Gluten-Free Vegetarian Bibimbap Recipe with Roasted Sesame Green Bean recipe and Vegetarian Tempeh Bulgogi recipe


bibbinbahalf.jpgI had never heard of the Korean dish bibimbap before I moved to Japan, where it is called bibbinba (ビビンバ). Luckily, the food court at Saty (a department store/ grocery store/ mall) near our apartment had a food court with a wonderful bibbinba shop and I had the opportunity to try it. Once I tried it, I was hooked, although now that I know a little more, I realize that restaurant bibbinba probably will contain a small amount of (wheat based) soy sauce. However, it certainly looked safe and was a gloriously rice based dish, so I was thrilled to discover it. But what is bibbinba, or bibimbap?

bibbintop.jpg“Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish. The word literally means “mixed rice” or “mixed meal”. (It is also sometimes spelled “bibimba,” “bibimbab” or “bibimbop”). Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables), beef, a fried egg, and gochujang (chile pepper paste). 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 placed so that adjacent colors complement each other. Many areas of Korea typically serve a vegetarian version of the dish which may well be the more traditional alternative.” (source: Wikipedia)

bibbintoppings2.jpgFast food Bibbinba chains in Japan carried a broad range of toppings, from tuna mayo, cheese, fish eggs, and of course varieties of meat. I stuck with “ishi-yaki Bibbinba, niku nashi” (Hot stone pot bibbinba, without meat), occasionally getting cheese as an extra topping. (Cheese make everything melty and extra crispy!) However, the diversity of offerings was impressive and enticing. What’s not to love about a stone pot, heated at high temperatures, filled with rice, vegetable and protein toppings, garnished with an egg that you crack over the pot, mix in and let get cooked and crunchy with the rest of the ingredients? They also served the bibbinba with a wonderful, light, salty sesame wakame broth that I’d love to replicate. I certainly ate (more than) my fair share of bibbinba while I was in Japan, and even bought some of the stone pots to bring back to the states with me. I haven’t perfected a hot stone pot bibbinba recipe yet, but the other night I decided to try making my own version of cool vegetarian bibimbap for dinner.

How to make bibimbap / bibbinba:
bibbasst1.jpgI made a fresh batch of rice, ideally fluffed and brought to room temperature, and then stir-fried, roasted and sauteed a variety of ingredients to be combined in my own version a classic Korean dish. I decided to use tempeh because I thought it would approximate the texture of ground beef that is often added to bibimbap, and modified a bulogi recipe for the marinade. However, you could also use tofu or use my favorite grilled tofu recipe, cubed or cut into strips, as a protein alternative. Sesame oil is the most important element in this recipe, but the toppings can be varied to taste. I love soybean sprouts, and fern bracken is traditional, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I left them out. Chili sauce (gochujang) is a vital element to the recipe, but most traditional korean brands contain wheat. You can use Japanese kimchi chili seasoning or a thai or vietnamese chili garlic sauce. They will usually be thinner than gochujang, but will add the heat that really makes this dish sing. Alternatively, you can make your own gochujang. I plan to come up with a recipe for this in the future, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. The nice thing is, the toppings make great leftovers with extra rice, or you can cook up another batch of rice and have bibbinba all over again for lunch or even breakfast. (Sounds good to me!)

bibbinbatiff2.jpgI served my bibbinba in Indian tiffin containers, making this a true experiment in fusion cuisine. We had an Indonesian protein (tempeh), with Korean vegetables, and Japan-grown rice served in an Indian container. The tasty, light flavors of Korean vegetables complimented the heavier taste of seasoned veggies and tempeh, and all together, the dish contained a harmonious blend of flavors that was a delight to consume. So the next time you can’t bear another plate of rice and beans, or vegetable sushi- why not try rice a whole new way, inspired by the mixed rice tradition of Korea? The fresh-tasting vegetables, sesame oil and hot sauce will make your mouth happy, and the rice will fill your stomach- what’s not to like about that?

bibbinbarice.jpg bibbinbahalf3.jpg riceplate2.jpg

Make Bibbinba with Maang Chi:

Japanese Video “documentary” on Ishi-yaki bibinba (J), aka Dolsot Bibimbap (K) or Stone pot Mixed Rice:

Pescatarians may enjoy my recipe for kimchi stew from my post on fusion onigiri.

AND Don’t forget to Enter my Contest for a free Bette Hagman or vegetarian cookbook!

Korean Vegetarian Bibinbap Recipe
3 cups cooked, short grain rice (fresh from rice cooker)
Sesame seeds

2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt or less
1/2 tsp black pepper

Toasted sesame oil

1/2 to 1 cup Spinach (more if you want spinach leftovers)
1 Sweet Red Pepper, cut into squares
Green Onions, cut into large pieces
Optional- cucumber, fern bracken, soy bean sprouts
Optional- 1 egg per serving (2 for 2 people, 3 for 3 etc.)

Tempeh or Tofu Bulogi (recipe follows)
Sesame mushrooms (recipe follows)
Sesame green beans (recipe follows)
kimchi (gluten-free, read container carefully)
hot chili sauce (most Korean varieties contain wheat flour as thickener so you may want to use a Thai etc. chili garlic sauce)

Prepare tempeh, mushrooms, green beans etc.

Start your rice in the rice cooker. White rice is most typical, but you can also use short-grained brown rice.

Combine brown sugar, salt and pepper. Clean and dry spinach, red pepper etc. Put spinach on a plate or in a bowl and mix with some of the brown sugar mixture. Pour a bit of sesame oil on your spinach and evenly distribute it over the leaves. Stir-fry your spinach in a cast iron pan or wok until bright green and lightly done. Remove from pan and reserve. Season your red pepper in the same way (with brown sugar mixture and sesame oil), stir-fry, and reserve. Do the same thing with the rest of your plain vegetables.

To plate, fluff your rice, place in a bowl and top with assorted veggies and tempeh/tofu. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Fry your egg in a little sesame oil and place on top of the veggies and tempeh. (optional) Add a dollop of chili sauce if desired, and serve.

Vegetarian Korean Tempeh Bulgogi Recipe
Side Dish  Tofu  Korean  
1/8 cup GF low sodium tamari (san-j etc.)
1 tbsp. mirin
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. grated apple
1 or 2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lg clove garlic, pressed
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp black pepper

1 package gluten-free tempeh (read label)

sesame seeds

1 tbsp. sesame oil or more for frying, add peanut oil if you like

Combine above marinade ingredients.

Steam tempeh according to directions on package, and slice into thin strips. Marinate for as long as possible, ideally at least three hours.

Either baste tempeh in sesame oil and grill, OR heat sesame oil in cast iron pan and fry, turning over once when browned. Remove from pan and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Reserve for recipe. Can be crumbled or eaten as is.

Quantity of marinade can be increased if you like- this is a bit skimpy for the larger packages of tempeh.
Korean Roasted Sesame Green Bean Recipe
1 lb green beans, washed and patted dry
1 tbsp. oil of choice

1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

toasted sesame seeds

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put your green beans on your baking sheet and drizzle oil on beans, mixing beans around so oil gets evenly distributed. Season with a pinch of salt and roast in oven for ten minutes.

Combine garlic with other ingredients in a large or medium bowl. After green beans have roasted for ten minutes, take them out and use tongs to put them in the bowl. Combine green beans with seasoning, using large spoon or tongs to mix them. Put green beans back on your baking sheet and roast for another 10 or 12 minutes.

This will make a side dish serving for four, so you can use a little in your bib bimbap recipe and then use the rest later for lunches or snacks.
Sesame Ginger Mushroom Recipe
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and quartered
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp minced or grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp mirin
1 1/2 tbsp wheat-free tamari (San-J)
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 green onions, sliced thinly
Heat half of your peanut oil on medium in a cast iron pan or wok until hot and add mushrooms, stirring for about five minutes. Turn up heat a little and cook for a little while longer, then adding rest of your peanut oil and stirring. Cook for another five minutes or so.

Add sesame seed and ginger, heat and then add mirin and tamari, stirring until liquid dissipates. Take off heat and season with sesame oil and green onions.

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11 Responses to “Gluten-Free Vegetarian Bibimbap Recipe with Roasted Sesame Green Bean recipe and Vegetarian Tempeh Bulgogi recipe”

  1. [...] Side Dishes of the week: Roasted Green Beans, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Brown Rice, Black Eyed Peas and Greens (Double Yum) Dessert of the week: Sweet rice flour crepes with fruit filling and sweet cashew cream Posts on the Drawing Board: The night the boy and I baked a gluten-free lemon cream meringue pie recipe Pamela’s Healthy Banana Muffin Recipe Green Mole Enchiladas with Tofu, leek saute filling and queso fresca recipe Gluten-Free Bibbinba with Roasted Sesame Green Bean recipe and sesame spinach recipe Gluten-Free at Austrian Christmas Markets: Survival Tips and Gluwein Recipe Gluten-Free in Salzburg, Austria: Restaurant Review Gluten-Free Gasthaus: Gluten Free Goods in Austria- the question of wheat starch 3 Comments   1. January 20, 2008 11:18 pm by Bella The polenta fries sound delicious…we will have to try those out in our kitchen sometime! [...]

  2. My Dear Sea….
    I LOVE this post so very much. We are HUGE HUGE HUGE bimbimbap fans – especially in the winter – it heats your bones. I’ve never tried to make it at home as authentically as this recipe will allow me to do. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  3. I’ve heard of bimbimbap but have never made it–looks completely yummy! This might have to go on my menu this week…I’m determined to join the swap again. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  4. Mmmmmmm, Bulgogi! I just made this last week (though I was craving it so much, I made the traditional version). I never thought of using tempeh, I’ll have to give it a go!

    BTW, my dd and I are flying out to Seattle to stay with some friends in a few weeks. We’ll wave to you as we land!

    OK, off to put Tempeh on the grocery list…………


  5. Oh my god, the bibimbap looks so good! I haven’t had it in a while. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. [...] Korean and Japanese Cold Bibbinba (bibimbop) Rice with vegetarian toppings miso [...]

  7. Dear Kate- Thanks! This is a fusion recipe, especially the tempeh part, but there’s nothing like fresh, delicious bibinbap made in your own kitchen! I hope you enjoy it!

    Hi Kara, Glad you’re going to join the menu swap again- come by anytime! :)

    Hi Mars- Have a great trip! My family lives in Washington state, and the Seattle/Bellevue area will always be home to me! If you’re gluten-free, definitely check out the Davinci cafe and Sunny Valley Wheat Free Bakery. (Links currently on left of the main blog page) I wrote reviews of these two Seattle GF restaurant Bakeries in 2006 and posted them on the SillyYaks Message board. You can do a search on the board to read them, and also I will try to revise the reviews a little and post them here in the next few days.

    Hi Joy- You’re very welcome! Enjoy!


  8. [...] 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 [...]

  9. Yum! We just had the beans as a side dish with dinner tonight, and they were fab. Super super yum! They’ll definitely be a frequent repeat.

  10. I live in Korea. Where can I buy tempeh!?

  11. I have never been to Korea, although I lived in Japan for several years. I don’t recall seeing tempeh in Japan, but you might try any macrobiotic health stores.


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