BYÂ EMMA HABERMAN
Besides being fun to say, bibimbap, a classic Korean dish, is comforting and nutritious, incorporating whole grains, proteins and veggies into one steaming hearty dish. Bibimbap can be served hot or cold – my favorite is dolsot bibimbap, which comes served in a sizzling hot stone bowl and topped with a raw egg that cooks as you stir it into the steaming rice. The flavor of bibimbap is unmistakable and unique. It’s also easy to recreate at home.
Bibimbap is essentially a well-constructed stirfry, though a few ingredients are non-negotiable. Traditional bibimbap has a rice base (I substituted nutrition for tradition and used brown rice instead of classic white rice), and is covered with gochujang, a Korean chili paste. With these essentials in mind, I set off to recreate dolsot bibimbap. Not having a stone bowl to heat, and not wanting to subject my diners to salmonella, I substituted the raw egg for a runny fried egg, which yielded similarly delicious results. A major perk of dolsot bibimbap is the crispy crust that forms when the rice touches the scorching stone. This can be recreated easily enough by forming half of your rice into a thick pancake and cooking it in a skillet until it is crusty on both sides. I used Sriracha instead of gochujang, but otherwise stayed true to the classic ingredients, including a sweet marinated beef bulgogi. Sweet, spicy, wholesome comfort – a perfect break from traditional winter stew.
Makes 3 servings
Bulgogi (recipe follows)
11/2 cups brown rice
3 cups water
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
5 large shiitaki mushroom caps, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
4 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
1/2 cup bean sprouts
3 tablespoons sesame oil
- Combine the rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 40 minutes.
- While the rice cooks, prepare the vegetables. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a medium-sized skillet or wok. Add the shiitake mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
- Add another 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil to the skillet. Add the zucchini and a pinch of salt and saute for 5-7 minutes until the zucchini are softened but still have a crunch. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
- Add another 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil and the spinach. Cook the spinach for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until the leaves are bright green and slightly – but not completely – wilted. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
- Place the bean sprouts in the boiling water until wilted, about 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the final 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add half of the cooked rice and flatten it to form a pancake covering the bottom of the pan. Cook until the rice is crisp and golden on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip it over using a large spatula, and cook the other side for 5 minutes until crispy.
- Break up the rice and place in the bottom of your ovenproof serving bowls. Divide the rest of the rice on top of the toasted rice. Arrange the shiitakes, zucchini, spinach, bean sprouts, carrots and bulgogi on top, keeping each component separate. Place the bowls under the broiler to reheat.
- While the bowls reheat, add another 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil to the medium-sized skillet. Crack the eggs, one at a time, and cook until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny.
- Remove the bowls from the oven and place the eggs on top. Drizzle with sriracha sauce and serve hot, with bulgogi sauce on the side.
1/2 pound boneless ribeye steak, thinly sliced
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Ground black pepper
- Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or baking dish. Add the steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In a medium-sized skillet or wok, saute the beef until it is cooked through.
- Set the beef aside and add the remaining marinade. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat. Let it simmer until thick. Set aside to serve alongside bibimbap.
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Photos: Emma Haberman
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