“Dol-sot Bimi–bop, dol-sot bimi–bop!” sings my son as he runs in and out of the kitchen, with the woosh of the swinging door; waiting impatiently, but happily anticipating dinnertime.
Need a break from unhealthy holiday foods? Want an easy way to have a healthy lunch everyday of the week? This post is for you!
If you have ever had the wonderful Korean dish of Bibimbap (pronounced bimibap) or been lucky enough to have it out of a hot stone bowl as Dolsot Bibimbap then you probably wanted it again, soon. The taste is like no other Asian food and its lovely comfort food, especially for cold weather. This does not have to be used with a stone bowl. (It’s called Dolsot Bibimbap when it is served like that.) I really like to make it in a non-enamelled cast-iron dutch oven. I use our family camping one. The sesame oil stays on the sides better to crisp the rice, but you can use any good-sized cooking vessel.
The dish is wonderfully healthy and very filling. My recipe makes enough to feed a family of 4 and have leftovers for healthy lunches for 2 for 3 days. As soon as we have eaten dinner we take the rest and divide it into containers for our lunches. Then we just grab and go in the morning.
Hints: follow the sequence of cooking. I worked on this recipe until I could make it for my family fairly quickly, but I still reserve it for the weekend, it’s a little to complicated for me to juggle during the week as it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I will try to let you in on the shortcuts!
Rice (start first)
3 Cups rice (short-grain, or sushi rice is traditional, but use what you have!)
4 Cups water
Bring rice and water to a boil uncovered, using a pot with a good-fitting lid. (While waiting for the boil, cut and marinate meat.) Stir the rice, then cover and turn heat to very low. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit, covered, for at least 10 more minutes.
2 Pounds skirt steak or similar medium-range quality beef cuts (We like the thin-sliced sirloin from Aldi’s)
4 Tablespoons soy sauce (we like Kikoman reduced sodium, Aldi’s version is not good even though it is in the pic)
4 Tablespoons sesame oil (very important for the taste to be right!)
2 Tablespoons mirin (or rice wine vinegar)
2 Tablespoons sugar
Black pepper to taste (LOL very personal!)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Cut the beef into smallish chunks and add to bowl. Stir so marinade covers meat. Let marinate while you are prepping the veg.
2 yellow squash
1 large carrot
1 pack mushrooms
1/4 head cabbage
Bibimbap is very forgiving about veggies. Most veggies will work and it’s a great way to clean out your fridge before produce spoils. The vegetables taste so good that everyone will be eating them! Julienne everything but the mushrooms. Slice those.
I do not recommend using a mandolin, especially if you have kids. There are too many disruptions, interruptions, and things going on to use this safely, even with a hand-guard; trust me. You will thank me one day. If you have a food processor order a julienne disk/cutter for it; this will cut down on a lot of the prep time. Otherwise, just cut with a knife by hand.
Traditional Bibimbap has you cooking all the veggies separately and the meat, to save time, I just stir-fry them all together. It’s a little messier presentation, but still tastes the same. Cook the meat with the marinade until about half-way done, then add the veggies, and cook until they are just softened and the meat is done. There will be a watery sauce at the bottom- to this you will can add a cornstarch slurry (1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed in about 3 Tablespoons of cold water in a cup) to thicken the sauce OR you can just leave it in the pan and scoop the food out with a pierced spoon. (This is what my family prefers and it’s faster!)
While waiting for the meat and veggies to be done move the rice to a large pot that is wiped with sesame oil on the inside (I use our cast-iron dutch oven). Make a bowl out of the rice and then drizzle a little more sesame oil and soy sauce all around the edges. When the meat and veg are done put them inside the bowl of rice. Cover the pot and cook on medium until you start to hear the rice getting happy “poppy.”
Another (much faster) alternative is to leave the rice in the pot you cooked it in and drizzle the oil and soy sauce around the edge and in the middle. Cook until popping and then add eggs to your wok. Leave the meat & veggies separate and serve the rice then the meat and veggies over it.
While waiting on your rice to get crispy sides, make 4 over-easy eggs. I just use the wok I already used for the meat, etc. Put a little butter in the bottom and break 4 eggs into it and salt them. After 2 minutes of cooking on medium turn them. Cook 1 minute more.
Call your family to dinner! Open your cast-iron pot and lay the eggs right on top. Then stir the egg into the meat and veggies in the rice bowl. There are lots of variations on this recipe and even sauces to make for it as well as the wonderful sides that are traditionally served with it. You could have fun for ages changing it up and keeping it from getting boring. The best part is how healthy it is! Bon apetit!
Do you have any favorite healthy recipes to share? Please let us know in the comments!
With love and a full, warm tummy to you from Kansas Street,