Bibimbap is a rice based dish served with an array of meat and vegetables, which is quick, healthy and has an interesting chilli heat.
Our cupboards are already bursting with chilli flavours from around the world. Aside from regular chilli powder beloved of the Indian subcontinent, we love the smokiness of Mexican chillies, the sweet heat of Piment d’Esplettes from the Basque region, Smoky and sweet paprika from Spain and Hungary, Thai sweet chilli sauce and spicy hot Jalapenos in a cheesy quesadilla. Heck Wasabi is yet another spicy heat, even if it is horseradish derived rather than a chilli.
However we have been rather taken with the flavour of Gochujang – a fermented chilli and beancurd paste that is a common theme in many Korean recipes. Coming back to the Korean store then. After a lot of peering at labels to work out what things were and some asking for advice from the friendly staff, I came away with some Gochujang and Bibimbap sauce and a bottle of Sriracha – the latter not Korean actually but a garlic chilli hot sauce that perks up all manner of food from cheese on toast to baked beans or grilled chicken.
We got some super inspiration for our Bibimbap supper from this post at Bon Appetit and this post at Crazy Korean Cooking and cooked up our rice with ‘fixings and some Gochujang. It isn’t as pretty as some versions you will see (I made it after a mad dash home from work and next time a more varied colour palette of vegetables might be nice).
The bulgogi beef is utterly incredible. Garlic, spring onion and soy with some honey in the marinade infuse a salty and mildly sweet flavour. A touch of chilli flakes (of course) but the killer ingredient is some finely chopped kiwi fruit. The enzymes in the fruit help tenderize the meat. Traditionally you would cook this on the barbecue or on a hotplate. It being England and August, it was raining heavily. So we cooked it up in a frying pan quickly and the meat was meltingly soft. Aside from topping a Bibimbap dish, this beef is something I would love to serve up in soft buns with some kimchi (fermented cabbage) and chopped salad. Or in a Korean style Taco salad. Or just to eat on it’s own. Mmmmm.
Ok so here are some adaptations you might want – our #Franglaisrecipehacks
- the choice of vegetable toppings is wide and varied. Carrots in a chilli marinade, some seaweed, beansprouts, garlicky spinach.
- You could add a fried egg on top instead of sliced meat
- You want a mixture of colour, texture and taste. Try to place similar colours away from each other and contrasting colours together.
- To get thinly sliced meat, you can freeze it overnight as it will help you get even slices and then marinade in the fridge for a few hours
- For the Beef Bulgogi
- 250g beef steak (A cut that is not too fatty. Sirloin or rump steak is fine, though we used fillet).
- 80ml (1/3 cup) Soy Sauce
- 60ml (1/4 cup) Honey
- 80ml (1/3 cup) Water
- Half a medium onion chopped finely
- 1 spring onion chopped finely
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely or pureed
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon mirin (or rice wine)
- 1 pinch of black pepper
- 1 pinch of red chilli flakes
- 1 small kiwi fruit peeled and crushed or chopped finely
- For the Bibimbap
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup Shitake mushrooms
- half teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Half teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 courgette (zucchini) sliced into ribbons as thin as you can
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed
- Chopped cucumbers
- Gojuchang or Bibimbap Sauce
- Freeze the beef steak overnight till it is solid.
- Next morning, make up marinade by mixing together the remaining ingredients.
- Take beef out from freezer, remove from packaging then with a sharp knife and steady hand cut into thin slice (as thin as you can, we did about 3mm).
- Pour the marinade over the beef. Cover and refridgerate for at least 4 hours.
- Heat a barbecue or a frying pan and carefully lift the slices from the marinade, allowing excess liquid to drip off then place on heat and cook till the meat is cooked both sides (it will cook quicky).
- Cook the rice and then place in a large serving dish when the vegetables below are cooked (traditionally a stone bowl is used)
- Chop the mushrooms in half, saute with a touch of oil spray, some soy and fish sauce.
- Saute the courgette and as you take it off the heat mix through some srirach and sesame seed
- We had chopped cucumbers as a cold addition.
- Serve the dish by piling the rice in its serving bowl, and laying the toppings around it with some gochujang or bibimbap sauce on hand to spice up the dish.
Some more Korean food love
This KFC *Korean* fried chicken by Laura (and a lovely introduction to Korean food)