Bibimbap, a Korean dish found throughout Japan, represents everything I love about food. Taken from the Korean word for “mixed rice,” bibimbap is rice, a collection of vegetables, meat, raw egg, and chili pepper paste served in a scalding hot stone bowl. For visual appeal, different colors are often placed adjacent.
The best part of bibimbap is the fact you are supposed to stir it before you eat it. While you stir, the stone bowl crisps the rice, egg, and meats – creating a delicious and healthy fried rice mixture.
I love bibimbap. And you should too.
However, some people who order bibimbap don’t stir it. They don’t realize how bibimbap is meant to be eaten. And other people only order bibimbap at restaurants, without realizing it is simple and inexpensive to make at home:
How to make and eat Bibimbap:
1. Order Bibimbap at a nearby Japanese/Korean restaurant or assemble the ingredients yourself
If you ordered at a restaurant, skip to step 2. The rest of step one is ingredients and directions on how to make bibimbap at home.
I like the original bibimbap recipe the most. It follows like this:
- 1 bowl of cooked, white rice
- 1/2 cup of julienned carrots (optional)
- 1/3 cup of sliced cucumbers (optional)
- 1/3 cup of soy bean sprouts (boiled) (optional)
- 1/4 cup of steamed spinach, sauteed in sesame oil (optional)
- 3 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 egg, cooked lightly (so the inside is still a bit raw)
- 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1/3 teaspoon of soy sauce
- Chili Paste (optional, to taste)
- 1/3 lb beef, slices thinly (and fried in a soy sauce base)
- Thinly sliced kimchi (optional)
You’re going to arrange them all out on a bowl (or fry them in a frying pan, whichever you prefer). In any case, when you get your bibimbap, it should look like this:
For instructions on how to prepare each of the ingredients, click here. It will teach you how to julienne carrots, cook the mushrooms, and boil the spinach. Once you have followed their steps and have the completed bowl in front of you, skip to step 2.
2. Break the egg and stir vigorously
I like my egg cooked. The only raw egg I can handle is with Sukiyaki (also, check out this post on how to eat Sukiyaki). As a result, I break the egg in the Bibimbap quickly, to make sure it is thoroughly cooked.
Remember – the bowl is scalding hot and frying your food as you watch.
3. If you do NOT want your rice crispy, scrape the bottom of the stone bowl every ten seconds
You can choose to evenly distribute the heat, making all the rice hot – but not crispy. Or you can choose to let some of the rice fry/burn, so sections of the meal is crispy and delicious.
If you don’t want crispy rice, scrape the bowl regularly. If you DO want crispy rice, only scrape the rice off the bottom of the bowl two or three times a minute.
4. Do a sample taste
I believe it tasting before adding extra ingredients. Some restaurants serve your bibimbap with chili paste, some don’t.
5. Add chili paste (and salt, soy sauce, kimchi, semsame oil) to taste
I love spicy food – and I can’t handle more than a couple scoops of chili paste. My typical additions to store-bought bibimbap (ビビンパ) is one spoonful of sesame oil and two spoonfuls of chili paste. I prefer not to add soy sauce or salt, but that is a personal preference.
6. Eat while still hot
Bibimbap is delicious. Enjoy!
It took me four times of eating Bibimbap to remember its name. And even then, I remembered the Japanese spelling (Bibinba) rather than the Korean spelling (Bibimbap). And now that I’ve typed it so many times in this post, I don’t think I’m ever going to forget the spelling. Great.
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