I was thinking of more vege, less meat and even lesser carbs in ours meals these days but sometimes, it can be difficult to negotiate with a rumbling tummy.
I was never a great fan of Korean food, though I make an occasional exception for my Korean food lover friends, and my occasional craving for bibimbap. I enjoyed Namoo On The Park's bibimbap and somehow I just loved the combination and portion at that place. I've eaten kimchi fried rice at Gangnam 88 and I admit that I have not summoned the courage to attempt this dish (though everyone tells me that it's pretty easy!) as I wouldn't know what to do with the rest of the kimchi, in case it fails.
Nah, I don't really like kimchi that much. :P
It was interesting to find out that bibimbap is Korean's version of economy mixed rice, and to think that we are charged a premium in restaurants (in Malaysia)!
So why not make your own?
Upon studying the recipes, one would soon realise that the key ingredients for a successful bibimbap are:
gochujang sauce (hot pepper paste)sesame oilgarlicsesame seedssugar
If you don't believe me, when you're at a Korean restaurant next time, taste their side dishes and bibimbap carefully. Then check out the recipes online and you will see the usual ingredients used. Make them yourself at home and you will realise that you've managed to emulate the exact same taste. :)
For my bibimbap, I referred to the following recipes:
Good Food - pickle the cucumber and carrots
|The presentation needs a little bit of work. :D|
For my first attempt, I used bean sprouts, carrots, spinach, black fungus, sliced steak sandwich beef and fried egg on top of the rice. Constructed in a small bowl, it was hard to mix everything around quickly so we had to carefully do so.
The glue which brings the dish together is that dollop of gochujang paste. If it's not enough, just add a bit more to your dish.
A week later after the first attempt, I made it again. This time with stir-fried beef and in a bigger bowl.
That's a lot of rice, really. I'll need to cut down on the rice and double up the vegetables the next time!
But it's good stuff for the hunger pangs after a mid-long run in the middle of the week or carbo loading for a weekend race.
If you're not too sure how gochujang paste looks like, here's a picture:
There are so many ideas of making your own bibimbap, and I think the essential thing to get right is the colours of the dish.
For orange, you can use either carrots, sweet potato or pickled ginger. (yuck!)
For white, bean sprouts, white radish, jicama ("sengkuang"), yellow/brown onion, or fried tofu, sliced.
For green, spinach, spring onion, leek, cucumber, courgette or zucchini.
For black, Chinese or shitake mushrooms, black fungus, seaweed or nori.
For meat, chicken, pork or beef - minced, sliced or diced. Who cares, really.
I have no tips, except that:
1. All vegetable components can be prepared beforehand and need not be kept warm for your dish.
2. Marinate the beef at least an hour before you plan to fry your egg(s) and cook your rice. Fry the beef just as the rice is cooked.
3. The heat from the cooked rice will warm up the vegetables in your bowl/plate so you will end up with a warm meal, anyway.
Have fun trying! :)