This is my first attempt at making bibimbap: a Korean rice dish with an incredibly catchy name. I mean, just try saying it out loud a few times: bi-bim-bap! Instant happiness guaranteed. It’s also pretty tasty. The basic concept is quite simple: put several sauteed vegetables, sliced meat and a raw or fried egg on top of a bowl of rice, stir everything together and eat it. I did things a little differently: I used tofu instead of meat, a soft-boiled egg instead of a raw or fried one, and I also added kimchi, because I still had a jar of it, because it’s Korean and because it’s one of my favourite things.
Some additional notes: I didn’t add the famous fermented Korean red pepper paste, simply because I couldn’t get hold of it in time and because I hoped the kimchi would make up for it. Traditionally, or so I’m told, bibimbap is often served in a hot ceramic bowl, but I didn’t have that either so my bibimbap was a bit on the cold side. We devised a solution for that though, so hopefully it will be nice and hot next time.
Ingredients (for 2):
200-250 g short-grain rice
2-3 spring onions, finely sliced
250 g Organic firm tofu
1/2 carrot, in match sticks
150 g spinach
150 g shiitake mushrooms
125 g bean sprouts
5 tbsp kimchi
3 cloves of garlic
2 dried chillies
2 soft-boiled eggs (5 minutes)
- Wash the rice,then bring it to the boil with the correct amount of water (250 g rice needs 350 ml water). When the water boils, turn down the heat, put on the lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to stand (preferably with a large tea cosy) covered for another 15 minutes.
- Slice the spring onions.
- Slice the carrot, add plenty of salt and set aside.
- Boil the eggs for 5 minutes, submerge in very cold water and put them in an oven glove to keep warm.
- Drain the tofu, dice into small cubes and fry them on high heat in a layer of sesame oil. Add a crumbled dried chilli. When the tofu cubes are golden brown on all sides, add soy sauce, allow the tofu to caramelise and add a crushed clove of garlic at the last minute.
- Sautée the shiitake mushrooms in sesame oil, add a crumbled chilli, soy sauce and sesame seeds.
- Briefly sautée the spinach in sesame oil until it begins to wilt, add salt sesame seeds and 2 cloves of garlic right at the end.
- Stir-fry the bean sprouts with sesame oil (yes it’s in everything!)
- Now you’ve got all your toppings together, it’s time to assemble everything, and this is the tricky bit. The best thing you can probably do (I will try this next time) if you don’t have a hot ceramic bowl is to heat a large wok on low to medium heat and add a little sesame oil.
- Fluff up the rice with a fork and add it to the wok. Add all your toppings, wait till the botttom layer of rice starts to crackle and then stir everything. Heat through for a bit and eat.
- If you don’t want to lose the probiotic qualities of the kimchi it shouldn’t be heated, but it will cool off your dish.
- Soft-boiled eggs are still very fragile so they have to be peeled very carefully. Add them on top or stir them through the rice.