Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lunch Week 16: Bibimbap

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Bibimbap
I'm trying to mix some more Asian food into my weekly lunch mix. Variety keep me wanting to eat healthy. So recently, I was inspired to make some bibimbap which is Korean mixed rice. I looked at a few recipes and even watched a video. Although each of the steps to bibimbap seemed easy, the full task at hand wasn't. It takes some time and patience. But in the end, the reward is quite delicious.

First, I made some rice. This is a mix of white and brown rice. Why a mix? To be healthy? Hah, not really. I didn't have enough rice individually for enough servings for the week. Instead, I mixed the two up. The result is something nutty but lighter. I actually enjoyed it.

And now all the ingredients that go into the bibimbap. There are a lot of components but each one adds it's own unique flavor.
I tried my best at some bulgogi which was thinly sliced rib eye sauteed with soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. I overcooked it a bit but the veggies, rice, and hot sauce later with help it out.
I thinly sliced up some zucchini and sauteed that with just oil.
This is fernbrake or kosari. I'm not really sure what it is but I seeped it in hot water until it softened enough to be edible. The taste is kind of herbaceous but also seaweed like. After it softened, I sauteed it in some oil as well.
The shitake mushrooms were dried when purchased. I reconstituted it in hot water until plump and juicy. A nice slicing with my knife and into the pan with soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil.
Some spinach was also sauteed off with garlic, soy sauce, and oil. I used frozen spinach here but feel free to use fresh.
The soy bean sprouts were boiled in salted water then tossed with sesame oil.
Although a nice fried runny egg would complement the bibimbap the best, it doesn't work well when you have to reheat the dish in the company microwave. So instead, I made an omelet and sliced it up.
I added some scallions for zing and freshness.
And lastly, some thinly sliced carrots were sauteed in some oil.
Once you have all your ingredients chopped and cooked, then the assembly begins. First some rice on the bottom of you bowl, then add each of the vegetables and meat in a circular order so each one is represented in its own fashion. The end result is a beautiful and colorful dish. A squirt gochujang (hot pepper paste) is optional for some people but a must for me. When you're ready to eat, mix up all the rice, veggies, meat, and hot paste until you have a harmonious dish. I can really taste the sesame oil, the garlic, and the soy sauce. The veggies add really great texture and flavor to the dish. The meat, though dry, is really flavorful. And the gochujang, though, spicy is really flavorful and brings it all together.

Recipe mostly adapted by Maangchi

Bibimbap (Mixed rice with vegetables)
For 4- 6 servings.

* Cooked rice
* a package of bean sprouts
* a bunch of spinach
* 2 small size of zucchinis
* 5-7 Shiitake mushrooms
* fern brakes (kosari)
* 200 grams of ground beef (about half a pound)
* 1 small carrot, eggs
* soy sauce, hot pepper paste, garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and vegetable oil

Arrange everything on a platter.
1. Cook rice. You can use a rice cooker or a stainless pot.
2. Next, you need to prepare a large platter to put all your ingredients on. Rinse your bean sprouts 3 times and put them in a pot with a cup of water. Add 1 ts of salt and cook for 20 minutes. Drain water and mix it with 1 clove of minced garlic, sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Put it on the platter.
3. Put your spinach in a pot of boiling water and stir it for a minute. Then rinse it in cold water a few times and squeeze it lightly. Mix it with a pinch of salt, 1 ts of soy sauce, 1 clove of minced garlic and sesame oil. Put it on the platter
4. Cut 2 small size zucchinis into thin strips, sprinkle them with a pinch of salt, and then mix them together. A few minutes later, sauté them in a pan over high heat. When it’s cooked, it will look a little translucent. Put it on the platter.
5. You can buy soaked and cooked “kosari” at a Korean grocery store. Prepare about 2 or 3 cups of kosari for this 4 servings of bibimbap. Cut it into pieces 5-7 cm long and sauté in a heated pan with 1 ts of vegetable oil. Stir and add 1 tbs of soy sauce, 1/2 tbs of sugar, and cook them for 1-2 minutes. Add sesame oil. Put it on the platter.
6. Slice shitake mushrooms thinly and sauté with 1 ts of vegetable oil. Add 2 ts of soy sauce and 1 or 2 ts of sugar and stir it for 2 minutes. Add some sesame oil, and put it on the platter.
7. On a heated pan, put some oil and 200 grams of ground beef and stir it. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tbs of soy sauce, 1/2 tbs of sugar, a little grounded black pepper, and sesame oil. Put it on the platter.
8. Cut a carrot into strips, sauté it for 30 seconds and put it on the platter.
9. prepare eggs with sunny side up.
10. Put your rice In a big bowl, and attractively display all your vegetables and meat t. Place the sunny side up egg on the center.
11. Serve it with sesame oil and hot pepper paste.
12. Lastly, mix it up and eat!


  1. JEALOUS! Looks awesome!

    One questions - did you cook the brown rice and white rice together or separately? Brown rice takes so much longer to cook, that I would be concerned the white rice would turn to mush if cooked together? However, I like the mixing idea to get the best of both world. Thanks!

  2. @CT: I did cook the white and brown rice together in the rice cooker. They came out cooked perfectly. I think it depends on your rice cooker and the amount of water. I don't measure. I just use the ol' Mt. Fuji hand method (when the water reaches your knuckles - Mt. Fuji - when you hand is placed flat on the rice).

  3. Yumm everything looks great! I still have to try bibimap.

  4. WOW, home-made bibimbap.

    You will have made your Korean Aunt proud if you make kimbap next.

  5. H, I swear! I use the same water technique too. I feel like our moms were long lost sisters or something. :)

    Also, Ambitious Delicious(ness) had a post up a while back on bibimbap I believe. Let me look.
    It looks like she also posted dolsot bibimbap this year though... obviously not for bringing to work. Yum!

  6. Haha... I use a very similar method for cooking rice! I laughed when I watched...someone... pull out a measuring cup one night.


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