Tonight, I had a sudden craving for Bibimbap, so my husband and I went to what I call our “emergency hangout”, a 24-hour restaurant across from our apartment, where we often go when we get hungry in the middle of the night or when he comes home from work at 2 or 3 A.M., starving.
I ordered 돌솥 비빔밥 (dolsot bibimbap), the one served in a hot stone pot. I like it better than the one served in a steel bowl, because the stone pot is so hot that the rice becomes crispy as if you were eating fried rice that isn’t actually fried. I could hear my Bibimbap sizzle in the stone pot when ajumma was placing it on my table. The smell was so appetizing that I wanted to eat it already, but of course, I had to mix all the ingredients together first. After all, Bibimbap is “mixed rice”. Just before eating, you have to mix the white rice, vegetables, meat or seafood, and fried egg with 고추장 (gochujang) or chilli pepper paste. If you want, you can wait for a few minutes for the rice to turn golden brown if you like it crisp. (It should be served in a stone pot, though.) I usually ask for more gochujang, because I like my Bibimbap sweeter and spicier. Also, I add some side dishes like sautéed mushrooms or 콩나물 무침 (kongnamul muchim: seasoned bean sprouts) if there are any. Kimchi will also do, but I cut them into smaller pieces.
While my husband was waiting for his order, he volunteered to mix my Bibimbap. I’m not very good at stirring. The key to a tastier Bibimbap is how thoroughly you mix all the ingredients together.
I have been trying to eat more veggies and less meat, so I chose Bibimbap that didn’t have meat toppings. Some Bibimbop are topped with beef, chicken or seafood, along with vegetables such as cucumber, spinach, soybean sprouts, lettuce, daikon, mushrooms, and my favorite of them all, 고사리 (gosari) or bracken fern stems. What healthy way to eat rice, but with lots of seasoned vegetables?
If you’d like to make your own Bibimbap, here’s a video of how to prepare it from Maangchi.com:
You can be more creative and add your favorite vegetables or meat. Try to put strips of bulgogi or bits of bacon… if you are a meat-lover. Smoked fish with mixed rice tastes superb, too. ^^
How do you like your Bibimbap?
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