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Bibimbap

April 5, 2011

We don’t make it out to Korean restaurants very often, but when we do, one of my favorite dishes to order is dolsot bibimbap. It’s served in a very hot stone bowl and consists of rice topped with various vegetables, kimchee, sliced beef, and a raw egg. Everything is stirred together right before eating, and the egg cooks as it comes in contact with the bowl. The hot bowl also browns and crisps the rice along the bottom and sides.

Without the special serving equipment, it would seem difficult to make this dish at home, but America’s Test Kitchen figured out a way to mimic the effects of the stoneware without having to go buy any specialized dishes! (This recipe is from their Cooking for Two 2009 cookbook.) Instead of cooking the rice in a saucepan, it is cooked in a shallow layer in a skillet, with extra cooking time uncovered to allow it to crisp on the bottom. The rice gets transferred to regular serving bowls which are kept in the oven at a low temperature while the rest of the ingredients are prepared. Instead of topping with a raw egg, the eggs are fried until just the whites are set, which leaves the yolks cooked but still runny enough to stir into the rest of the toppings and the rice. A healthy and complete meal, all in one bowl!

Bibimbap

Serves 2

Ingredients

Pickled vegetables:

  • 1/2  cup bean sprouts
  • 1  carrot, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1/2  cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2  cup seasoned rice vinegar

Rice, beef, spinach, and eggs:

  • 1  cup short-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1  cup water
  • 4  ounces blade steak, trimmed and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices (it’s easier to slice if you place it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes first)
  • 1  tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4  teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4  ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 5  ounces baby spinach (about 5 cups)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2  large eggs, cracked into 2 small bowls
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Directions

  1. For the pickled vegetables: Toss the sprouts, carrot, cucumber, and vinegar together in a medium bowl. Press lightly on the vegetables to submerge in the vinegar as much as possible, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Drain the vegetable, discarding the vinegar, and set aside.
  2. For the rice, beef, spinach, and eggs: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, place two individual serving bowls on the rack, and heat the oven to 200 degrees F. Bring the rice and water to a boil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and let sit, covered, until tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Return the skillet of rice to medium-high heat and cook, uncovered, until the rice forms a brown crust on the bottom, 7 to 9 minutes. Divide the rice between the bowls in the oven and cover with foil. Wipe out the skillet with a wad of paper towels.
  4. Toss the beef and soy sauce together in a medium bowl. Heat 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the beef, with any accumulated juice, and mushroom and cook until the beef is cooked through and the mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes. Divide the mixture between the bowls in the oven.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon more vegetable oil and garlic to the skillet and return to medium high heat until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the spinach and cook, tossing constantly, until wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and divide between the bowls in the oven.
  6. Wipe out the skillet with a wad of paper towels. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to the skillet, and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Slide the eggs into the skillet from opposite sides of the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Uncover the eggs and remove the skillet from the heat. Remove the bowls of rice from the oven, and slide one egg on top of each bowl. Drizzle with the sesame oil, add the pickled vegetables, and serve immediately.

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