We are not so much what we eat, but what we remember we have eaten.
When I was five years old, I walked into my mom’s kitchen one Sunday morning and smelled the most delicious smells coming from her kitchen. She called me to the room with those enticing aromas and placed a plate of ‘bibimbap’ in front of me. Then she told me to eat quickly or else it would get cold. The way the different ingredients disappeared in the dish delighted me.
The experience left a lasting impression. This dish was so common when I was growing up that everyone in her family used to make it. But my mom’s was the best, by far. Most know bibimbap as a combination of rice mixed with beef, vegetables with a fried egg on top and Korean Chilli Paste (go ju jang).
2.5 cups short grain rice
10 ounces beef, rib eye or sirloin
16 ounces soybean sprouts
1 bunch spinach
1 Korean cucumber
2 small zucchinis
2 medium carrots
5 teaspoons minced garlic
3 scallions, chopped
Roasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons of Korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang, 고추장)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
3 tablespoons of water
- Cook the rice in a rice cooker per rice bag directions.
- Cut your choice of beef into thin long strips. Mix 3 tablespoon of soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of sugar, 3 teaspoons of sesame oil, 3 teaspoons of rice wine, 2 tablespoon of chopped scallion, 2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 sesame seeds and a pinch of pepper. Marinate for 20 minutes. Sauté in a skillet for 4 minutes.
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil with a dash of salt. Add the bean sprouts and boil for 2 minutes. Drain quickly and shock in cold water to stop cooking. Toss with 3 teaspoon of minced garlic, 3 teaspoons of sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil with a dash of salt. Add the spinach then boil for 1 minute. Drain quickly and shock in cold water. Toss with 1 tablespoon of chopped scallion, 3 teaspoon minced garlic, 3 teaspoon of sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
- Cut the cucumbers into thin slices. Toss with 1 tablespoon of chopped scallion, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
- Cut the zucchinis into thin slices then sauté in a lightly oiled skillet for 2 minutes.
- Julienne the carrots then sauté in a lightly oiled skillet for 2 minutes.
- Combine and mix all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Scoop 1-2 cups of rice into a bowl or if you are fan of stone bowls, heat it over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. It will add a bit of a crisp to your rice.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and rice and cook the rice for several minutes until the rice sizzles.
- Top your rice with a small amount of the vegetables you prepared and along with your beef.
- Serve with a fried egg on top and a side of the Korean Chili Red Pepper Paste and sesame oil.