Welcome to Week 242 (20/08/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday. My computer has been limping along for a while now, and, to add insult to injury, I spilled liquid on it last week. My numbers no longer work, so I am using an On-Screen Keyboard — Ugh. Anyway, enough of my computer woes. Hopefully things will be sorted out in the next week or so.
It’s been a while since I’ve shared any food with my readers, so let me introduce one of Korea’s signature dishes, Bibimbap; meaning “mixed rice”. The dish is a mixture of warm rice, gently cooked vegetables, gochuchang (red pepper paste), soy sauce, or doenjang (a salty soy bean paste). I have always enjoyed mine with red pepper paste.
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The dish is easily available anywhere in the country, but if you want to experience the best head to the historic town of Jeon-ju. I wrote about my Jeon-ju bibimbap experience way back in 2010.
This version contains not only veggies, but also bulgogi (beef) . Adding the egg on top changes the name of the dish slightly. Now, we call this dolsot Bibimbap. Yes, the egg is raw, but not for long. The rice and veggies are incredibly hot when they arrive at your table. The egg cooks completely as you mix your piping hot rice and veggies together, usually with a healthy dollop of gochuchang (optional for those who can’t handle spicy). There’s absolutely no reason to worry about undercooked egg; not going to happen.
Korean cooking is slowly evolving with an attempt to become more sophisticated. Many bibimbap restaurants now give their customers numerous choices. The last time I ate the dish I chose this delicious version, which featured mushrooms and bulgogi. The choice was not easy, with more than a dozen choices on offer. Notice, there is no egg.
If you aren’t in Korea or a city/town with a Korean restaurant, try making your own. I learned to make this in Korean cooking class, and although preparing the vegetables was time consuming, the finished dish was ‘clean your bowl’ delicious. This is a single portion recipe, so increase the amount of ingredients accordingly.
120g of rice; 50g of bean sprouts; 30g of zucchini; 1 egg; 10g lettuce; 10g of carrot, 30g of mushrooms; 200g beef; crushed garlic; sesame oil; gochuchang; salt; soy sauce
You can add whatever vegetables you like. It’s a great tasting, and affordable dish, when you use what’s in season. Super easy to make a vegetarian version.
WHAT TO DO
Cook the rice
Boil the bean sprouts (a quick blanch is enough)
Fry the egg and let cool; shred
Shred the beef and fry
Shred the zucchini, carrot, mushrooms, and lettuce
Season the bean sprouts and mushrooms with salt, sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce
Fry the zucchini and carrot with salt and sesame oil
Place the rice in a large one serving bowl, and top with the cooked ingredients
Add the desired amount of gochuchang, mixing until the rice and veggies are coated.
You may want to add a side dish of Korea’s famous Kimchi. Koreans eat this spicy fermented cabbage with every meal. Yes, even breakfast!
Have you ever tried Bibimbap or Kimchi (sometimes spelt Gimchi)? What did you think? Would you make this at home?
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