It’s starting to really feel like summer here! It’s a glorious 27 degrees Celsius out, it’s sunny and bright and that means I’m getting really excited to pull the bbq out of hiding so that all of my food can have grill marks. So many things just taste better that way. Maybe it’s because I’m finally not vitamin-D deficient and can actually experience the world in full colour.
This is a recipe that would lend itself really well to grilling season. Of course, bibimbap is one of those things that doesn’t really have a recipe – it’s basically the Korean equivalent of Chinese fried rice. It’s a collection of meat (or your favourite meat substitute!), veggies, rice and preferably a fried egg, mixed together with rice and as much or as little spicy sauce as you want. (I’m a wimp, so I’m on the team barely-any-sauce-omg-my-mouth-is-already-on-fire). However, I found that this particular combination I made was perfect, and while you can throw any old things in there I personally couldn’t get enough of the mix of marinated beansprouts and spinach and egg. Is it weird to say that the beansprouts were almost my favourite part? I must be losing it.
Most of these things can be prepped beforehand so that your actual dinner assembly just consists of cooking the meat and the eggs. This looks like a lot of different steps, but you can skip whatever doesn’t appeal to you and throw in whatever does. I’m sure other veggies would play really nicely, or mushrooms instead of beef. And if it’s warm out where you are, BBQ your bulgogi! I bet it’ll be amazing.
Adapted from Koreatown: A Cookbook. Serves 6-ish people.
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 2 pounds rib eye or sirloin, very thinly sliced
- 4 green onions, cut into 1 inch batons
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Stir together all ingredients and let marinate for 2 hours, preferably 24.
- 1 lb baby spinach
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a bowl with ice water and have it ready. Salt the water, then blanch spinach for 30 seconds. Drain and immediately shock it in the ice water. Drain again and squeeze to get rid of any excess water.
- Stir together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, pepper and garlic. Add spinach and toss thoroughly. Garnish with sesame seeds.
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups bean sprouts
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 green onion
- Heat sesame oil in a wok or large saute pan over high heat. Add garlic and saute for 20 seconds, until fragrant but still white.
- Add bean sprouts, oyster sauce, sugar and green onion and saute for about 2 minutes, tossing frequently. You want your sprouts crunchy. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 1/2 cup gochujang
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon-lime soda
- Stir everything together.
- 1/2 carrot, julienned
- Kimchi (optional)
- Eggs for each person you’re serving
- Rice, cooked whatever way you prefer
- Soy sauce (optional)
- Marinate your bulgogi.
- Prep your bean sprouts, spinach and sauce.
Cook and assemble:
- Preheat a cast iron or other heavy pan (or bbq!) over high heat. Add oil and wait until hot. Working in batches, grill marinated beef until it’s cooked, about 5 minutes, turning frequently until the meat begins to caramelize.
- Fry an egg for every person who will have a bowl. I like to do this right before serving. (If you’ve never done this – heat some oil in a small frying pan. Crack an egg into the pan and let cook until the whites are set. I personally take it out at this point because I love a runny yolk!)
- Assemble rice, beef, bean sprouts, spinach, egg, and carrot in a bowl. Add sauce as you like – I used a small dabble, my fiance likes a bold spoonful. Add soy sauce if you want some extra salt.
- Devour! This was all worth it!