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Have you tried Korean food before?  It is a little similar to Japanese food, but Koreans like their red pepper paste in almost everything and they must have their kimchi!

Well, I travelled to Korea last year and I fell in love with some of the dishes I had there.  In order to satisfy my cravings, I am trying to re-create some of these myself.

I found a simple recipe for Korean bibimbap and improvised it a little for home-cooking.  Bibimbap is a traditional Korean mixed rice dish where different ingredients are topped on steamed rice, and mixed well with gochujang (red pepper paste) before eating.  It is not only delicious, but it is also healthy and easy to cook from your own kitchen as well.

Ingredients (Serves 3 adults):

  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil (for stir-frying of ingredients)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil (for frying eggs)
  • 200 g minced beef, thawed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 small carrots, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 5 fresh shitake mushrooms, trimmed of caps and sliced
  • 150 g of bean sprouts, with tails trimmed
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups of steamed rice
  • 3 teaspoons of Korean gochujang (red pepper paste)
  • Water for blanching the bean sprouts and spinach

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1:  Marinate the minced beef with soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil.  Add a dash of salt.  Blend well and leave it aside.

Step 2:  While waiting for the beef to marinate, heat up 2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan or wok and fry the eggs, sunny-side up.  Preferably with the egg yolk still slightly runny.

Step 3:  Heat some water in a saucepan.  When it is boiling, put in the bean sprouts.  Take them out with a strainer when they are cooked.  Add a drop of oil and a pinch of salt in the water.  Put in the spinach next. Drain both cooked vegetables of excess water and set them aside.

Step 4:  Heat up 1 tbsp of cooking oil.  Stir-fry the carrot strips until tender.  Remove from heat and place it in a a bowl.  Next, put in half of the minced garlic, let it brown and put in the shitake mushrooms.  Add a dash of salt.  Stir-fry till they are cooked.  Remove them from heat too and set aside in another bowl.

Now most of the ingredients are ready.  Look at the colours!

Step 5:  Heat up the remaining cooking oil.  Add in the rest of the minced garlic.  When it is starting to brown, put in the marinated minced beef and stir-fry till tender.

Step 6:  Fill a serving bowl with one cup of steamed rice and place one fried egg in the center.  Place equal amounts of the cooked spinach, bean sprouts, carrot, mushroom, and minced beef around the egg.  Top with a teaspoon of gochujang paste (or more if you like it spicier!)

Step 7:  Repeat Step 6 for each individual serving.  Remember to mix all the ingredients together before eating.

Doesn’t this look easy?  The crucial ingredient is the gochujang though.  But I think you should be able to find them at Asian supermarkets.  By the way, this is how it usually looks.  I got a 200 g tub which should last me quite a while.

Bibimbap makes a fulfilling lunch box meal as it can be packed easily in a food thermos container.  As I had three individual containers, I put the vegetables in one and the egg and beef in the other.  The last one is of course for the steamed rice.

See how I packed Hubby’s dinner box for that night as he had dinner later than us?  How does it look?

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

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