Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bibim bap

Bibim Bap, adapted from "Korean Cuisine" by Young Sook Choi

I was typing up this recipe for a friend - she's making it for our sons' playgroup this week, to celebrate New Year - so I thought I would post it here, too. There are a lot of recipes out there for bibim bap, and they're all good! This one's adapted from "Korean Cuisine," by Young Sook Choi. It's my first Korean cookbook and the one I still use all the time.

This recipe is not as intimidating as it seems - most of the steps are accomplished quickly. I like to chop up a lot of garlic (~1/3 cup) and put it in a bowl, then scoop some out as I prepare each side dish. Any garlic that's left after everything else is assembled gets cooked along with the beef.

The hot sauce can be made well in advance (like a week) and the spinach, daikon, and bean sprout salads can be prepared several hours ahead of serving time. Cook the rice while you prepare the garnishes, then cook the mushrooms, beef, and eggs.

To assemble the bibim bap: put some hot rice in a large soup bowl and place a fried egg in the middle. Arrange the side dishes in little piles around the egg. You can put all the components together in each serving bowl, or present bowls of hot rice topped with an egg and let each diner add the side dishes and garnishes to their own preferences. Leftovers are good the next day, and even the day after.

The seaweed garnish is optional. You really only need to add two ingredients to your pantry to make this: sesame oil and Korean chili paste. (Yes, some of the side dish recipes call for Korean chili powder as well, but you can skip it if or use another chili powder for these dishes). Korean chili paste is so delicious that you may find your self sneaking it onto other things. We love it in breakfast burritos. So no excuses! Go make some bibim bap!

1. Hot sauce (bibim bap sauce)
1/2 cup of hot pepper paste (gochu jang)
1 1/2 tablespoons cola or water (I use water)
1 tablespoon beef stock (or additional water)
1/2 tablespoon red wine
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic clove

Mix everything evenly into a paste.

2. Shredded lettuce (use ~1/2 cup per serving of bibim bap)

3. Shredded cucumber (~1/4 cup per serving)

4. Shredded seaweed (cut sheets of nori or roasted seaweed with scissors into fine shreds)

5. Spicy daikon salad (1/4 cup per serving)
2/3 pound (total) of shredded daikon radish and carrot
1 teaspoon salt (I use much less)
4 teaspoons sugar (I use ~3 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper powder

Mix everything together in a bowl.

6. Bean sprout salad (use 1/4 cup per serving)
2/3 lbs mung bean sprouts (I prefer regular bean sprouts)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic clove

Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch the sprouts (a few minutes in the boiling water, until they get a little limp). Drain the sprouts and rinse them, squeezing out the excess water. Put them in a bowl and add the salt, sesame oil, and garlic.

7. Spinach salad (use 1/3 cup per serving of bibim bap)
2/3 lb spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic clove
pinch of sugar
pinch of toasted sesame seeds

Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch the spinach (until it wilts). I sometime just steam the spinach, or cook it in a pot with very little water, stirring often, until it wilts. Drain the spinach and squeeze out the excess water. Chop the spinach coarsley (if the leaves were large), put it in a bowl and add the salt, sesame oil, and garlic.

8. Mushrooms (2 mushrooms per serving, though I love mushrooms and use more)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 shiitake mushrooms, shredded (or sliced)
pinch of salt

Heat sesame oil in a frying pan and add mushrooms and salt. Stir-fry over high heat until cooked. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

9. Beef (~1/3 cup per serving)
1 pound shredded beef (or ground beef)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
pepper and minced garlic, as desired

Mix seasonings with beef. Re-heat the frying pan and cook the beef mixture until the color changes and beef is cooked. Transfer the beef to another bowl (or put it next to the mushrooms, in the same bowl).

10. Eggs (1 egg per serving)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 eggs

Heat the oil in the frying pan and then fry the eggs to your liking (I like over easy).

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