Externally, bibimbap is a bowl of white rice topped with a variety of cooked seasonal vegetable together with cooked beef, or pan-fried fish, and mixed with gochujang (fermented red pepper paste). The gochujang sauce brings together the whole spectrum of tastes found in bibimbap, but Koreans would say that on a deeper level, or internally, bibimbap reflects the nature of Koreans, who like to blend and mix all things and expressing the aesthetics of mixing. (Pictured is dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥), which is bibimbap served in a hot stone bowl).
According to historical documents dating back to the 19th century, which describe the annual rituals and customs, on the last day of the year, all of the food remaining was eaten in the form of bibimbap so that no food from the previous year would be carried over to the new year.
The different vegetables in bibimbap are replete with fiber and minerals, and accordingly, bibimbap has become quite a popular dish among health conscious people. Low in calories and cholesterol, yet high in fiber, bibimbap is also ideal for preventing adult-onset diseases.
- 4 cups of rice
- 4 oz. of beef
- 6-8 shiitake mushrooms (soaked in water)
- 3 oz. carrots
- 3 oz. Korean turnips
- 3 oz. Korean squash or zucchini
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 fried egg, sunny side up
1. After soaking shiitake mushrooms in water, remove stems and julienne the mushrooms, and then julienne the beef. Season beef and shiitake mushrooms with the following: 1/2 tsp of ground garlic, 2 tsp. soy sauce, 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil, and dash of pepper. After seasoning the mushrooms and beef, add sesame oil to a frying pan and pan-fry.
2. Cut Korean squash into 2 inch-tong pieces and peel off the skin. Julienne and lightly soak in salt. Drain off excess water. Add sesame oil to frying pan and pan-fry.
3. Cut carrots and Korean turnips into 2 inch long pieces. Julienne. Add sesame oil to frying pan and pan-fry. Add a dash of salt.
4. Separate egg whites and yolks. Add 1/3 of egg white to yolks and mix with a dash of salt. Pan-fry egg mixture and julienne into 2-inch long strips.
5. Place all ingredients on a separate plate.
Putting it all together
1. Place white rice in a wide, deep bowl.
2. Take beef and vegetables from steps 2-4 and arrange over white rice, paying particular attention to the harmonizing colors of the ingredients. Fry an egg, sunny side up, and place on top of all the ingredients.
3. Serve with gochujang sauce on the side. Since gochujang sauce is quite spicy and strong, allow your guests to adjust the amount of sauce according to their taste.
4. To mix, use a spoon to mix the rice, beef, vegetables, egg and gochujang sauce together. Enjoy the taste of Korea!
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