Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bibimbap Bowls

Bibimbap literally translates to "mixed rice" in Korean (not that you can tell from this picture) and is a relatively flexible dish but does have a few traditional consistencies.

Bibimbap is typically made with white rice (although I used Trader Joe's frozen 'fried' rice) and then topped with various fresh and marinated veggies, a fried egg, and spicy chili paste (sub Sriracha!). The ingredients are then all stirred together and enjoyed in either a regular or heated stone bowl.

Really, Bibimap is such a great dish because of it's versatility.  The idea behind it in Korean culture was that you could re-purpose whatever veggies were around the home and/or leftover from other meals in a simple, satisfying way.

For my version of Bibimbap, I tried to utilize some market-bought, in-season veggies (butternut squash, bell peppers, cabbage) as well as some more 'traditional' Asian veggies (carrots, bok choy, local kimchi and marinated mushrooms) with a little twist of veggie 'fried' rice from Trader Joe's and black beans for some extra protein. I also topped mine with an egg from my chickie-girls, but you could just as easily use silken tofu with a little sprinkle of tumeric in the center (for the yellow effect) or leave the egg out all-together.

Also - the Kimichi is not pictured and you can't see the rice (too loaded with veggies ;) but I promise they were both important to the whole composition of the dish and delicious!

Bibimap Bowl
Serves 2
  • 2 cups Trader Joe's Vegetable Fried Rice - sauteed or steamed
  • 1/2 can of black beans, warmed
  • About a quarter of a butternut squash, roasted 
  • 10 garlic-marinated mushrooms (they come in a jar, almost like they are pickled) cut into halves/thirds
  • 2 small heads of bok choy, sauteed in sesame seeds and sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of carrots, marinated for a few hours in 1/2 cup of seasoned rice vinegar, 2 tbsps soy sauce and 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup Kimchi
  • 2 eggs, fried (or tofu - see substitution suggestion above) 
  • Sriracha or red chili paste, to taste
To Assemble 
Prepare all your veggies and have them laid out in an organized fashion.

Place the rice in a large bowl.  Place the fried egg or tofu atop the rice in the center. Arrange your veggies and beans around the egg in a colorful and pretty looking fashion.

Top with Kimchi and Sriracha.

Stir and mash it all together into a delicious and nutritious Korean meal.

Feel free to top with more Sriracha.

What a great meal. So simple and versatile and fun. I think it would be a great meal to make for a group of people - pair it with some Gimbap (kinda like sushi) and some rice wine and you have an impressive and unique spread.

Live long and prosper! And don't be afraid to branch out culturally in your cookings!