Here is my favorite Korean dish that’s been screaming to be posted. I made this back in 2011 when I returned from attending our 25th year high school reunion. I was so excited. I finally got to see my high school classmates. It was a brief reunion and not all of my classmates were able to attend. It was a happy and somber reunion. Happy for the opportunity to bond with some of my classmates. Somber to learn some of our classmates had passed on.
I was first introduced to Bi Bim Bap when I flew with Korean Airlines. I was intrigued by it because most of the passengers had it as their dinner. I ate something else, but wasn’t crazy about it. The person sitting next to me was eating the Bi Bim Bap. The woman really enjoyed it. So, I asked “is it good? What is it made of?” She replied, “Oh, it’s just vegetables, meat, and rice and you mix them all together with red pepper paste. It’s really tasty and very popular among Koreans. You should try it. ” I said, “Oh, really?” “Okay, I will try it next time” So, before the plane landed, I tried one. Oh, my goodness! It was delicious. I think it was the mild paste that made everything so tasty. Unfortunately, you can’t find any mild red pepper or chili pepper paste at any Asian store. But, I didn’t care. Bi Bim Bap is one of my favorites since then.
Returning to the United States, I flew with the same airline and I had Bi Bim Bap to my heart’s content. 🙂 When I got home, all I wanted to eat was Bi Bim Bap. I craved it so much I went to an Asian store and bought all the necessary ingredients. I’ve had it many times for lunch and dinner. 😀
The Bi Bim Bap I had was made with ground beef. I like Bi Bim Bap with shredded beef cooked in Bulgogi sauce, Shitake mushrooms, pickled cucumber, fresh watercress and bean sprouts cooked in Sesame oil. I would have added kimchi too, but the Asian store was only selling them in large containers at that time, so I didn’t bother. I also didn’t add any eggs for obvious reason. I was trying to minimize my calorie count.
- 1/4 lb. shredded beef
- a handful of bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup pickled cucumber
- 2 liquid measuring cups of fresh watercress
- Sesame oil
- 1/4 dry measuring cup Bulgogi sauce (available at Asian stores)
- Red pepper or chili pepper paste (available at Asian stores)
- kimchi (optional) (available at Asian stores)
- 1 egg, soft boiled or over easy (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil; divided
- 1 teaspoon Sesame seeds
- Salt to taste
- Steamed white rice or brown rice
- Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add the shredded beef. Stir-fry until brown. Add the bulgogi sauce and cook until caramelized. Set aside.
- In a separate skillet, add sesame oil when hot. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry until tender. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, add the watercress and stir-fry until somewhat wilted. Remove and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Set aside. Add the Shitake mushrooms and salt. Stir-fry until the mushrooms are tender about 3 minutes.*
- Cook the egg. If I want to add an egg in my Bi Bim Bap, I would want it soft boiled. But if you prefer, you can cook it over easy in a skillet by using the remaining olive oil.
- Assemble the Bi Bim Bap.
- Scoop white steamed rice or brown rice and place at the bottom of a bowl as the first layer. Arrange the cooked shredded beef, watercress, pickled cucumber, Shitake mushrooms, and kimchi on top of rice. Add the egg on top as your third layer. Serve with red pepper paste.
How to eat it
Add the red pepper paste and mix everything together until it’s well incorporated. Make sure you have a glass of ice water. You are going to need it. The red pepper paste is very spicy. 🙂 Enjoy!