Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bibimbap

When it comes to preparing any kind of Asian cuisine, my success rate is about 50%. It’s getting better considering that in the past it was about 10%. Still, I need more practice and probably more books. For months, I had wanted to try making bibimbap. When I saw this New York Times article, I decided the time was now. I followed the recipe linked in the article exactly with only one change. I added some yellow summer squash just because I had it. This was my very first attempt at cooking Korean food, so I followed the instructions carefully and was thrilled with the result. I used zucchini, daikon, carrots, and yellow squash from Hands of the Earth Farm and only needed to purchase a few other ingredients. I didn’t find the Korean chili sauce, gochujang, at my regular grocery store and wondered about using a substitute. A quick online search led me to believe there isn’t a good substitute, so I stopped by our nearby Korean market to get it.

There was a considerable bit of prep work involved. The zucchini, shitake caps, daikon, carrots, and yellow squash were all julienned. Then, the zucchini, squash, and shitakes were each sauteed separately with sesame oil and garlic. Also, bean sprouts and spinach were blanched separately and then tossed with sesame oil and sesame seeds. The daikon was tossed with chili flakes, sesame oil, a pinch of sugar, and salt, and the carrot was left plain and raw. The rice cooked while all of these items were being prepped. I’m sure this process could be vastly simplified, but given my track record I stuck to the recipe. When the rice was cooked, a non-stick skillet was heated with vegetable oil. Half of the rice was flattened into the skillet and pressed into a large pancake. This was left to brown for a few minutes, and then it was turned to brown on the other side. My turning skills were lacking, but it didn’t matter in the end because the crusty rice was broken into pieces and topped with the remaining cooked rice. The prepped vegetables were arranged in wedges on top of the rice, and all was adorned with gochujang. To serve, the skillet’s contents were gently mixed and transferred to plates.

Crispy rice bits, well-seasoned sauteed squash and mushrooms, crunchy carrots, and sesame seeds were just some of the varied textures. And, the garlic and sesame with the chili sauce was a delicious blend of flavors. The gochujang was a little spicy but also somewhat sweet and vinegary, and I see now that it was worth the trip to the Korean market. It really is different from other chili sauces. Bibimbap is often served with a fried egg on top, but we had indulged in a large frittata for brunch earlier in the day so I skipped the egg. It may also be served with beef or chicken, but I stayed with the vegetarian approach of the recipe. I’m kind of proud to have successfully created a bibimbap and I’ll definitely be making it again.


35 comments:

  1. I love bibimbap! It's such a great summer meal. I like to add raw tuna on mines sometimes.

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  2. I always have this whenever I go to a Korean restaurant! Looks like a really simple dish but there so much prep to do. Yours looks really good!

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  3. I always thought it was bop not bap...I have never tried it but always wanted to.

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  4. At least you try to prepare Asian food and your success rate is 50%. I know next to nothing about Asian food. I need a mentor. Hehe. That dish looks good. I'd try it no questions asked :)

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  5. I am usually a quiet reader of this site, but the coincidence is so huge I had to say. Good job. I just attempted this dish last week. Mine bombed and did not make the blog. You encourage me to try your version. I Stumbled it and will now follow you on twitter. GREG

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  6. Well done. You did better than what I would have. I love this dish, too. Certain Asian dishes intimidate me sometimes, so I end up ordering rather than making it myself. Yours turned out really well.

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  7. Nice job with this one! It's a good meal to have at a nice Korean spot. Very filling and traditional.

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  8. Heavenly, just heavenly. That is a lot of work with all the separate cooking but you can see that it was worth it. I am totally craving it right now!

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  9. I have no idea about Korean food but I would surely like to try this.

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  10. I've never heard of that dish but this look mouthwatering. What a great meal. Worth the work.

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  11. I didn´t have used my wok .But the recipe sounds interesting and delicious, So, I put my work to work

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  12. Lisa, you are ALWAYS cooking! You're putting me to shame here... This meal looks wonderful -- I've been on an Asian food kick lately. Thanks for the link to the recipe. I am curious about the chili sauce you used -- your description makes it sound a lot like Lingham's, which is used in Chinese food. I wonder if they are different?

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  13. never made it never ate it but I want to now...

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  14. As usual, your food looks amazing. This is the dish I use to test a new Korean restaurant. Well, to be honest, this is the dish I always order at Korean restaurants! I had a great version here in Dublin at a place off Parnell at the top of O'Connell. It was served in a raging hot stone bowl that browned the rice beautifully and kept everything nice and toasty. I'll definitely try my hand at it with the NYT recipe, now!

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  15. Hi. It's my first time here on your site and I think your posts are great..

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  16. That looks worth all the time and effort-you must have scored very high with this!!
    I'm heading over now to check the recipe :)

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  17. I have never heard of this before, and I can't say it 10 times!
    Beautifully presented. I need to branch out more in ethnic food besides my usual Italian cuisine.

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  18. i love deconstructed dishes like this-it is beautiful. (and you are much more exotic than i am!).

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  19. I haven't yet explored Korean cuisine. This dish sounds delicious and looks great - very nice!

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  20. Never had bibimbap before, but it has been on my to-try list for quite awhile. Yours looks great!

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  21. my parents have this like every single day during the summer time. seriously, it's the easiest thing, and you don't need a recipe! "bibim" means mixed and "bap" means rice, so basically mix whatever you have on hand with the rice. what's also really good is with fresh salad greens, or torn toasted nori...and with barley instead of white rice...and also, fresh raw cucumbers! my parents make bibimbap whenever they just wanna clear up the fridge!

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  22. It's so colorful and healthy! And it looks delicious! I haven't tried making any Korean dishes yet. A Korean postdoc just joined our lab and I was hoping she could teach me a thing or two but she doesn't cook :( This looks like a great recipe to try first though!

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  23. Indeed, this looks super! it is very colourful & looks so tasty, Lisa!
    Great for lunch or dinner! healthy too!

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  24. Who says one-dish meal are easy to make? It needs patience to make a yummy meal!

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  25. i've never heard of this concoction, but i can tell you for a fact that i want to hear its name pronounced out loud, and i want to eat it. however, i'd prefer someone else prepare it for me--i'm lazy like that. :)

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  26. Oh, that looks so good! A beautiful dish!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  27. This is 120% success rate. Looks very authentic to me. I have to go to your provide link to check it out and try it too. I only have this in the Korean restaurant and my korean friend made me once but I have not made myself. Geogeous, bravo!!!! I love it!

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  28. The intimidation for me is in the sauces. But after purchasing 1 dozen Chao Su Baou this weekend I decided I need to over come my fear of preparing Asian cuisine too! I hope to have success like you have, your dish here looks delicious! :)

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  29. WOW!
    Lisa is doing some serious cooking here. My favorite, and I know how delicious this is.

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  30. I've been cooking more Asian dishes lately too, and this looks like one I would love to try. You did a great job on it, it looks delicious, and beautifully presentation!

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  31. These are very delicious......all kinds of seasonal vegetables in one plate. It's a real treat!

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  32. That does look like a lot of work, but it looks great! We're trying to more veggies so this will definitely go on my list of things I want to try. I don't do much asian cooking either, so it will be a nice change for my family.

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  33. Yum. I love Korean food but have never made it. I think I will try this asap.

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  34. I ate at a Korean restaurant once, but so many dishes in front of us, our Korean friends ordered so much food, and I had no idea what I was eating...this looks great, and I think I would remember that name, so now I am intrigued!

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  35. I adore bibimbap, especially the crusty bits at the bottom of the bowl. Funny that I've never attempted to make it at home. Maybe for me it's one of those things that tastes better when someone else makes it :D

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