November 18, 2014


After eating my first bibimbap in Cambridge, Massachussets a few years ago,  I regretted that so much of my life had been bibimbap-less. Bibimbap is a Korean dish consisting of rice, assorted vegetables and a protein. It's typically served in a scalding hot stone bowl which cooks the bottom of the rice into golden brown crispiness. The bowl is usually topped with a raw egg that cooks when you push it against the hot stone. It's all eaten with gochujang paste or a gochujang-based sauce. Gochujang paste is a fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt.

Below, you'll find my very easy (and probably very non-traditional) home version of bibimbap. I skipped the hot stone bowl, used a fried egg and topped it off with sauce made with gochujang paste by Mother In Law's Kimchi which you can purchase through their website here. I recommend that you use a julienne peeler because it will reduce your prep time significantly.

The fun of bibimbap is that it's very customizable. You can opt for just chicken as your protein, or just a fried egg, or skip both in favor of some pan-fried tofu. The gochujang paste is very spicy, so feel free to add more vinegar to tame that flame. If you can't find pickled daikon, you can use pickled cabbage, kimchi, pickled radish or pickled green beans. Make sure to eat your bibimbap with chopsticks, because it’s way more fun than using a fork.


Makes 2 servings
Total Prep/Cook Time: 1 hour (with a julienne peeler)

2 tablespoons gochujang paste
1-2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, to taste
1 cup sushi rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 chicken breast, sliced
Coarse salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Vegetable oil
1 cup julienned carrots
1 cup julienned zucchini
1 cup thinly sliced shitake mushroom caps
1 cup bean sprouts
2 cups spinach
2 eggs (optional)
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly
1/3 cup julienned pickled daikon

1. Mix the gochujang paste with the vinegar until smooth and set aside.

2. Add the rice and water to a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce to very low heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, salt and pepper the chicken and heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Sear chicken on both sides until fully cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan, set aside and wipe out the pan.

4. Return the pan to the burner over medium heat and heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Once hot, add the carrots and a pinch of salt, tossing until just tender. Transfer carrots to a large plate.

5. Add the zucchini to the pan and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook for 30 seconds and then transfer the zucchini to the plate.

6. Heat another teaspoon of oil in the pan and add the mushrooms along with a pinch of salt and cook for a couple of minutes, tossing occasionally until reduced in size and tender. Transfer the mushrooms to the plate.

7. Add the sprouts to the pan and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 30 seconds and transfer the sprouts to the plate.

8. Heat another teaspoon of oil and add the spinach and a pinch of salt. Cook until just wilted, a few seconds, and transfer the spinach to the plate.

9. If you want your bibimbap with an egg, add a tablespoon of oil to the pan, crack each egg into the pan, keeping them separated, and cook to desired doneness (I like a runny yolk). Carefully set the eggs aside on a plate. Scrape any egg bits off the pan and discard them.

10. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the saute pan and once hot, add the cooked rice, patting it down with a spatula to look like a pancake. Once the bottom of the rice turns a very light golden brown color and is slightly crispy, divide it between two bowls.

11. Top each rice bowl with individual mounds of chicken, carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, bean sprouts, spinach and daikon. Top each bowl with an egg and a sprinkle of scallions.

12. Serve immediately with the gochujang sauce on the side. 

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