One of the most festive and most flavorful rice dishes I learned to cook was Bibimbap. So colorful and so delightful — spicy chili pepper paste, sweet-styled marinated beef, seasoned vegetables, and steamed rice gave a whole new experience in enjoying healthy dishes. It’s Korea-time and let’s start with this happy dish.
My first encounter with Bibimbap was about ten years ago, just before the K-Pop invasion. I had the opportunity to enjoy this in a home of a Korean friend. So we’re talking about authenticity. Oh yeah! As soon as the clock’s hands struck dinner time, I was led to a massive dining hall. Then a bowl of steaming hot rice filled with colorful veggies welcomed my sight. I did not know what to do. I found the bowl so delightful…so pretty…I ate it as it was prepared: first the carrot, then the beef, then the rice, then the mushroom…
My Korean friend noticed my eating folly and said: No, no, no, mix, mix, mix. Biii-Beeem-Bap!
He was absolutely correct — the only way to enjoy Bibimbap is to destroy its happy presentation in constant swirls of chopsticks. With this, all flavors are blended in one savory mix: the spiciness of the chili pepper paste, the sweetness of marinated beef, the soy goodness of shitake mushrooms, the comforting goodness of fried egg, etc…each ingredient offered something; their distinct flavors united. The mixing, it made sense. And it was good. So good that I unknowingly muttered: Mmmm-mmm-mmm…
Soon after, the K-pop flooded our local entertainment scene, and our food districts popped with Korean food joints. Remembering my Korean friend’s hospitality, I frequented Korean restaurants and ordered the unforgettable Bibimbap. It was: Mmmm-mmm-mmm, the second time around.
And whenever I see a Filipino eating Bibimbap without mixing it, I would say: No, no, no, mix, mix, mix. Biii-Beeem-Bap!
Some fancy words about this dish:
- Bibimbap: literally means mixed rice; so mix it, guys
- Namul: the seasoned vegetables on top of the rice
- Gochujang: Korean’s chili pepper paste
- Dolsot Bibimbap: Bibimbap served in stone pot (Dolsot means stone pot); this will make your Bibimbap warmer, crispier, and usually served with raw egg
- Bulgogi: barbecue-flavored beef; similar with beef teriyaki
Best enjoyed with:
- Galbi Jim
- Sikhye (Sweet Korean Rice Beverage)
Restaurants that offer this dish:
- Jang Ga Nae: Bibimbap @ 250.00 Php; Dolsot Bibimbap @ 300.00 Php
- Happy 6 Days: Soup with Bibimbap @ 250.00 Php
- Song Do: Bibimbap @ 340.00 Php
- Kaya Korean Restaurant: Bibimbap @ 310.00 Php
Bibimbap is a healthy dish, and it’s not overwhelming, so I recommend learning this delightful dish and enjoy what the Koreans shared to the food world.
With that, let’s start cooking.
- Cooked rice*, 4 cups
- Fried egg, 1, Sunnyside up
- Gochujang**, 1 tablespoon
- Bean sprouts, 1 package
- Spinach, 1 bunch
- Zucchini, julienned, 1 piece
- Carrot, julienned, 1 piece
- Shitake mushrooms, large, sliced, 4 pieces
- Sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon
- Garlic, minced, 2 cloves
- Sesame oil, 2 tablespoons
- Onion, medium, diced, 1 piece
- Soy sauce, 1 teaspoon, for spinach’s seasoning
- Soy sauce, 1 teaspoon, for onion’s seasoning
- Soy sauce, 2 teaspoons, for shitake mushroom’s seasoning
- Sugar, 2 teaspoons
- Salt, to taste
Note: Kosari (Fernbrake) can be included. I did not include it because it was unavailable.
- Ground beef***, 300 grams
- Garlic, minced, 4 cloves
- Sugar, 2 tablespoons
- Honey, 1 tablespoon
- Soy sauce, 3 teaspoon
- Sesame oil for stir frying
- Sesame seeds, 1 dash
- Black pepper, ground, to taste
*Choose Jasponica, you will never go wrong.
**If you can’t find Gochujang, mix Sriracha (1 tablespoon) with sesame oil (1 dash) and sugar (1 pinch).
***Leftover beef tapa can be a great substitute. Minced it and add a dash of sesame oil and seeds.
Note: When stir-frying with sesame oil, always use low to medium heat. We do not want a burnt taste.
- In a saucepan, add water and a pinch of salt; add bean sprouts and cook for 15-20 minutes; drain and then set aside in a bowl
- Add and mix minced garlic, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of bean sprouts
- In a saucepan, boil water and add a pinch of salt; blanch the spinach for 1 minute; cool it down with cold water; drain the water and squeeze it tightly; then set aside in a bowl
- Add and mix the minced garlic, sesame oil, a pinch of salt, and soy sauce in the bowl of spinach
- Mix a dash of salt in the zucchini; then oil a pan with sesame oil and stir fry the zucchini until translucent; then set aside in a bowl
- Oil the pan with sesame oil and stir fry the onion, add soy sauce, and sprinkle it with sesame seeds
- Oil the pan with sesame oil and stir fry the carrot; do not overcook, if you want to retain its crispiness; then set aside in a bowl and mix it with sesame seeds
- Oil the pan with sesame oil, stir fry the shitake mushrooms, with sugar, salt, soy sauce; then set aside in a bowl
- Heat pan with sesame oil
- Add garlic
- Stir fry beef
- Add soy sauce
- Add sugar and honey
- Make sure the beef is browned and cooked
- Set aside
- In a bowl or in a dolsot (heated stone pot) put in rice
- At its center, place egg
- Then surround it with veggies and beef
- Place the gochujang near the egg, or zigzag it all over
- Serve while hot
- And don’t forget to mix, mix, mix while eating
- Serves: 4
- Preparation time: 1 hour
- Cooking time: 30 minutes – 1 hour, depending if you can multitask (I got only one burner at the time I cooked this)
- Dish: Korean
- Related recipes: Gimbap, Jeonju Bibimbap, Dolsot Bibimbap