There is only one Korean restaurant in our neighborhood. It's okay, not great, and they charge $13 for bibimbap. $13! For a bowl of rice and veggies and a fried egg. Some of my Korean friends have told me that ordering bibimbap at a restaurant is silly anyway, because it's such a homestyle dish. I guess it's like going to a restaurant known for great seafood and ordering a boring roast chicken.
So I figured now is as good a time as any to make some homemade bibimbap, when there are lots of good veggies to choose from. Of course, the types of veggies in this dish vary from place to place and home to home, but I went fairly traditional and stuck to carrots, zucchini, spinach, napa cabbage, mung bean sprouts, and shiitake mushrooms. I went through the trouble of prepping each ingredient separately so as to get that classic picture of every vegetable in its own little quadrant, but being as how you just mix it all up before you eat, it seems fairly unnecessary if you have no one to impress. Recipe after the jump:
4 cups cooked short grain Asian rice
1 medium zucchini, julienned
2 medium carrots, julienned
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 lb baby spinach
2 cups napa cabbage, chopped into thin strips
4 large shiitake mushroom, sliced thinly (if dried, rehydrate with hot water. If fresh saute for a couple minutes with a touch of sesame oil)
4 teaspoons dark toasted sesame oil, divided
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
4 eggs, fried sunny side up
salt, to taste
1/4 cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), or to taste, served on the side
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Blanch the carrots for one minute and remove with a strainer. Do the same with the zucchini, then the mung bean sprouts. Set all aside while you prep the rest of the vegetables.
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tsps of the sesame oil over medium heat. Be careful not to overheat or it will smoke. Add the spinach leaves, a pinch of salt, and saute until wilted. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and set aside. Do the same with the napa cabbage, which will probably take a minute or two longer than the spinach. If you are working with fresh shiitakes, also saute them for a minute or two in the oil.
In a large bowl, fill the bottom with rice, then top with the vegetables, keeping each in their own section if you desire. Top with a fried egg and serve with gochujang on the side and a big spoon.