One of the most quintessential Korean dishes, bibimbap – which when translated, means “mixed rice” – is often accentuated with a variety of vegetables, herbs, sauces, proteins, and toppings. It’s a wonderful dish to master because you can basically include anything that you have in your kitchen! Here, we outline an approach to make bibimbap easily at home. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying restaurant-worthy bibimbap beyond Seoul.
Throughout history, bibimbap has been eaten on the eve of the lunar new year, which allowed for the usage of many leftovers. It is also said that bibimbap is rich in symbolism, with ingredients and colors representing portions of the world and portions of the body (i.e green represents the east and the liver, as represented by scallions, cucumber, or spinach.) For some, bibimbap is very artfully and colorfully arranged. Some of the more unique bibimbap adaptions are topped with beef tartare or raw fish, and others are prepared and served in a hot stone pot.
Known as one of the world’s most beloved rice bowls, bibimbap is a delicious Korean dish that can be made with a slew of differing vegetables and ingredients … basically, whatever you have on hand. Here is a breakdown of the essential ingredients, various sorts of toppings, and methodology to make Korean bibimbap at home:
- short-grain rice (or sushi rice)
- sesame oil
- shiitake mushroom
- soy sauce
Produce (called “namul”): cucumber, zucchini, sprouts, pear, radish, lettuce
Proteins: chicken, pork, clams, fish, shrimp, tofu, and most traditionally, bulgogi (thinly-sliced beef marinated in soy, garlic, ginger, and scallion and then grilled)
Sauces: gochujang, doenjang, sesame oil, soy sauce
Extras: fried egg, kimchi, sesame seeds
Note: It is customary to stir all of the ingredients together well before digging in!
1. Cook 2 cups of rice, according to box directions, or in a rice cooker.
2. In a medium skillet, heat a teaspoon of sesame oil with 2 minced garlic cloves and a teaspoon of grated ginger. Add a cup of shiitake mushrooms, cook until browned, and set aside.
3. In a large pot, blanch vegetables separately and set aside once cooked: spinach, shredded daikon radish, and shredded carrot.
4. In the same skillet as before, heat a teaspoon of oil and add 1 cup of the cooked rice. Flatten the rice until it covers the bottom of the pan, and cook until it is crisped, about 5 minutes. Flip the rice “pancake,” and cook the other side for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining rice, soy sauce, and scallion. Cook through for 10 minutes.
5. Plate rice in large bowls, and top each with all vegetables and proteins, along with any optional toppings you’d like to add. Serve kimchi alongside. Stir together and enjoy!