Many of us still find ourselves teetering on the edge of winter and spring. In Seattle, one day we're outside grilling, the other we're inside yet again pulling out the slow cooker we thought we'd packed away for its long slumber. Today is one of those days we're reaching for something hot and comforting while we await the April <er, May> showers to bring about the flowers (and the sun! Pleeeease, sun!) If you, too, find yourself in need of something warm and comforting for your tummy, try this classic Korean dish, bibimbap.
Bibimbap, also called dolsot bibimbap, is traditionally served in a searing hot stone, usually granite, bowl known as a dolsot. The bowls can withstand temperatures as high as 615 degrees F and remain sizzling hot for quite some time. Rice is placed in the bottom of the bowl and ingredients, usually a combination of meat, vegetables and egg, are organized in neat sections on top. The rice that's against the edge of the blazing bowl becomes crisp and toasty, a special treat that Koreans call nurungji.
Our bibimbap contains a spicy marinated tofu instead of meat, and we've bulked up on the vegetables for a healthy, Meatless Monday version.
1 cup firm tofu, rinsed and cut into 1-inch cubes
½ Korean barbecue bulgogi marinade
4 cups short grain white rice
2 toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup sesame-oil
4 egg yolks
1 carrot, julienned 1
cup zucchini, julienned
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups bean sprouts
1 cup green onions, chopped
4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of sugar
¼ cup kochujang vinegared hot pepper paste, or more to taste
10 ounces cabbage kimchi
1 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 dolsot stone bowls (available at Asian markets)
1. Marinate tofu overnight in Korean barbecue marinade.
2. Cook rice and keep warm
3. In sesame oil and a pinch of salt, sauté carrots and zucchini until almost tender. If necessary add a bit more sesame oil and toss in the remaining vegetables, garlic and a pinch of sugar and continue to sauté approximately 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost done (they will continue to cook in the dolsot or stone bowl)
4. Broil or barbecue the tofu.
5. Pour 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in the base of each stone bowl. Divide rice between the 4 stone bowls. Arrange all ingredients on top of the rice side by side around the bowl. Put a teaspoon (or more depending on taste) of the Korean chili paste on top of the vegetables and in the middle of the bowl place an egg yolk. Pour a tablespoon of sesame seed oil around the edge of the bowl.
6. Place stone bowl on top of stove and on high heat leave for approx 5 minutes or until you can hear the rice popping and crackling.
7. Remove from heat and serve. Be very careful as the stone bowl will be extremely hot. Enjoy!
8. Purchasing note: dolsots can be found in Asian markets.
Photo by: wEnDaLicious