Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite food is, I say ‘anything my mom makes!’. I decided to stop being so selfish and start sharing some of her recipes with you. 🙂 I grew up on eating mostly traditional Korean dishes so I’m excited to let you into my culture and a special part of my life.
My mom and I are incredibly close. So much of our relationship growing up, was, and still is, based on food. Growing up, my mom would always cook my favorite dishes and would love to do so and now as an adult, I love to cook my favorite dishes with her (she won’t ever let me make anything just for her). Lots of memories in the kitchen 🙂
This is the first Korean dish that I will be sharing with you but there will be many more to come! Sharing my Korean culture is so important to me and I hope you enjoy. Also, I know that with Asian cooking sometimes the ingredients can be harder to find, so I will do my best to provide any substitutes that might work as good replacements or let you know where you can find specific items online!
Bibimbap (bee-beem-bahp) is literally translated as “mix together” (bee-beem) “cooked rice” (bahp). Korean food, for the most part, is known for Korean BBQ and kimchi but the flavor profile of many dishes are so much more robust. Mixing together all of the vegetables in this dish is super flavorful! There’s a version which includes adding a thinly marinated sliced beef called bulgogi but I chose to make this more plant-based.
My mom loves making bibimbap for the family because it’s simple (as long as you have the ingredients!) and it reminds her of her own childhood, when her brothers and sisters would share one big bowl of this dish and all just dig in together.
Now let’s get into it!
- 2 cups uncooked white rice (you will have leftover but it's easier to cook rice in a larger amount. You can also substitute with brown rice or quinoa)
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 medium size white onion (sliced)
- ⅔ cup zucchini (either shredded or cut into half moons)
- ⅔ cup soy bean sprouts (or bean sprouts)
- ⅔ cup carrots (shredded)
- ⅔ cup cucumber (cut into half moons)
- ⅔ cup dried bellflower root (thinly sliced; also called "doraji" in Korean*)
- ⅔ cup dried fernbrake (also called "gosari" in Korean* you may substitute for eggplant if you can't find this)
- 1 cup shiitake (sliced)
- 2 eggs (optional)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (crushed)
- 1 clove of garlic (minced)
- Hot sauce to taste
- Sesame oil
- Cooking oil (unflavored - I use grapeseed oil)
- 1 tsp Soy sauce
- *For any Korean specific ingredients, you may find this at any Asian supermarket or on Amazon!
- (Start this overnight) Prepare the dried fernbrake by boiling it in water for 30 minutes. Let cool down. Once it cools, rinse with water and soak overnight. This will allow for the flavor to loosen up a bit and not be as strong. When you don't soak it, the flavor can be bitter. The next day when you are preparing your meal, drain the water and remove all excess water. Over medium-high heat, cook the fernbrake in oil. Add in half of the minced garlic and add in soy sauce. Optionally, you can add a pinch of sugar to offset the saltiness from the soy sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it's cooked through.
- Soak dried bellflower root in cold water for two hours. Remove from water and sprinkle with salt. Squeeze out the excess water and then rinse with cold water. This removes the salt and leftover bitterness from this root. With that soaked bellflower root, you can now sautee this on the stove. Drizzle the pan with an unflavored cooking oil, add in half of your minced garlic. Cook through all together and leave a bit of al dente firmness to it.
- Next to cook the rice, I have a rice cooker but if you don't you can rinse rice in cold water, drain out the excess water and keep rinsing and draining until the water that the rice soaks in is a bit clear. The general rule for cooking white rice on a stove is to have a 1:1.5 ratio - one cup of rice to 1.5 cups of water. Let the rice soak in the water for 20-30 minutes. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the water is boiled through and the consistency is what you're looking for. Turn the rice over in the pot a few times to make it "fluffy" and remove from heat and let sit.
- With the washed soy bean sprouts, put these in a pot and add water with a pinch of salt. Cover the pot and boil on medium heat. Once the sprouts are boiling, turn off the heat and remove the sprouts from the water.
- Blanch the spinach on the stove, sprinkle with crushed sesame seeds, and mix in a pinch of sesame oil. Mix all of these together and let sit.
- Cook the carrots in unflavored oil, lightly salt. Remove from heat and let sit.
- Using the same pan, cook and salt the rest of the veggies individually. Use a wet paper towel to wipe down the pan between veggies, so that the flavors and colors don't combine just yet.
- Next up is plating. Start with the cooked rice in the center of a bowl and use ⅓ of each veggie for each serving. Try to even out the colors so that two green vegetables aren't next to each other, just for presentation purposes 🙂
- To taste and for additional flavor, you can add in your favorite hot sauce and then just mix up the whole bowl and enjoy!
Dried fernbrake and dried bellflower root may not be readily available to you but luckily online shopping exists! I’ve found links to each:
Let me know if you have any questions on this recipe! Enjoy!