In an earlier post, I talked about my love for a Korean recipe called Bibimbap, and how I first discovered it in Japan as Bibinba. Our friend Wikipedia describes it like this:
“Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish. The word literally means “stirred/mixed rice” or “stirred/mixed meal.” (It is also sometimes spelled “bibimba,” “bibimbab,”b-bop” or “bibimbop”).”
In my quest to make a fusion vegetarian bibinba recipe, last year I came up with a delicious recipe for vegetarian tempeh bulgogi that the DH and I enjoyed in a cold bibimbap rice salad.
However, my real passion for bibinba came about through my experience with what is called ishiyaki Bibinba in Japanese, or stone pot cooked Bibimbap. In Korean it is called Dolsot Bibimbap, or stone pot bibimbap. In this recipe you heat a stone pot with rice and other tasty toppings until the rice becomes crispy on the bottom and the pot is hot enough to cook an egg. The egg becomes mixed with the rice and cooked almost like a fried rice after you take it off the burner. I initially discovered ishiyaki bibinba in Japanese fast food courts, where you can order bibinba with such diverse toppings as “tuna mayo” or “pork” or, my personal favorite “cheese.” Later I learned that the spicy dark red topping added contains some amount of wheat, and the vegetable toppings may have small amounts of soy sauce, so I had to stop ordering it out, but I had become a woman obsessed. When we moved back to America, I brought two stone pots back with me and have since tried to replicate the experience several times. Adding cheese might be a fusion move, but hey, I think it adds a lot to the experience and texture of the dish, and if it is good enough for Japanese bibinba shops, it’s good enough for me.
This is one of those dishes that makes me happy to be alive. I am a sucker for hot food with lots of flavor, diverse veggies, and crispiness- and ishiyaki bibinba fits the bill perfectly. The recipe below is the closest I’ve gotten to the yumminess of take-out bibbinba, and I’d say if I could just approximate the Korean chili sauce Goshujang, it would be exactly right. Srirachi sauce with liberal amounts of kimchi, heated in the dish and then added at the end, does a good job of taking its place, though- and for me, the nori adds the perfect amount of depth and salty “fishy” flavor that completes the dish. I also found that extra sesame oil added to the rice as I mixed it really made the flavor pop. If you aren’t soy intolerant, a few drops of wheat-free tamari might be nice as well. The DH pronounced the meal a success, and at last, I was satisfied. Oh my love Bibinba, at last I can have you at home! And, since I used leftover veggies from my recent Korean Noodle Recipe, it wasn’t even that much work to make it.
namul (sautÃ©ed and seasoned vegetables)
namurus (side dishes)
gochujang (chili pepper paste)
Want to read More?
Check out this List of Korean Rice-based Dishes with description
A Bibimbap Recipe by Fat Free Vegan
A Rice Cooker Pescatarian Bibimbap Recipe (Sorry not veg but I was intrigued by the rice cooker aspect)
Good Pics of the bibimbap cooking setup, non veg recipe
Korean Vegetarian Dolsot Bibimbap Ishiyaki Bibinba Recipe
Short grained (sushi style) white rice cooked in a rice cooker [3 rice cooker cups uncooked will leave you with extra]
Japanese or Korean toasted sesame oil and basting brush
Vegetable toppings, see below
srirachi sauce (if you can find Korean gochuchang that is gluten-free, please let me know because i’d love to find some)
2 raw eggs
Grated Cheese, optional for Cheese bibinba/bibimbap, to taste
nori, either in sheets or pre-cut into strips
Extra kimchi for those that like it
Various Vegetable Toppings:
1 pkg. Spinach
peanut or other oil
1 Carrot, 1/3 burdock root or 2 carrots
1 or 2 tbsp. mirin
2 large fresh portabella mushrooms, or equivalent shitake, oyster, or crimini mushrooms, sliced
peanut or other oil, salt, pepper
1 lb bean sprouts
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tsp sesame oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Korean red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt
Gluten Free Kimchi (most should be gluten-free, esp. if it doesn’t have MSG, but it may be harder to find a vegetarian kimchi. Look at yuppie grocery stores in refrigerator case or health food stores, or possibly at Asian markets, although authentic Korean markets may not carry vegetarian American kimchi)
Stone pots- you can find them at Korean markets or online- should be pre-seasoned like a cast iron pan, search online for instructions
Lids for covering your stone pots
Flame burner or, if you have a flattop electric stove a flame tamer
Safe place for HOT stone pots like wooden cutting boards (not decorative) or cooling rack on towel+ something to protect your table
(I used a cardboard cat scratcher under the towel, don’t laugh)
First, prepare veggies:
Sautee spinach in a little oil and season with a little salt.
Slice carrot and burdock into matchstick pieces or sliver using a mandoine. Then sautee in a little oil and season with salt. After a few minutes, add mirin and simmer for another few minutes.
Sautee your favorite mushroom slices in oil and season with salt and pepper.
Directions for bean sprouts:
Rinse and drain sprouts. Fill large pan with water and bring to a boil. Add your fresh sprouts to the water, and simmer them for up to five minutes. Put back in the strainer and rinse with cold water. Drain them and pat them dry in a towel. Combine sprouts with scallions, sesame oil, red pepper and salt in a bowl and reserve. Flavor will improve as it sits.
Prepare your rice in a rice cooker. Don’t forget to rinse the rice until the water runs clear before cooking. when it’s done, fluff the rice and reserve until all ingredients are ready.
Once everything is prepared, baste the stone pots with sesame oil and partially fill with rice. Remember, you will ultimately need space to stir the ingredients together, so not too full. Then push the rice partway or all the way up the sides of the stone pot. Grab portions of each of your vegetables, arranging them neatly in a circle.
Set raw egg and other seasonings near your cooling rack.
Turn flame burner to medium high and put your stone pot (or pots if you have more than one flame burner) on the flame. Cover and leave for 10-15 minute. You should start to smell crisping rice towards the end. I like my rice crunchy and the stone pot needs to be HoT to cook the egg. when you think the rice is done (probably longer than you think), carefully cover your hands in protective gear (lots of towels, whatever) and remove pot from burner, moving to cooling rack.
Act fast! Take two large metal spoons and stir the rice, moving it away from the sides of the bowl and break your raw egg into the space you’ve made, mixing it up. Spread it along the hot side as best you can and it should start to cook. Mix into the rice, but keep the egg on the hot sides as best you can. Keep mixing that bad boy up. Baste rice with sesame oil if you like, for additional flavor. Sprinkle with srirachi sauce or other thick GF hot sauce and add your cheese, stirring in so it melts. Top with nori strips and extra kimchi if you like and serve!
*If you have two burners and both are ready at the same time, have your dining partner doctor his up at the same time you are. You don’t want the stone pot to cool before you add the egg, because it needs to cook. If you are worried about the egg not cooking thoroughly, use pasteurized eggs or omit. Add additional kimchi, cheese, sesame oil, hot sauce and nori as you like and if you find any part of it plain.*
I found this recipe for gochuchang paste online, and i’m wondering if it might turn out well using srirachi instead of the original paste and/ or doubanjiang, Sichuan broad bean paste. Srirachi sauce is gluten free, and I have occasionally found doubanjiang that seemed to be gluten-free. If anyone finds gluten-free gochuchang please let me know the brand!!!
Substitute Gochuchang Paste (seasoned red pepper paste):
4 tablespoons srirachi sauce or doubanjiang
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.
*paste recipe is the only untested part of this recipe- it’s more a future note in case I want to try it later*
YOU WILL HAVE LEFTOVER VEGGIES, especially of the bean sprouts and mushrooms! You can make bibinba another day, make my Korean noodle recipe OR enjoy them on rice in a casual, non stone pot bibinba recipe. Feel free to make less topping quantity as needed.