BIBIMBAP (MIXED RICE)

INGREDIENTS

SERVES

4-6

500 ml short-grain rice
350 g soy bean sprouts, washed and drained
250g spinach
1 large carrot
1 large zucchini
250 g fresh shitake mushrooms
250 g lean beef mince
4 green onions, chopped
salt
vegetable oil
sesame oil
sesame seeds
crushed garlic
soy sauce
honey
250 ml egg pancake ribbons
Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)

METHOD

Bibimbap is mixed up before eating, but ingredients are prepared separately to bring out individual flavours, textures and colours. Typical of Korean cooking, everything comes together in the bowl and on the palate. It is essentially a bowl of mixed ingredients including: rice, namul (seasoned and sautéed vegetables), mushrooms, beef, soy sauce and gochujang (chili pepper paste)

Rice
Rinse 500 ml of uncooked rice in cold water and scrub the wet rice with your hands to remove excess starch. Rinse and drain until the drained water is pretty clear.
Put the rice in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add 500 ml of water, cover with a lid, and soak for 30 minutes.
Cook, uncovered, on medium to high heat for 7 to 8 minutes until the water comes to a rapid simmer and threatens to overflow the pot. Stir the rice well, pop the lid on, turn the heat to very low and simmer for another 10 minutes until the rice is fully cooked and fluffy. Remove from the heat.
Fluff the rice with a spoon to release excess steam. Let it stand, covered, to keep it warm.

Prepare toppings
Put the soybean sprouts in a pot and add a litre water and 20 ml salt. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over medium to high heat. Transfer the most of the sprouts to a bowl using tongs, but leave about a third of them in the pot with cooking water. This is the ‘soup’ to serve with bibimbap later. Add 2.5 ml salt, 5 ml crushed garlic, and 10 ml sesame oil to the sprouts in the bowl and mix in well by hand. Cover and set aside
Blanch the spinach quickly in boiling water. Squeeze out any excess water, roughly chop and place in a bowl. Add 5 ml crushed garlic, 5 ml sesame oil, 2.5 ml salt, and 5 ml sesame seeds and mix to combine. Cover and set aside
Roughly grate the carrot, put it in a bowl, and mix with a large pinch of salt. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until sweating.
Cut the zucchini into matchsticks and mix with 2,5 ml salt. Set aside to sweat. Slice and lightly salt the mushrooms and set them aside until needed. Place the beef mince in a bowl and use your hands to mix in 15 ml crushed garlic, 15 ml soy sauce, 15 ml honey, 10 ml sesame oil, and 5 ml sesame seed. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Cook:
Put the soup on the stove on a low temperature to reheat slowly while you quickly cook the other elements.
Squeeze any excess water from the carrot. In a pan over medium to high heat sauté the carrot for 1 minute in a few drops of cooking oil. Set aside with the soy bean sprouts and spinach. Wipe out the pan with paper towel.Heat up the pan again and, in a little cooking oil, sauté the zucchini with 2,5 ml minced garlic. You want the flesh to start becoming translucent before removing from the heat. Set aside. Clean the pan with paper towel. Flash fry the mushrooms in the hot pan until they wilt and cook. You want a chewy texture, so don’t overcook or brown. Wipe out the pan again. Cook the mince last so as not to flavour other elements. Fry, stirring vigorously until the meat goes beyond grey and starts to lightly brown.

Serve:
This dish is traditionally presented in a thick, warmed stoneware bowl for guests to help themselves. For home dinners, it is also nice to serve in individual pottery bowls, prettily arranged. Be sure to warm the bowls before plating the dishes.First reheat the soybean sprout ‘soup’. Divide the rice into four portions, about a cup of rice each. Now arrange the vegetables, egg pancake and beef in ‘quadrants’ on the rice. Pour a little steaming sprout soup (about 150 to 200 ml) over it all. Add a dollop of gochujang in the centre drizzle with a little sesame oil and scatter sesame seeds before serving with at least three banchan and some more hot pepper paste on the side.

This dish is eaten with a spoon. Mix it up to mingle the flavours and textures and tuck in.

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