Want something hearty and tasty? You absolutely need to try this super easy bibimbap (Korean mixed rice bowl)! It's easy to make and very flexible, in terms of the ingredient combinations you want to assemble your bibimbap with.
What is bibimbap?
Bibimbap is a classic Korean mixed rice bowl that is free for you to decide what "toppings" you want to add to your rice...like a Korean Chipotle bowl.
The most common toppings are kimchi, seasoned spinach and bean sprouts, sautéed carrots, meat of some sort, and a fried egg. But don't think that you are limited to these few "toppings! If bibimbap had a secondary name, it'd probably be known as the clean-out-the-fridge-meal for most Korean families. You would add all your leftover banchans (side dishes) and meat to your rice and top it off with an egg. I can see why Korean moms love this dish.
Just look at that perfect yolk!
Usually, bibimbap is made with white rice as the base, but you are free to choose what kind of rice you prefer. I like to use japgokbap, or Korean multigrain rice, because it's hearty, which is a nice contrast to the light vegetables and banchans in bibimbap.
Japgokbap, or Korean multigrain rice, is what we usually use for bibimbap.
Bibimbap Tips and FAQs:
What is blanching?
Blanching is a cooking process where you cook vegetables, fruits, or meat in boiling water for a short amount of time. Then, shocked in ice water, cooled under cold running water, or proceed with recipe instructions.
For this recipe, we are blanching the bean sprouts until just cooked to preserve its crispiness and blanching the spinach to wilt it while keeping it green.
Squeeze the blanched veggies.
After blanching, the spinach turns vibrant green! 💚(This is the picture of the spinach after I squeezed it.)
After blanching your veggies, it is crucial to squeeze out most of the excess water so that your veggies doesn't taste watery after seasoning. Plus, watery veggies like bean sprouts tend to release additional moisture after seasoning, so make sure to squeeze 'em! You don't want soup!
To remove excess water:
Hold a comfortable amount of veggies in your hands. Squeeze gently but with firm pressure.
Squeeze gently but with firm pressure. (Mung bean sprouts)
Mung bean sprouts vs. soy bean sprouts:
There are two of types bean sprouts you can commonly find in Asian supermarkets, mung bean sprouts and soy bean sprouts.
Personally, I prefer the mung bean sprouts because it's what I grew up eating. However in Korean cooking, both are commonly used. You would often see the mung bean sprouts made into side dishes and the soy bean sprouts used in soups. Both taste pretty much the same. The only difference I can discern is that the yellow part of the soybean sprout is crunchy in texture (think peanut crunch) while the entire mung bean sprout is one crispy texture.
How do I know if the bean sprouts are blanched long enough?
Bean sprouts are done when they turn kind of translucent and no longer taste like raw sprouts. However, they should still be crispy.
What is gochujang and where can I find it?
Gochujang is also known as Korean hot pepper paste that's quite spicy with a hint of sweetness. It's a very versatile condiment that can be used as a base for a sauce, for soups and stews, or as is...yeah like everything in Korean cooking.
In this recipe, it is the base for the bibimbap sauce.
You can usually find several brands at your local Asian supermarket. We don't have a brand that we recommend at the moment, but we are currently using this one:
What kind of meat should I use?
Honestly, this is all up to you. Ground beef is what we used because it's what we had on hand, but you are more than welcomed to sub it for cubed steak or other meats. You could even sub the meat for tofu if you are trying to make it vegetarian.
If you decide to use cubed meat, I recommend marinating the meat in the sauce that it'll be cooked in for a couple of hours or overnight for some extra flavor!
Cook with love!
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Easy Bibimbap (Korean Mixed Rice Bowl)
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 3 large eggs
- Green onion, sliced (optional for garnish)
- Sesame Seed, toasted (optional for garnish)
For the bean sprouts:
- ½ pound mung bean sprouts (about 2-3 cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
For the spinach:
- 10 ounces spinach
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ Tablespoon sesame oil
For the carrots
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded (or cut into match stick size)
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- For the sauce:Combine gochujang, honey, minced garlic, and sesame oil. Mix till thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- For the bean sprouts:Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until the bean sprouts turn translucent.Drain and rinse under cold water until no longer hot. Squeeze the bean sprouts gently with your hand to remove excess moisture.Toss with salt and sesame oil. Set aside.
- For the spinach:Blanch the spinach in boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minutes, or until the spinach just turn dark green.Drain and rinse under cold water until no longer hot. Squeeze the spinach gently with your hand to remove excess moisture.Toss with salt and sesame oil. Set aside.
- For the carrot:In a large sauté pan, add sesame oil, shredded carrots, and salt. Cook on medium heat until soften. Set aside.
- For the meat:Mix together soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, and sesame oil.Add ground meat to a large sauté pan. Cook the meat over medium high heat until most of the meat is browned. Drain fat as necessary. Add the the soy sauce mixture to the ground meat and simmer until the meat is cooked and the sauce thickens. Stir every so often.
- Fry eggs.Heat a small or medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add a little oil to the pan once the pan feels hot. Add eggs*. Cook the eggs until the whites turn opaque while the yolk is still jiggly. Remove from heat.*You can fry 1 egg at a time if you are more comfortable doing so*Optional: Season eggs with salt and pepper.
- Assemble.In a bowl, add a cup of cooked rice. Arrange the bean sprouts, spinach, carrot, and ground meat in sections around the rice. Add a fried egg on top of your arrangement. Top with bibimbap sauce to taste.Optional: Garnish with sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds.
- Enjoy!Stir and mix everything up and enjoy while it's hot!
- Bibimbap is super flexible in terms of the ingredient combinations.
- If you don't have a certain vegetable, you can substitute it for another.
- If you prefer using chunks of meat instead of ground meat, you can marinate the meat in the sauce for a couple of hours or overnight.