Monday, January 17, 2011

Korean rice

비빔밥

Bibimbop literally means "mixed rice" or "mixed meal" in Korean. It's a popular meal consisting of a bowl of steamed white rice topped with vegetables, beef, a whole egg, and kochujang (Korean chili pepper paste). If you know what you're really doing, then the Kochujang is normally served separately to control its spiciness of this rice dish, failure to do this will result in mouth fire as experiences of late will testify.

A variation of this dish, dolsot bibimbop ("dolsot" meaning "stone pot") is served in a heated stone bowl, in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl. Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil; consequently, the portion of the rice touching the bowl becomes golden brown and crispy.

Vegetables commonly used in bibimbop include cucumber, courgettes, carrot, white radish, mushrooms, bellflower root, and laver, as well as spinach, soybean sprouts, and bracken fern stems. Tofu, either plain or sauteed, may also be included in the dish. Within both types of bibimbops, all ingredients are typically stirred together thoroughly before eating.

This recipe is a mouthful in both senses, but honestly, properly cooked rice topped with anything from the Korean market will be a very close call towards a good thing indeed. If you feel inclined to make your own kimchi then there's another awesome addition, otherwise buy it in, just as good.

1/4 lb of chopped beef (ground beef is acceptable)
100g bellflower roots (doraji)
50g bean sprouts
1 lettuce leaf
3 shiitake mushrooms
1 sheet of vegetable jelly
1/3 carrot
1 cucumber
1 egg
3 cups sticky rice, steamed
4 tbsp kochujang
1 tblsp sugar
1 tblsp sesame seeds
sesame oil

Wash 3 cups of rice, soak for 30 minutes and drain. Put the rice in a heavy saucepan with a tight fitting lid and add 3 1/3 cups of water, then bring them to a boil. After 10-15 minutes boiling, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 5 minutes. Do not lift the lid while cooking.

Season beef and stir-fry lightly until cooked. Cut cucumbers, carrots and shitake mushrooms into match stick size and shred bellflower roots (doraji) and lettuce leaf. Squeeze out excess water and sprinkle them with salt (not including lettuce leaf).

Add 1 tsp of sesame oil to hot frying pan and stir-fry the cucumber quickly so the colour stays vivid. Spread them on a big plate to cool. Add more sesame oil, then stir-fry bellflower roots, carrots, and mushrooms consecutively.

Place cooked rice in a deep dish and add the prepared ingredients on top of the rice (*For hot stone dolsot bibimbop, heat the stone pot until hot enough to burn the fingers and coat 2 tsp of sesame oil. Place the rice sizzling right into the hot stone pot).
Fry an egg sunny-side-up in a frying pan and place it on top of the dish (*For hot stone dolsot bibimbop, place the raw egg on the side of the hot pot so it can slightly cook).

To make seasoned kochujang paste, combine 4 tablespoons of kochujang, 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of sesame seeds and 2 tsp of sesame oil.  Mix all ingredients well.

Add seasoned kochujang to taste and mixes it thoroughly with the rice and vegetables before beginning.


For homemade kimchi, have a look here