Bibimbap is the ultimate Korean comfort food dish.
It’s fun to say (bi-bim-bap, stress on the first syllable) and pretty to look at, but more importantly it is crazy delicious. The word translates to “mixed rice” in Korean, and it’s usually a way to use up leftovers, which means that the ingredients will vary depending on your preference–and the current contents of your refrigerator.
It starts with a base of rice, and then gets loaded with toppings. It’s considered important to have at least five different colors–dark, red/orange, green, white, and yellow.
The concept of yin and yang is an important part of Korean culture (so I’ve read), and having the five colors that represent the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) create balance in your bowl, and in turn your body!
The yellow is usually represented by a big, bright, sunny egg yolk. In this case, I wanted maximum yolk power, so I hunted down some duck eggs.
I found them at the farmers market, still good and muddy (Eggs have a natural, protective covering called a bloom that seals the porous egg shell and prevents bacteria from getting inside. Commercial eggs in the US are washed and then coated with mineral oil. If your farmers market duck eggs are a little muddy, you know they still have their protective coating, and you should wash them just prior to cracking them open!)
The toppings in bibimbap will change, but you will almost never find it served without gochujang sauce. The sauce is made from a spicy red pepper paste, thinned out with a little sesame oil and rice vinegar.
Most of the prepared gochujang paste you find today has ingredients that I’m not a huge fan of–like corn syrup–so I decided to create a healthier version using some crushed Korean red pepper (leftover from this kimchi recipe), organic white miso paste, honey, and a few other ingredients.
You spoon a big dollop on your bowl, and once you’ve taken a picture while everything is still nice and pretty, you mix all the ingredients up together with the rice that sits underneath.
Feel free to switch up the toppings–the idea is to have a variety of flavors, textures, and colors so in every bite you get a little bit of everything–savory, sweet, fermented, crunchy, spicy….you get the idea.
As I was making this bowl I thought about how fun it would be to have a bibimbap dinner party! Everyone can build their bowl exactly how they like it… and then fall silent as they go to town on their own creation.
So here’s to colorful comfort food that satisfies all your taste and texture cravings, and balances your inner yin and yang!
If you make this tag me @ReclaimingYesterday and show me your beautiful, balanced creations!
- 2-3 cups cooked short grain rice
- 2 duck eggs
- 1-2 carrots, julienned
- 1 zucchini, julienned
- spinach or other greens
- sliced cabbage
- sliced scallions
- shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- beech mushrooms
- mung bean sprouts
- cucumbers, sliced
- 2 tbs crushed Korean red pepper
- 1-2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
- 1 tbs rice vinegar
- 1 tsp organic white miso
- 1 tsp arrowroot starch
- 2 tbs water
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp coconut aminos
- In a small dish, whisk arrowroot powder with water. Add to a small saucepan with remaining sauce ingredients. Warm sauce over medium heat, stirring until it just begins to thicken* (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer to a serving container.
- Cook rice per instructions and reserve.
- While rice cooks, prepare the bibimbap toppings. Heat a pan over medium heat and add sesame oil, zucchini, salt and pepper. saute for 1-2 minutes and transfer to a dish. Repeat with carrots, mushrooms, greens, and mung bean sprouts.
- Once all the vegetables are cooked, add more sesame oil to the pan and fry the duck eggs.
- Fill two bowls with rice and drizzle sesame oil. Place fried duck egg in the center and arrange toppings around the egg.
- Mix until your heart is content and devour!
*Be careful not to cook the sauce for too long, if overheated the arrowroot powder can start to break down. *You can quick pickle the cucumbers if you prefer while you prepare the other ingredients. Simply soak sliced cucumbers in a few tbs of rice vinegar and a pinch of salt.
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.