This staple Korean rice dish can be made with meat or seafood and served hot, but we love this fresh-tasting cold, vegetarian version. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2011 BBQ issue along with Beth Kracklauer's story Seoul Food. For step-by-step photo instructions for making bibimbap, see our photo gallery.
Enlarge Image Credit: Todd Coleman
FOR THE SAUCE:
¾ cup gochujang (Korean spicy soybean paste; see page 132)
6 tbsp. lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite
3 tbsp. doenjang (Korean soybean paste; see page 132) or miso
2 tbsp. corn syrup
2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. minced ginger
1 tbsp. brown rice vinegar
1 ½ tsp. sesame seeds
FOR THE BIBIMBAP:
4 oz. mung bean sprouts
8 oz. baby spinach
12 dried shiitake mushrooms
6 tbsp. canola oil
3 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. minced garlic
2½ tsp. minced ginger Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
6 oz. gosari (called bracken fern), cut into 3″ pieces (optional; see page 132)
2 small Korean squash or zucchini, halved and cut crosswise into ¼″-thick slices
2 medium carrots, julienned
¼ small daikon radish, julienned
¾ tsp. sesame seeds
8 oz. firm tofu, cut into ½″-thick slabs
4 cups cooked white sushi rice
4 sunny-side-up eggs
2 leaves chicory, thinly sliced
2 leaves green-leaf lettuce, thinly sliced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1. Make the sauce: In a bowl, whisk gochujang, soda, miso, corn syrup, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, vinegar, and sesame until smooth; set aside.
2. Make the bibimbap: Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of water to a boil, and add sprouts; cook until crisptender, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, drain, and dry with paper towels; set aside. Repeat procedure with spinach (squeeze out as much liquid as possible when draining). When finished, pour boiling water into a bowl and add mushrooms; let soften for 30 minutes. Drain, remove stems, and slice ¼″-thick; set aside.
3. Heat 1 tbsp. canola oil and ½ tsp. sesame oil in a 10″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. garlic, ½tsp. ginger, and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper; cook until hot, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside. Repeat procedure, using same amounts of canola oil, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger, with the gosari, squash, carrot, and radish; season each with salt and pepper. Set each aside in separate bowls, and add ¼ tsp. sesame seeds to radishes. Add 1½ tsp. garlic, ¼ tsp. sesame oil, salt, and pepper each to sprouts and spinach; stir. Heat remaining canola oil in skillet, and add tofu; cook, turning once, until browned, 4–6 minutes. Transfer to a plate; cut each in half.
4. To serve, place 1 cup rice each in center of 4 bowls, and top each with a fried egg. Place ¼ of mushrooms in a mound in each bowl over the rice. Working clockwise, arrange ¼ each squash, carrot, radish, spinach, sprouts, gosari, chicory, and lettuce. Place tofu on lettuces; sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with sauce on the side.