Not the prettiest picture, but it was still early and the bibimbap was just waking up.

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo to Instagram one morning with the caption: "They told me I could do anything, so I made bibimbap for breakfast." The photo in question was a haphazardly thrown-together dish that I frequently make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any time in between—basically whenever I'm craving something that's hot, spicy, and packs a bunch of different textures into one bowl.

Since then, my friends have been asking for my "recipe" for at-home bibimbap, the Korean classic that literally means "mixed rice" and can be served hot or cold. The frequently encountered version called dolsot bibimbap is traditionally served in a sizzling stone bowl at your favorite Korean restaurant or Super H Mart food court stall; the scorching hot bowl crisps the rice to a pleasing texture that's crunchy outside, soft inside and cooks the raw egg that's thrown on top before serving. This is the version I like to make at home.

My recipes typically run fast and loose, but that's the great thing about bibimbap (pronounced "bee-bim-bop"): it can take nearly any ingredient you throw at it as long as you start with a few basics. I don't own any stone bowls, nor any bowls that I would heat to sizzling hot temperatures, so here's how I jury-rig my own bibimbap at home using only a sauce pan, a sauté pan, and a few easy ingredients.

Flickr user avlxyz" data-image-selection='{"width":640,"height":383,"x1":0,"y1":0,"x2":640,"y2":383}'>

See if you can make your at-home bibimbap look as pretty as a restaurant's. | Flickr user avlxyz

Faux Bibimbap on the Go

  1. Cook some rice. Doesn't have to be fancy. I'll admit to using the jasmine Minute Rice, cooked in its little plastic bag on the stovetop, in well-salted water that I've seasoned with a few good glugs of mirin and rice wine vinegar for additional flavor.
  2. While the rice is cooking, roughly dice some vegetables. I prefer a base of onion and zucchini, but I also like to throw in whatever vegetables are in my crisper (okra and mushrooms are two favorites). Think of bibimbap as the Korean version of a refrigerator frittata. Gently sauté the vegetables in coconut oil (or whatever oil you have on hand that's not olive oil—it'll taste weird here) over medium heat.
  3. When the rice is finished, drain it and add to your sauté pan with the veggies. Depending on your spice tolerance, add a bit or a lot of the following: gochujang, ssamjang, Sriracha, or even sambal. You're just looking for the nice red hue that chili sauce will impart to the rice, as well as a nice burst of heat. Turn the pan up to medium-high and let the rice soak up the chili sauce while it crisps up.
  4. When the rice is crispy enough, remove from heat and put into a bowl. While it cools, quick-fry an egg in the same pan—preferably sunny-side up so you've got plenty of runny yolk inside.
  5. Garnish your bowl of faux bibimbap with the fried egg, kimchi, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and radishes (or any other crunchy raw vegetable you've got—I prefer the bags of undressed broccoli-carrot slaw at the grocery store, which you can toss into just about anything for added crunch and nutrients), and dig in!

I like to make a big batch of this ahead of time—sans the egg, of course—then warm up portions in your skillet, fry an egg to go on top, et voila: a healthy meal in no time flat.

 

 

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