Friday, November 7, 2014

Lunch Week 38: Bibimbop

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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: Bibimbop

After last week's unsuccessful lunch (enchiladas made with poor corn tortillas), I wanted to redeem myself with something I know would be delicious and satisfying. At the same point, I wanted a bit of detox as I felt a little off from the last few weeks. So a vegetarian bibimbop was a great way to achieve all those points.
 This bibimbop (a Korean rice dish with lots of garnishes) is vegetarian mainly due to the eggs. It can easily be vegan without it. Check your sauces though. Some of them can contain traces of animal products (ie: anchovies) so make sure you check the label.

Bibimbop is fairly easy to make. You make rice and then cook all the garnishes separately. Then you just throw them all together into one bowl for a cohesive meal. Most of the work is really prepping everything. If you're fast with prep work, this would go really quick for you.

First the eggs. I whisked a bunch of eggs together. Then I pan fried one ladle of eggs at a time in a non-stick pan with some chopped scallions. I cooked the eggs completely through as a thin pancake/crepe. I removed it from the pan then continues cooking the rest until I had no more eggs left. Once cooled enough to handle, I sliced the egg pancakes into strips and set it aside.
And now for the rest of the vegetables. I added julienned carrots. I have this nifty julienne peeler that makes the process so much faster and easier. It works much like a Y-shaped peeler but instead it created perfect julienned strands. I cooked the carrots simply with oil and salt. Then off the heat, I added some sesame oil.
And this is cooked fernbrake (which is a type of fern) with soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt. I bought presoaked/ready to use fernbrake from the store. However, you will readily find dried fernbrake in several Asian stores.
And mushrooms. Gotta have the mushrooms. I used dried shittake mushrooms that I reconstituted with hot water. I cooked it with garlic, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, oil, and salt.
And here is some cooked gray melon that I also julienned. It become really super soft when cooked.
And finally some spinach. I used long fresh spinach that I cooked with lots of garlic. I let it cook and wilt down completely.
And now the assembly. First some jasmine rice that's topped with gochujangg sauce (a Korean hot paste/sauce) then topped that with the spinach. Then I neatly arranged the other vegetables and garnished into rows so each one if displayed beautifully. If I have a large lunch box, I would have arranged the spinach like so as well. But I was constrained. And finally, a sprinkle of roasted sesame seeds on top.
As I predicted, this was a very good lunch. Big flavors and yet light enough for a detox. A really satisfying vegetarian meal that doesn't remind you that you're only eating vegetables (and some eggs too!).

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