and just use your oven instead of the stove to warm it up (if you don’t have a ceramic bowl, you can still make bibimbap in a normal cold bowl, but you may wish to fry the egg at the end).
- Start by adding a little sesame oil to the bottom of the dolsot. Then scoop some rice into the center, with enough height so that you can place all the others ingredients on the sides.
- Carefully place a little bit of each vegetable and the meat on the sides, leaving an empty space in the middle. As I said before, presentation here is key, so make sure to have contrasting colors side by side, instead of two green vegetables together, for example.
Finalizing the dish
- Once all your ingredients are in, put the bowl on the stove and turn the heat on. Use the lowest setting and gradually increase the heat. The dolsot bowls need to be warmed up gently and you should avoid sudden temperature changes (or they might break, particularly the stone ones).
- It will take a few minutes but once that the bowl is finally warm enough, you’ll hear a sizzling sound. This is a good indicator that your bowl is hot enough and you can carefully remove it to the stand.
- Crack the egg into a small bowl or ramekin, and then place it in the center of your bibimbap. Once you start eating and mix everything up, the egg will cook because the bowl will be very hot. Some people prefer a fried egg instead (or even just the yolk), so if this is your case, go for it!
- Dress the bibimbap with the sauce you previously made, all around the egg.
- You are all done and the only thing left to do is enjoy this Korean bowl of deliciousness!
- You can use any vegetables you want for this recipe, or others you find prettier. Ideally you want to have some crunchy elements to it (such as bean sprouts, but cucumber is a good shout as well).
- The usual way of eating the bibimbap is mixing it all together, the bowl will keep your food warm and will cook the egg. There will be some delicious slightly crispy rice at the bottom as well!
- You can also replace the meat with pork, although ensure you cook it thoroughly. Prawns are also good options. Alternatively, you can use tofu or skip the meat altogether and make yourself a vegetarian bibimbap.
- Lastly, if you get around to go to a Korean store, get yourself some Korean beer and a bottle of Soju to have with this dish!
- For any other questions you may have, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me!
Many thanks to Michael for taking the pictures – you can check is incredible work here!