Eating for Beauty: Korean Bibimbap

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
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A little Korean restaurant recently opened up in my neighborhood and for whatever reason, I ordered the bibimbap. For years, I snobbishly it wrote off as “Korean lite” due to it’s popularity among people who aren't Korean. But the truth is, bibimbap, or “mixed rice,” is a super delicious Korean dish that offers a completely balanced meal with complex carbs, lots of vegetables, and protein. While on vacation in Massachusetts with my mom, I asked her to make it with me. I took plenty of notes and pictures to share the recipe here on Parlor! Although I’ve provided measurements, each vegetable can be prepared to taste and the dish is easily customized by adding, swapping, or omitting veggies. It takes a little effort but the result is totally worth it and you’ll likely have some veggies left over. It’s a super fun recipe to create with a partner so grab a friend and let’s cook.

The recipe for bibimbap is after the jump.

Korean Bibimbap

Serves 4

1 cup brown rice (or 2 cups if you’re really hungry)
1 package of spinach
1 package of bean sprouts
2 carrots, thinly sliced julienne-style
1 pickle cucumber, thinly sliced julienne-style
1 package shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 ¼ t sesame oil, divided
3 t olive oil, divided
2 T Soy sauce, divided
1/8 t cayenne pepper
4 t sesame seeds, toasted and crushed, divided
½ t white vinegar
1 scallion, sliced julienne-style
pinch of sugar
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
About a cup of red or green leaf lettuce, sliced thinly
About a cup of prepared kimchi, sliced thinly
4 eggs
Red pepper paste (available at Asian markets)

1. Throw the rice in a rice cooker or in a pot on the stove or and prepare according to directions on the package.

Now… we’ll prepare the veggies one by one starting with the spinach.

1. Fill a large wok or frypan ½ way with water and bring it to a boil.

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2. Dump in the spinach and fold to evenly blanch.

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3. Drain, rinse with cold water, and then squeeze to remove the water.

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4. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 2 t sesame seeds and ½ t sesame oil. Toss to combine and set aside. (This is good cold, so keep it in the fridge if you like.)

Next up... cucumbers.

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1. Thinly julienne slice your cucumber. A japanese mandolin or a julienne peeler will help if you have one.

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2. Put it in a small bowl and mix it up with ½ teaspoon white vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon sesame oil, a pinch of sugar, and about 1/8 teaspoon of salt or to taste. Set aside.

Carrots are a must in this dish...

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1. Thinly julienne your carrots.

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2. Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in your fry pan. Add the carrots and sauté over medium heat.

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3. After couple minutes add ¼ t salt, ½ t sesame oil, 1 t sesame seeds and ½ a sliced scallion. Continue stir-frying until the carrots are softened but still crisp. Set aside.

Mmmm... bean sprouts.

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1. Heat another teaspoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the bean sprouts and again, cook over medium heat. Stir fry until tender and add a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce or to taste.

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2. Remove from heat and set aside.

Shiitakes are the only mushrooms I'll even think about eating.

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1. Add your final teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and toss in your sliced shitake mushrooms.

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2. Throw in ½ a sliced scallion and ¼ t salt and stir fry until tender. Set aside.

Chop up some lettuce and kimchi and set aside. The veggies are done! Time to put it all together.

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1. When your rice has finished cooking, fry 4 eggs in a large fry pan prepared with cooking spray. Cook over medium-high heat. Traditionally, the dish would be served in a hot stone pot that would finish cooking a raw or really runny sunny side up egg. Since I don’t have stone dishes at home, I cooked the eggs over easy. The yolk should still be soft and a little oozy. Does that make it sound gross? Sorry!

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2. Put a scoop of brown rice in the center of a large bowl. A little over a half-cup should do it.

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3. Load up the sides with all your veggies and top with a fried egg. You will likely have some extra spinach and bean sprouts. This is a good thing – eat that for a snack when you get a salt craving or with brown rice for a light lunch the next day.

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3. Top with a healthy dose of red pepper sauce.

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Mix it all up and enjoy!!! (Maybe don't take a picture of yourself...)

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