Bibimbap or Korean Rice Bowl

One of Korea’s most popular dishes, bibimbap is a rice bowl topped with various ingredients.

Traditional bibimbap is often made in a heated stone bowl called a dolsot, so the rice arrives at the table sizzling with a crunchy base.

A well-soaked clay pot, flame-proof casserole dish or even a well-seasoned cast-iron pan can be used instead of a dolsot. Bibimbap is just as delicious without the crisped base, with the ingredients simply assembled on top of the rice in a serving bowl that’s been heated with boiling water.

I’ll explain both methods below as well as what you can prepare ahead of time if you’re using bibimbap for entertaining. All the ingredients you’ll need are available from an Asian grocer.

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 400g short-grain rice (such as sushi rice)
  • 1 sheet nori
  • 50g bean sprouts, tailed
  • Sesame oil, for tossing and pan-frying
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt flakes, to taste
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 170g beef fillet, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, very thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 eggs
  • Kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage), for serving
  • Gochujung (Korean chilli paste), for serving

Method

This can all be done ahead of time or while rice is steaming. If you refrigerate ingredients, return them to room temperature before serving (or microwave briefly – except for nori).

  1. Toast nori over an open flame for a second or so to crisp it up (if you don’t have a gas cooktop this isn’t essential). Use scissors to cut it into thin strips; set aside.
  2. Place bean sprouts in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and set aside for two minutes. Drain well, toss with ½ teaspoon of sesame oil, a quarter of the garlic and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  3. Heat a teaspoon of sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add spinach, another quarter of the garlic and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 2 minutes or so, stirring often, until wilted. Set aside.
  4. Add another teaspoon of sesame oil to the pan with another quarter of the garlic, the carrot and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Set aside.
  5. Add another teaspoon of sesame oil to the pan and increase heat to high. Add remaining garlic and beef and toss for 30 seconds or so, until just coloured. Transfer to a bowl, toss with soy sauce and set aside.

To serve

  1. If making the crisp base, preheat oven to 220°C and place 2 small dolsots or well-soaked clay pots into it for 10–15 minutes. 
  2. Wash rice well in cold water, drain well then steam it.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to a frying pan. Break in the eggs, reduce heat to low, cover, and set aside until whites are just set and yolk is still runny.
  4. Add about a tablespoon of sesame oil to each dolsot/clay pot or heated serving bowl and brush it around to cover the base and sides well.
  5. Add the rice, pressing it down well into the pot or serving bowl.
  6. Place an egg in the centre of each one.
  7. Arrange sprouts, spinach, carrot, beef, green onion and nori in individual segments around the yolks, covering all of the rice and egg white.
  8. If making the crisp base, place pot on the stovetop over low heat for about 7 minutes then place on a heatproof trivet.
  9. Serve with kimchi and gochujung on the side for diners to add as much or as little as they like and toss through the rice with the other ingredients before eating.

You’ll find a print-friendly version of this recipe here as well as a step-by-step video of making a quick kimchi to accompany it.

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Also try: Duck a l’Orange

Roberta Muir
Roberta Muirhttps://beinspired.au/
Roberta Muir loves making it easy for home cooks to explore new cuisines and ingredients and sharing her passion for cooking, eating, drinking and travelling. She’s a recipe writer, cooking teacher, and author of four cookbooks including the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook. Find more of her inspiration at BeInspired.au
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