Bibimbap (BEE-beem-bop)

9/15/11


Tucked into a small opening on the south side of Dundas Street West, near University there is a terrific Korean fusion restaurant, 12 o’ Lunch. Decorated with wooden tables and some very eclectic wall art, this pick-up-and-go restaurant offers some of the best Korean food. With menu items like Bibimbap, Bulgogi & Soft Tofu Stew, there is much variety for anyone to choose from.

Recently, some good friends took me there over lunch and introduced me to a tasty new dish called Bibimbap (BEE-beem-bop), which by definition means a “mixed meal”.
                                                                                                                                                            

Bibimbap is traditionally served with white rice, sautéed and seasoned vegetables, chili pepper paste, raw or fried egg and sliced meat (typically beef). This signature dish is not only outstanding because of the array of flavors, but because you get to spin it into a huge tasty mess with chopsticks before indulging in your first bite.
More often than not, this Korean recipe is served hot and steamy, but is sometimes enjoyed cold as well. And, if you are anything like me, you will also enjoy adding some hot sauce on top, giving it an extra kick in the pants.


Below is a recipe from Serious Eats, for those who wish to try this Korean dish at home:

Prep & cooking time: Allow about 1 hour
Serves: 2
(Approximate calculated calories per serving is 560)

Ingredients:
•    2 tablespoons soy sauce
•    3 tablespoons sesame oil
•    2 teaspoons sugar
•    1 clove garlic, minced
•    1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
•    1/2 pound thinly sliced rib-eye
•    1 cup short grain rice
•    2 eggs
•    1/2 zucchini, thinly sliced
•    1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
•    Handful bean sprouts
•    1/2 cup carrots, julienned
•    1/4 cup red pepper paste
•    2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
(Meat can be removed to make vegetarian friendly)

Preparation:
  1. Combine the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. Add the beef and stir until coated. Set aside for 30 minutes. Also, cook the short grain rice according to the instructions on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, pour 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in the mushrooms and cook until they are tender and soft. Set aside. Then add another 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil to the skillet and add the sliced zucchini. Cook until it is tender, about 5 minutes or so.
  3. Bring a few cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Then add the bean sprouts and cook  for about one minute. Then drain in a colander.
  4. Pour the rest of the sesame oil into a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add two eggs and cook until the whites have set, but the yolk is still very runny.
  5. Set a large skillet over high heat. When very hot add the beef. Cook, stirring often until browned on all sides. Then set aside.
  6. Time to serve! First, lay out the beef, mushrooms, zucchini, bean sprouts, and raw carrots. Add a handful of rice to a large bowl, then add a little bit of each of the ingredients around the edges of the bowl. Top with a fried egg. Repeat with the another bowl. Serve with the red pepper paste and rice wine vinegar to taste. When ready, break the yolk and twirl around the contents until well mixed.

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