Recipe: Bibimbap (비빔밥)

See the previous post for information on this dish.

This recipe takes a long time to make. The time depends on how many vegetables you use and your skill.
(It also took a long time to type – over an hour!)

This recipe is adapted from this recipe by Aeri’s Kitchen and this other recipe by Maangchi, but I have made changes in ingredient amounts, also adding and changing ingredients. Mostly, the two recipes were used as a guide since I don’t measure any ingredients when I make bibimbap. Thank you, Aeri and Maangchi!

As shown by my pictures at the bottom, this recipe is very flexible. You can skip any vegetable you don’t have or don’t like. I always skip some of them when I make it since I don’t have all of them on hand at the same time.

Serves around 4 people, maybe more.

My recipe is divided into 16 steps to not confuse you with the ingredients. Every ingredient is bolded.

Step 1 – The Day Before You Make Bibimbap – Optional
Soak 2 handfuls dried gosari in cold water for a day. Gosari (고사리 – gosari – koh sah dee) is a type of edible fern fiddleheads from Korea. You can find it dried in the dried vegetables and mushrooms section of a Korean grocery store. This is an optional ingredient. (I’ll be honest: I have never used gosari in my bibimbap before, so the entire step 4 is adapted from the two above recipes and never tested by me)
Also, soak 5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms in cold water. The mushrooms are also optional.

Step 2 – Cook Rice
Wash and cook 4 servings of white rice, such as Calrose in a rice cooker.
Also, bring a pot of water to a boil for blanching the spinach.

Step 3 – Marinade Meat
Mix the following ingredients together:
1/2 lb ground beef, pork, or chicken, etc. (beef is traditional)
1/2 tbsp Korean soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp mirim or mirin
(Korean/Japanese sweet cooking rice wine)
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
3 cloved garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Step 4 – Cook Gosari
Drain the soaked gosari and cut into 2 inch long pieces. If it is too hard, blanch in boiling water until softer. Heat a frying pan. Add 1 tbsp cooking oil, 1/2 onion, sliced thinly, 2 cloves minced garlic, the gosari, 1 tbsp Korean soy sauce, and 2 tsp sesame oil. Cook for a few minutes, stirring once a while. Taste it, and when it is soft enough, it is ready.

Step 5 – Sauté Vegetables
For this step, you need the following vegetables:
2 cups onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cup carrot, julienned
2 cups zucchini, julienned
(you can use the light green colored Korean zucchini, also called “cousa squash”, or the dark green zucchini)
4 green onions, julienned
It is ok to skip one of the vegetables above if you do not have it.
You need 7 small pinches salt and 1 tbsp + 2 tsp cooking oil for this step.
Sauté the onion, carrot, and zucchini each with 2 small pinches of salt and 1/2 tbsp oil, each vegetable separately, until cooked but still crunchy.
Sauté the green onions with 1/2 tsp oil and 1 small pinch of salt for under 10 seconds. Arrange the vegetables on a platter.

Step 6 – Cook Soybean Sprouts
Wash 4 handfuls soybean sprouts very well, removing bad parts. Add to a pot, cover with cold water. Cover with a lid, and put over high heat for 10 minutes. Drain, and mix with:
1 tsp sesame oil
2 small pinches salt
1 clove minced garlic

Step 7 – Blanch Spinach
When the pot of water is boiling, add some salt and a generous amount of spinach. Use chopsticks to push it into the water until all the spinach is dark green and wilted (takes under 1 minute). Drain and rinse under cold water. It will shrunk a LOT, so use quite a lot of spinach. If it is baby spinach, no need to cut. If it is “adult” spinach, cut into 2 inch long pieces. Mix with:
2 small pinches salt
1 tsp Korean soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove minced garlic

Step 8 – Prepare Korean Radish Side Dish – Part 1
Korean radish side dish (무생채 – musaengchae – moo sang cheh) is optional for bibimbap. Mix 1 cup julienned Korean radish or daikon with some salt, then set aside for around 10 minutes. Meanwhile, do the following steps.

Step 9 – Sauté Mushrooms
Julienne the soaked shiitake mushrooms. Heat a frying pan, add 1/2 tbsp cooking oil. Add mushrooms, 1/2 tbsp Korean soy sauce, and 1/2 tbsp sugar. Sauté for 2 minutes.

Step 10 – Sauté Meat
Heat the pan, and add 1 tbsp cooking oil. Add the marinated meat. Crumble and cook until fully cooked.

Step 11 – Sauté Kimchi
Kimchi is optional for bibimbap. If you wish to use it, sauté 1/2 cup diced kimchi with 1/2 tbsp cooking oil and 1/2 tsp sugar for 2 minutes.

Step 12 – Cook Eggs
Fry 4 eggs with 4 tsp (1 tbsp + 1 tsp) cooking oil in a frying pan. You can do it separately, or together if you have a very large pan. You can fry both sides (I prefer this) or do it sunny-side-up.

Step 13 – Prepare Korean Radish Side Dish – Part 2
Drain and rinse the salted Korean radish in a colander, and squeeze tightly to remove excess water. Mix with:
1 tsp sliced red chili (optional)
1/8 onion, sliced very thinly (optional)
1 small pinch salt
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp Korean apple vinegar or Korean brown rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp coarse Korean hot pepper powder

Step 14 – Cut the Raw Vegetables and Nori
Cut 2 sheets toasted nori into thin strips with scissors.
Prepare 1 cup julienned lettuce and 2/3 cup julienned cucumber.

Step 15 – Mix the Sauce
If you can stand spicy food, double the sauce. If you can’t, make the amount below. You can even make half the recipe. Mix all the following ingredients together very well:
2 to 3 tbsp Korean hot pepper paste
1/4 tsp Korean soy sauce
1 tsp Korean apple vinegar or Korean brown rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
1 clove minced garlic

Step 16 – Arrange Vegetables and Serve
In 4 large serving bowls, put rice. Arrange all the ingredients on top beautifully. You can arrange them in any order you like. A good trick is to put a green vegetable, a non-green ingredient, then another green vegetable, then another non-green ingredient. See the picture below for an example. Put the egg in the middle, with sauce on the egg. I put the green onion on the egg too. Add extra sesame oil and toasted white sesame seeds if you want. Take pictures to show your accomplishment. Then mix up the bowl and eat!


 Here’s another picture, from a year later! This version is vegetarian. For this one, the ground “meat” is actually crumbled tofu that I marinaded the same way as in this recipe and stir-fried until dry. It was delicious!! Of course the texture was much softer and different from meat, but it looked a lot like meat and tasted very good.



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