Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lunch Week 2: Vegetarian 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: Vegetable Bibimbap
Just like anyone else, spending the new year watching one's weight is like a routine. New resolutions on healthy eating, gym attending, and curbing "bad" vices. But it doesn't mean it has to be boring and torturous. While some of us may be eating unexciting salads day in and day out which will most likely lead the person to quite sooner than later, I've opted to introduce more vegetables to my diet in a delicious way. Sauces and spices are really the way to go. It adds to much flavor and depth to a dish that you would soon forget that you're only eating vegetables. Exploring other ethnic cuisines is a great way to find new flavors. So I looked back to my bibimbap post from last year and realized that it needed much improvement.

As any recipe goes, the prep takes a lot of time. But doing it ahead of time saves you a headache in the future. Here I have chopped scallions, blanched fernbrake, minced garlic, washed beansprouts, shredded carrots and zucchini, sliced shitake mushrooms (once dried but rehydrated overnight), and spinach (not pictured). Before I go on, I'd like to briefly talk about my new Rikon vegetable peeler/shredder. It's amazing. It shreds vegetables really easily and quickly. It's easy to clean and takes up hardly any space. No more purchasing pre-shredded vegetables dowsed in chemicals to prevent rot. Nope! Only fresh whole vegetables for me!

Before you start cooking, make some rice in your cooker in the background. By the time you're done with the stove, the rice will be ready. So, I took each of the vegetables and sauteed them separately. Some with the minced garlic, others with soy sauce and sesame oil. Some were just lightly sauteed in oil. I tried to keep the natural flavor of the vegetables as much as possible. I actually enjoy the taste if they're cooked properly. No mushy overcooked vegetables here please. Below is the spinach and fernbrake.
The shitake mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini.
Bean sprouts that were lightly sauteed to retain its crunch.
And now the assembly. Place a layer of rice on the bottom in an even later. I used white Jasmine rice this time. On top, I liberally spread out the gojujang (Korean ) hot pepper paste. I layered this on the rice so that it wouldn't stick to the top of my container. Otherwise, it would go on top of the vegetables.
Then in even layers, I placed in the spinach, then fernbrake, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, bean sprouts, then fresh scallions. Doesn't that look good? Lots of colors, flavors, and textures.
Lastly, I added a soft boiled egg in the middle to add a level of richness to the dish.
When it's time to eat, I heat up the food without the egg first. I wrap the egg in some plastic wrap for easy removal. Once the vegetables and rice are heated up, I place the unwrapped egg back into the container. Lastly, break the egg up and mix everything together. I like to fully mix everything until uniform. I enjoy having every ingredient in each bite.
This version of bibimbap came out much better. I used less rice and added more vegetables. I removed the beef but didn't miss it much. In fact, the flavor of the dish by itself is fantastic. I also added more gojijang sauce this time which was key. It's filling and satisfying. For a vegan version, forego the egg and gojujang (some versions contain anchovies).

7 comments:

  1. You make the prettiest food.

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  2. @Cheese: I'm starting to graduate from just making tasty food to tasty and pretty food. Yay!

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  3. Can you link the Rikon shredder? Mmm this looks good

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  4. @FF: Sure! Here you go: http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-192468/Kuhn-Rikon-Julienne-Peeler

    I bought it from Sur La Table but it's available everywhere.

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  5. Cool. So colorful.
    Veggie bimbimbap over salad any day.

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  6. That looks wonderful! My sis and I were just talking about making this for our lunches soon. (well, she gets it from Bread and Butter, but I talked about making it)

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  7. Just wanted to update that I made this... subbed a few different veggies, for what I could find and added shrimp instead of an egg. It was delicious! Thanks again for the idea!

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