Bibimbap is not only a delicious Korean dish but it is also a pretty dish. The lovely colours and spicy heat make this a very special and really comforting dish.
What is Bibimbap?
Bibimbap is a fantastic Koreon dish which means ‘mixed rice’. Although every time I have seen this dish it has been beautifully presented, it is traditionally mixed up all together. I like the idea of taking time to make a dish look beautiful only to completely mix it up before you eat it.
It was only last year that I tried Korean food for the first time. Oddly enough it was whilst Mr Curly and I were on a trip to Copenhagen. When we’re away, food plays a huge part in our trips. We had had a very busy day walking around the city in less than ideal weather so we didn’t want to stray too far from our hotel for dinner. We did what we usually do and started to look at TripAdvisor for restaurants with good reviews near us.
One of the best rated restaurants happened to be a Korean restaurant which was only 2 streets away. Neither of us had tried Korean food before so decided it would be a good place to go. We decided on a few smaller dishes to share including Korean Fried Chicken and then also Bibimbap. For my husband who has a chicken obsession the Korean Fried Chicken was love at first sight.
The Bibimbap was the dish that instantly impacted me though. It was served in a traditional hot stone dish which gave the rice a delicious crispness at the bottom. I have done a bit of research when trying to recreate my own recipe and I believe this type is called dolsot bibimbap after the stone bowl it is cooked in.
Since then I have had other Bibimbap that hasn’t had the crisp rice on the bottom as it wasn’t cooked in the dolsot and it was still delicious. My Bibimbap doesn’t have the crisp rice as I didn’t happen to have a dosot, but I don’t think it reduces from the tastiness of the dish.
I researched lots of different Bibimbap recipes before coming up with my own. There are some things I think you need to include and others you can adapt to your taste. Obviously you need rice to make this and it is traditionally made with beef. You do also need gochujang which is a Korean staple ingredient. It is a thick fermented soybean paste (stay with me) that is quite spicy. You will probably need to get this from your Asian supermarket but it is definitely essential.
How spicy do you like your food?
The sauce for this Bibimbap is quite spicy, especially if you taste it on its own. When it’s mixed in the dish I think it does mellow slightly. If you are worried about the level of spice, you could reduce the amount of gochujang slightly. But I really do recommend making this dish a little spicy if you can handle it!
I think you do really need to include a fried egg on top and some beansprouts, but feel free to add any combination of vegetables. Mushrooms, spinach and kim chi are other popular toppings. Personally, I don’t mind the extra effort of cooking them separately, but if you wanted to make this dish quicker then you could cook them all together.
I think this dish is really comforting and so delicious. I wouldn’t usually associate spicy food with comfort, but believe me this really is. It isn’t a dish to be eaten with chop sticks, a spoon is definitely advised. Get comfy on the sofa with a big bowl of this and put a film on – instant comfort!
For the meat
200g beef mince
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sugar
For the sauce
1 tbsp gochujang paste
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp sugar
2 tbsp water
½ tbsp sesame seeds
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp minced garlic
For the vegetables and toppings
1 medium carrot, peeled
Handful of beansprouts
1 tsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs + 1 tbsp oil
Sprinkle of sesame seeds
- Add the beef mince to a bowl along with the rest of the marinade ingredients and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes whilst you prepare the rest
- Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. You want it to be thin enough to be able to drizzle so add a touch more water if needed
- Cook the rice as per the packet instructions with a pinch of salt
- Julienne (cut into matchsticks) the carrot and courgette
- Heat a small amount of the oil in a frying pan over a medium/low heat. Add the carrot and cook slowly until they have taken on some colour and softened. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside – you may want to keep them in a very low temperature oven on the bottom shelf to keep them warm once cooked
- Repeat with the courgette and beansprouts and set aside
- Using the same frying pan as you have cooked the vegetables in, on a high heat add the beef mince and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked through and starting to get crispy. Add a small amount of oil if needed
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in another frying pan and cook the eggs
- To serve, add the rice to the bottom of the bowl and flatten the top. Place the cooked vegetables and meat in a circular pattern keeping each ingredient separate
- Add the fried egg to the top and drizzle with as much of the gochujang sauce as you want. Finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds
- To eat, mix all of the ingredients together