Episode 300: Bibimbap
About This Episode
We've finally made it to 300 episodes, so are celebrating with Bibimbap and then maybe some brown diamonds. We sing about rice and the Facts of Life (again) while learning about hot stone bowls and experiments in patience.
From Hungry Monkey, Matthew Amster-Burton, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2009
Time: 90 minutes, plus at least 2 hours marinating time
Other popular toppings include carrots, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms and daikon, but try the simple version below first. And by all means try a vegetarian version, with tofu or without. The beef will be easier to slice if you freeze it for 30 to 60 minutes first. If you have access to a Japanese or Korean grocery, you'll find good-quality pre-sliced beef labeled for sukiyaki or bulgogi---a real timesaver. My favorite bowls for serving bibimbap (and many other rice and noodle dishes) are Crate and Barrel's inexpensive Bistro Bowls.
For the bulgogi marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated Asian pear or Granny Smith apple
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 pound beef flank steak, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into very thin slices
8 ounces bean sprouts
6 cups hot cooked medium-grain (Calrose) rice (from about 2 cups uncooked rice)
8 ounces napa cabbage kimchi (see note)
peanut or vegetable oil
gochujang (Korean hot sauce), thinned to pourable texture with rice wine vinegar or water (see note)
Combine the soy sauce, sugar, pear, scallions, garlic, sesame seeds, oil and pepper in a bowl. Add the meat and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Put the meat and the marinade in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook just until no trace of pink remains in the meat. Set aside.
Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling salted water for 2 minutes.
Fry the eggs in a bit of peanut oil a large skillet. (A runny yolk is best here, because the heat of the rice will cook it.)
Place 1-1/2 cups of rice in each bowl. Top each bowl with one quarter of the beef, bean sprouts and kimchi---arranging them reasonably artfully around the edge of the bowl---and place a fried egg in the middle.
Serve immediately. Each diner should add gochujang to taste and stir everything together, including the egg. Eat with a spoon.
Gochujang is sold in Korean and other Asian groceries, and now often Western supermarkets as well, generally in a red plastic box. Kimchi is sold in jars in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, usually near the produce with the Asian noodles and tofu. The kind I call for is the most common variety and needs no prep before serving other than slicing it and putting it atop the bibimbap.