Rice does not get any better than a searing hot stone pot filled with (Dolsot) Bibimbap. Yes, I like good fried rice, which is hard to find in my area. I like steamed rice which I fix at home in a rice cooker. Brown rice, White rice, Jasmine rice...they are all good. But nothing compares to Bimbimbap!
What is Bibimbap? You might ask. It is a mixture of rice, vegetables, meat and a raw egg. While the pot is still smoking, it is served with Kochujang sauce, which adds flavor and spice to the dish. I usually wait a minute before I stir everything together. It takes perfect timing, because you want the pot to remain hot enough to cook the egg, but I also like some of the rice to turn crunchy from the heat (we call it gum-bap). At just the right moment, I douse the mixture with a heavy dose of Kochujang and mix thoroughly, ensuring the egg hits some hot spots to cook it well.
Bibimbap is comprised of a healthy layer of rice topped with julienned carrots, zucchini and/or cucumber. I normally get mine without mushrooms. Some variations have Daikon. Doraji is a wild root (bellflower) that is also served in the dish. It adds some texture, but may not be for everyone (I personally like it). Bean sprouts, seaweed and finely diced beef normally finish off the toppings. The raw egg topping normally cooks the instant it hits the side of the pot.
The Kochujang sauce is a pepper-based sauce that is dark red in color. The paste normally comes in a ketchup squirt bottle, but may also be served in a small bowl with a spoon. I like to douse my dish with a heavy layer of the sauce before I mix the ingredients together. It gives the rice a dark tint and infuses the flavors with a nice spicy heat.
If you have never treated yourself to a hot steaming bowl of Bibimbap, you are missing a real treat. This delicious dish is filling, satisfying and delicious. I seldom leave a single kernel of rice in the bowl. It is just that good.
It's so simple (and easy to prepare), and yet, it's oh so delicious. I've had it with and without gochujang, and it's delicious both ways. Even though this is a great dish and surprisingly easy to make, there ARE some folks who don't know how to prepare this properly, so beware. Still, even a "bad" bibimbap is still edible.
Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish. The word literally means "mixed rice" or "mixed meal." Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating. It can be served either cold or hot.
Vegetables commonly used in bibimbap include julienned cucumber, zucchini, mu (daikon), mushrooms, doraji (bellflower root), and gim, as well as spinach, soybean sprouts, and gosari (bracken fern stems). Dubu (tofu), either plain or sautéed, or a leaf of lettuce may be added, or chicken or seafood may be substituted for beef. For visual appeal, the vegetables are often placed so that adjacent colors complement each other.
A variation of this dish, dolsot bibimbap, is served in a very hot stone bowl in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl. The bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for minutes. Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil, making the layer of the rice touching the bowl golden brown and crispy.
The city of Jeonju, the capital of the North Jeolla Province of South Korea (located about two and a half hours' drive south of Seoul), is famous throughout the nation for its version of bibimbap, said to be based on a royal court dish.