Korean food is going to make it big this year, I can just feel it. What’s not to love about the use of a variety of fresh, seasoned ingredients, combined with the spice and heat of red pepper? Korean food is hands down my favorite cuisine and bibimbap is on the list of favorite foods. I love eating it in restaurants because of the stone pot they use, which makes the rice nice and crispy. However, sometimes when I have the day off, I’ll make bibimbap at home. It can be a little time-consuming because each ingredient has to be sliced, diced or julienned, seasoned and individually cooked. But the end result is well worth the effort and much more economical. These ingredients probably cost me around $10 and made six generous portions. People, we’re looking at over $60 worth of restaurant-style bibimbap, considering tax and tip, made at home for $10. Now that’s a deal.
I usually use a different marinade for the beef, but this time, I decided to try a marinade recipe from New York chef Ji Cha. It ended up turning out pretty well, imparting just the right balance of flavors to the meat without being overly salty. For extra flavor, I like adding some spicy sauce that I typically use for bibimgooksoo. I’m sure it has an official name, but I can’t think of it right now. Its similar to the sauce provided at the tables in Korean restaurants, but I make mine a tad more spicy because that’s how I like it. I arranged everything all pretty in the bowl for picture taking purposes, but ended up dumping everything back into the frying pan, along with the sauce. I stir-fried it all together to thoroughly combine everything and make the rice crispy. Yum!
Little Bear’s Bibimbap
1 lb. lean sirloin steak, cut into thin bite-size strips
3 c. rice, cooked
3 medium carrots, julienned into matchsticks
1 large zucchini, julienned into matchsticks
1/2 bunch spinach, washed
Coarse ground black pepper
2 heaping T bibimgooksoo sauce (recipe after the picture below)
1 package of seasoned nori, cut into thin strips
Seasoned bean sprouts and chopped kimchi (bought from the Korean market)
1 t. sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish
Marinade for the beef, from Chef Ji Cha
4 T. light soy sauce
2 T. rice wine
2 T. brown sugar
3 green onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. sesame seeds, toasted
2 T. sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T. Korean red pepper paste (AKA gochuchang)
In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the beef marinade. Add the sirloin strips, mixing to ensure the marinade is well distributed. Cover with saran wrap and let sit in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water and set on stove to medium-high. When the water boils, add the spinach. Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds, then using a slotted spoon, remove from the pot. Transfer the spinach to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Thoroughly squeeze out excess water and set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 T vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Add the carrots, salt and pepper generously, and briskly stir-fry approximately 5 minutes or until carrots are tender. Remove from pan and set aside. Using the same pan, add the zucchini, a dash of salt and pepper, and briskly stir-fry until tender, approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Still using the same pan, add the beef, along with the marinade, to the pan. Cook approximately 7-10 minutes, or until beef is cooked through.
Meanwhile, in another nonstick skillet, heat 4 T vegetable oil. When oil is sizzling hot, gently break one egg into the pan and fry, sunny-side up, until yolk is just set. Repeat with the other eggs.
Once all the individual components have been cooked, you are ready to put it all together. In a bowl, add a couple scoops of cooked rice. Arrange zucchini, carrots, spinach, kimchi, bean sprouts and beef on top of rice. Top this with the fried egg. Garnish with sesame seeds and seasoned nori strips. Add bibimgooksoo sauce for extra flavor and kick. Mix well and eat!
4 T. Korean red pepper paste (gochuchang)
2 T. light soy sauce
2 T. sesame oil
2 t. sugar
1 t. rice wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients into a glass jar or bowl, mix well. Leftover sauce should be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.