We’re officially in the “I’ve lost count” phase of the social distancing and quarantine life and a couple of weeks ago, I was finally so disenchanted with my own cooking that I decided I MUST up the ante.
One of the most glorious things about living in New York City is the non-stop access to incredible food from EVERYWHERE in the world. I was reminiscing about some of my favorite restaurants and immediately thought of Insa here in Brooklyn that serves up the most delicious Korean fare.
Insa wasn’t open or delivering so there was only one thing left to do. Make Korean at home and get everyone, kids included, excited about the project.
My son voted for Bibimbap, a Korean classic traditionally made with lightly sauteed vegetables and meat over rice with an almost burnt, crunchy texture, an egg on top and a red chili paste based sauce. The sauce is really where it’s at when it comes to bibimbap as well as the crunchy rice, which, to be honest, I didn’t bother emulating because my kids don’t appreciate the crunch <at least not yet sigh>.
Once I nailed the sauce, the dish was shockingly easy to put together. And downright delicious.
I hope it bring a breath of fresh air to your family table. We loved serving it buffet style so the kids could pick and choose what they wanted. You could do tofu instead of or in addition to the egg if you wanted. I personally loved it as is.
1 cup white or brown rice
3 tbsp avocado oil
1/2 head small green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch long strips
1 cup shitake or other mushrooms
4 cups baby spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach
2 spring onions finely chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds
A few strips dried seaweed (optional)
For the sauce
2 tablespoons gochujang
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tablespoon brown or coconut sugar
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Splash of water
Start by cooking the rice like you usually would. I like to bring 1 cup of rice plus 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 or so minutes until the water has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy and cooked through.
Then cook the vegetables one by one. Warm a teaspoon of oil in a pan until it shimmers. Add the cabbage, a large pinch of salt and cook for 3-5 minutes until just softened. Similarly, cook the carrots and mushrooms.
To cook the spinach, bring a pot of water to a boil. Season it generously with salt and plunge the spinach in for about 45 seconds. Drain the spinach and let cold water run of it for a few seconds until it’s cool enough to handle. Squeeze out all the water and chop it coarsely. Stir in the spring onions (reserving a few green bits for garnish), sesame oil, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the sesame seeds and mix well. Season with salt to taste.
Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan or cast iron pan. Crack the eggs, yolks intact and cook them over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes until the white has set and the yolk is cooked but still runny.
Assemble the bibimbap. Spoon the rice into a bowl. Surround with veggies. Top with a fried egg, a bit of the chopped seaweed and a large dollop or two of the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds and the green parts of the scallions. Dig in.