Every country has a distinctive comfort food. For Korea, it’s bibimbap, the rice bowl topped with grilled beef, a veritable veggie rainbow and a fried egg, drizzled with spicy gochujang and mixed with a spoon.
Bibimbap basically means “mixed rice” — and given the Olympian timing of this, we’re craving a gold medal-worthy version, whether it’s served in a regular bowl or the sizzling stone bowl known as dolsot. So we checked in with Jessica Oh, co-owner of the East Bay’s Bowl’d BBQ, BopShop and Spoon, where bibimbap rules.
Dolsot bibimbap is a restaurant standard, Oh says, but for home cooks, a cold version — think vegetable rice salad — is more common. Have leftover meat, fish and veggies on hand? Make the ultimate bibimbap using Oh’s tips and recipe.
• First of all, you want sticky rice, Oh says, so use short-grain, medium-grain or sushi rice, not jasmine or basmati.
• Texture is key. Try adding thin spiralized vegetables, or use a mandoline to create veggie matchsticks.
• Don’t be afraid to change up the ingredients, by using quinoa or kale for a superfood twist, for example, or adding kimchi. Instead of gochujang, drizzle fragrant sesame oil over the rice bowl and sprinkle it with sesame seeds. Or substitute fried duck or quail eggs instead of the usual chicken.
Bowl’d Style Bibimbap
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup finely grated Asian pear with juices
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced, plus more for the vegetables
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
¼ pound boneless ribeye, sliced 1/8-inch thick (or thinly sliced chicken thigh meat)
¼ cup each of 4 or 5 different vegetables, cut into matchsticks and cooked until crisp-tender
1 to 2 cups cooked rice
Gochujang to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, grated pear, scallions, minced garlic, brown sugar and fresh ginger. Add meat, tossing to coat. Cover and chill for 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Heat a little vegetable oil (or sesame oil, if you prefer) in a frying pan. Drain the steak; add the meat to the pan and cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
Toss each batch of vegetables with a drizzle of sesame oil and a little minced garlic. Heat the pan and saute each batch until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes each. Season with salt.
In a cast-iron skillet set over medium heat, add a teaspoon or two of sesame oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add cooked rice and pat down evenly. Cook until a crisp golden crust forms on the bottom, 10 to 15 minutes.
Fry the egg.
To serve, transfer the rice to a big soup bowl. Assemble vegetables, meat and egg on top. Drizzle with sesame oil and gochujang to taste, and serve with a spoon to mix the bowl contents.
— Adapted from a recipe by Jessica Oh, co-owner, Bowl’d BBQ Korean Stone Grill in Albany, Alameda and Berkeley