Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Recipes: Korean Vegetarian Bibimbap

I think that Korean food has been having a moment for the past three years, so I'm sure this post will be interesting for readers looking to make their own version of this super healthy dish. It's incredibly easy to make once all the different components are assembled, and the best part is, you can make the different components in bulk and re-use for many more meals after.

The veggies I used are what I found in the grocery stores as seasonal products, but you can also substitute whatever is local to your area. If you live in Korea or have a Koreatown available nearby, this recipe becomes even simpler because you can get the sides pre-made from E-Mart or any large grocery stores (just print and take the Korean ingredient names to anyone working there). You can make it with all fresh ingredients or have seasoned side dishes/banchan (반찬) that will keep longer in the refrigerator.

1 cup seasoned yellow bean sprouts (콩나물)
1 cup chwinamul (취나물) AKA seasoned amaranthus
1 cup cooked barley rice (보리밥) (you can use regular white, purple sticky, whole grain, long grain rice)
1 handful of lettuce (I used spicy lettuce/매운갓 indigenous to Korea)
1 cucumber
2 tablespoons of red pepper paste (고추장)
5 hot green peppers (청양고추)
2 eggs

Wash and chop the lettuce into half to make easier for slivering.

Sliver into long, thin strips.

Wash and peel the cucumber skin off (you can keep on if you'd like). 

Julienne the cucumber into matchstick pieces. 

Wash and line up the hot green peppers in a row for easy slicing.

I like my bibimbap ultra spicy so I use all five, but for those of you with sensitive taste buds, you should minimize that amount. The seeds of the hot pepper are generally what makes your eyes water, so you can de-seed for less spiciness as well.

I like two eggs because I usually use only the egg whites, but the yolk running down and binding the vegetables together is absolutely delicious. 

Pan-fry the egg, trying to keep the yolk intact for breakage after assembly.

Flip gently! I used a spoon to flip so I can also cut out the yolk if I wanted to eat it egg-white only.

Assemble the vegetables and rice and top with the fried eggs. Try to assemble the dish before you pan-fry the eggs so that the eggs will still be hot.

It's super colorful.

Add tablespoons of red pepper paste to taste. It could up the spiciness levels so add accordingly!

I basically live on this dish in seasonal spurts. It has my alphabet of all the vitamins I need (A, B complex, C, D, E) and my high-fiber, high protein whole grain for digestion without compromising a rich, full taste that I need in order to feel like I'm not dieting. It's a snap to whip up and I can easily substitute in other ingredients to experiment and change up the flavor when I get bored with the same old vegetables! Try substitutions of purple sticky rice, jasmine rice, cooked or raw squash, bell peppers, spinach... you can really run the gamut here and go wild. It is vegetarian but you can include sautéed meat and onions for an entirely different take on this dish.

I hope you find it easier to make this Korean dish. Do you like these sorts of recipes?

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