Let’s Cook 비빔밥 ! (Bibimbap Recipe)

Valerie, “Let’s cook 비빔밥!”

We did a last minute shopping for the ingredients and many were not available. Neither could we find the dolsot pots so we used normal bowls instead, and reserved the “authentic” stainless steel for the Korean man in our home, hahaha… 😀

“Bibimbap (비빔밥) is a signature Korean dish. The word literally means “mixed rice”. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste), soy sauce, or doenjang, a fermented soybean paste. A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The hot dish is stirred together thoroughly just before eating.

The name bibimbap was adopted in the early 20th century. From the Joseon Period (1392–16th century) until the 20th century, Bibimbap was called goldongban, which means rice made by mixing various types of food. This dish was traditionally eaten on the eve of the lunar new year as the people at that time felt that they had to get rid of all of the leftover side dishes before the new year. The solution to this problem was to put all of the leftovers in a bowl of rice and to mix them together. Bibimbap is also thought to have been eaten by farmers during farming season as it was the easiest way to make food for a large amount of people. Bibimbap, known as goldongban at that time, was served to the king usually as a lunch or an between-meal snack.

A variation of this dish, dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥, dolsot meaning “stone pot”), is served in a very hot stone bowl in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl. The bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for minutes. Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil, making the layer of the rice touching the bowl cook to a crisp, golden brown (누릉지). This variation of bibimbap is typically served to order, with the egg and other ingredients mixed in the pot just prior to consumption.

Bibimbap ingredients are rich in symbolism. Black or dark colours represent North and the kidneys – for instance, shiitake mushrooms, bracken ferns or laver. Red or orange represents South and the heart, with chilli, carrots, and jujube dates. Green represents East and the liver, with cucumber and spinach. White is West or the lungs, with foods such as bean sprouts, radish, and rice. And finally yellow represents the centre, or stomach. Foods include pumpkin, potato or egg.” – Wikipedia

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Mise en place for Bibimbap (비빔밥).

Different households have different variations of what goes into Bibimbap and here’s ours. Some ingredients we would like to have are not available that day and in the case of Gosari, they are not available in Singapore at all! Ryan’s mom said she will give us some, the next time she gets her stash from Korea. So in the meantime, we improvised and substituted with *Cordyceps militaris. I don’t think anyone has made Bibimbap with this fungus before but I liked its slightly crisp and bouncy texture. It should go well. And it did! 🙂

Although we mix up bibimbap before we eat it, each of the chosen ingredients needs to be prepared individually in order to bring out their unique flavours, textures and colours so that not only are they visually pleasing, they also provide delightful contrasting mouthfeel. Bibimbap is nutrition packed with harmonising awesomeness!

Bibimbap 비빔밥 Recipe (serves 4).
4 cups Cooked Korean (short-grain) Rice. We used half and half of White and Black Rice. Cook the rice together so the colour and fragrance are distributed evenly. Check the packaging for amount of water used for each type of rice.
300g tender lean cut Beef of your choice (i.e. fillet mignon, sirloin, rib-eye) or Chicken, or Seafood. We cooked minced beef instead of seasoned raw beef (yukhoe: 육회).
350g Soy Bean Sprouts, washed and drained.
300g Spinach, washed and blanched.
1 large handful Cordyceps militaris, rinsed and soak in hot water. Drain but keep the soaking liquid aside for making soup. We added miso paste, more water together with the soaking liquid for soup.
1-2 Carrot, julienned/match-sticks.
1 English Cucumber, julienned/match-sticks. We used 2-3 (smaller in size) Japanese Cucumber as they have less seeds.
1 Yellow Onion.
2 stalks Scallions.
Garlic, minced.
4 Eggs.

Soy Sauce.
Honey (or Sugar).
Vegetable Oil.
Sesame Oil.
Korean Hot Pepper Paste (Gochujang).

Treatment for Vegetables:
Soy Bean Sprouts:
Put 2 teaspoons of salt into a deep pot with 4 cups of water. Add the soy bean sprouts, cover and cook for 20 minutes over medium high heat. Remove the sprouts with colander or tongs into a bowl and set aside.

Rinse the blanched spinach immediately after cooking, and squeeze out excess water. Cut up the squeezed blanched spinach to about 1 or 2 inches long and put them into a bowl. Using your hand, gently season the spinach with 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds. Cover and set aside.

Put the cut carrots in a bowl, and mix with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until sweating. Squeeze out excess water from the carrot. Heat up a pan over medium high heat, add a few drops of cooking oil to it and sauté the carrot for 1 minute.

Put the cut cucumber in a bowl, and mix with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until sweating. Squeeze out excess water from the cucumber. Heat up a pan over medium high heat, add a few drops of cooking oil to it and sauté the cucumber for 30 seconds.

Cordyceps militaris:
Squeeze out excess water from the Cordyceps militaris. Remember to reserve this soaking water. Heat up a pan over medium high heat, add a few drops of cooking oil to it and sauté the Cordyceps militaris for 2-3 minute.

Yellow Onion:
Yellow Onions was listed as an ingredient by Ryan’s mom when we called to ask her about Fernbrake but she didn’t tell Valerie what to do with it. We had diced the onions and cooked them together with the cucumber but I think sliced and on its own would taste better! So next time, we will sliced the onion and pan-fry with a few drops of vegetable oil to soften and draw out its natural sweetness.


Beef, if using…
Raw Beef:
Slice the beef into very thin matchsticks and put them in a bowl.
Mix with 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar), 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds with a spoon.

Stir-fried Beef:
We marinated the minced beef with bottled Korean BBQ and All Purpose Cooking Sauces. Stir-fry the beef in a hot pan to your preferred doneness. If you cannot get bottled sauces, use the raw beef’s marinade above.

Cooked sunny-side up or use raw yolks, one for each diner.

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Starting from top left (clock-wise):
Soya Bean Sprouts.
Minced Beef.
Cordyceps militaris.
Japanese Cucumber and Yellow Onions (together).

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Valerie assembling our dinner:
Put the rice in each of 4 bowls and arrange the vegetables and beef on the rice. Top with the raw egg yolk and gochujang.
However, we prefer our eggs and beef cooked, so Valerie made sunny side ups and stir-fried the minced beef.

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Instead of white rice, we used half and half (Korean white and organic black rice). Korean rice are shorter grain than Jasmine or Thai rice.

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Our very own home-made Bibimbap Sauce:
Gochujang, Chinese Taucheo (fermented soya beans) instead of doenjang, sesame oil and hot water to be mixed together until you get the desired taste and the finished sauce has this rich slurry consistency.

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As you can see, the portions are unequal because they were customised to our desire of more, or less of rice and secondary ingredients.
Did you also notice that there were only spoons, no fork and no chopsticks? They aren’t “allowed”.
Next, drizzle as much sauce as you like with a dollop of gochujang, that’s how this dish is supposed to be enjoyed.

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You can sprinkle some dry toasted sesame seeds but we didn’t have any.
We perfumed ours with a few drops of teel seed oil (from Penang) instead.

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Bibim (비빔) translates as “mixed,” and bap (밥) is “cooked rice,” thus Bibimbap literally means “mixed rice.”
Now mix everything together (like folding aerated cake batter) without mashing up the more delicate ingredients.
Feast with your eyes first, then take a deep breath of the mingling aromas, and do consciously enjoy this simple yet tedious work of the person who prepared this tasty meal!

Engage your senses with tasty, healthy and appealing Bibimbap! 잘 먹겠습니다!

Happy cooking, eating and bonding! 🙂

*Cordyceps militaris is a species of fungus in the family Clavicipitaceae, and the type species of the genus Cordyceps. Cordyceps militaris is often used by natural health practitioners and has a long history in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). In TCM, Cordyceps is used to support the immune system, act as an anti-viral agent, help control blood sugar and protect liver and kidney health. Please check with your health practitioner and nutritionist should you have any illnesses or doubt.

Some variable ingredients you can use for Bibimbap:
Amount is to your desire. You can use more or less of certain ingredients to your liking. Also, try to julienne/slice the ingredients to about the same length and thickness.

1 Red Capsicum.
1 Zucchini.
½ Radish (white), julienned, washed and squeeze out excess water..
100g Kimchi.
150g fresh Shitake Mushrooms, sliced.
½ head Radicchio, sliced. Take note that this vegetable has a bitter and spicy taste.
100g Fresh Fernbrake (Gosari), or 15g of Dried Gosari pressure-cooked with 5 cups of water for half an hour.
30g Dried Bellflower Roots (Doraji), soaked in cold water for 24 hours.

See Maangchi’s video (recipe which we adapted) for more ideas, click here:

3 Responses to “Let’s Cook 비빔밥 ! (Bibimbap Recipe)”
  1. The Mouse says:

    Colorful and yummy!

  2. LFFL says:

    I’m in love with how colorful it all is.

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