Korean bibimbap is a bountiful rice bowl with Bulgogi beef, loads of vegetables, spicy sauce and a fried egg on top. It’s one of the best meals imaginable! If you make this at home, you’re going to have some very happy people at the table.
The two most outstanding elements of bibimbap are Korean bulgogi beef and crisp rice. If you’ve ever tried bulgogi beef, you know how incredibly flavorful it is – sweet, salty, garlicky and irresistible. The crisp and crunchy rice is tasty and adds lots of great texture to the bibimbap.
“Bibimbap” means means “mixed rice” in Korean. The “mixed” part doesn’t happen right away. The traditional is to arrange each component of the dish in separate piles in the bowl so you get to fully appreciate each of the beautiful ingredients before you mix everything together.
HOW TO MAKE KOREAN BIBIMBAP
It may seem like bibimbap has an overwhelming amount of ingredients but Korean Bibimbap was not designed to be a complicated time-consuming meal. On the contrary, it was a recipe created to make use of leftovers.
Leftover rice is repurposed and crisped up.
Leftover vegetable side dishes, called banchan, are the toppings.
Bibimbap is a flexible dish that can be as simple or elaborate as you choose. Bulgogi beef is very special and so is the crips rice, so I would definitely include those. But you can select just a couple of vegetables for your bibimbap or lots. Or you can make use of leftover vegetables from last night’s dinner, if you have them.
Add kimchi, if you have some. Thin ribbons of nori make a great garnish. So does a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.
HOW TO MAKE CRISP RICE FOR BIBIMBAP
- Cook up some short-grain white rice or sushi rice a few hours ahead or the day before, because you’ll need cool cooked rice.
- Heat 1 tablespoon sesame in a cast iron skillet. Add the cooked rice to the pan and press it down firmly into the hot skillet with a spatula. Let the rice brown, undisturbed, for 10 – 15 minutes, or until it forms a crisp crust.
- If you want to go all out, you can purchase traditional Korean stone bowls called dolsots to crisp the rice and assemble the bibimbap.
The sauce for bibimbap features the spicy Korean fermented hot pepper paste called Gochujang. You can find it in the Asian section at many grocery stores.
Gochujang is typically mixed with a little vinegar and sesame oil – sometimes sugar. But you can also use it straight up if you like a lot of heat.
MORE DELICIOUS KOREAN RECIPES
- Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps Appetizer which I make every year on New Year’s Eve
- Korean BBQ Burgers with Pickled Onions, Radishes and Miso Mayonnaise – the only burgers my family ever want; and my new favorite weeknight dinner:
- Korean Chicken Stew with Gochujang Sauce – A favorite quick and easy weeknight dinner.
Here’s the recipe for Korean bibimbap. If you make this I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think!Print
Korean rice bowl with delicious Bulgogi marinated beef, assorted vegetables and fried eggs on top.
- Prep Time: 45 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
- Yield: 5 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Korean
- 4 1/2 cups steamed sushi rice or short grain rice (from 1 1/2 cups raw rice) follow package directions.
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil for crisping the rice, if you choose to do that.
- Beef and Marinade
- 1 pound beef tenderloin (or substitute ribeye, sirloin or flank) thinly sliced (1/8″)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons crushed garlic (2 medium cloves)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- For the Sauce:
- 5 tablespoons Korean gochujang (fermented hot pepper paste)
- 2 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (white or cider)
- For the Vegetables
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil, such as canola, divided
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks (see this post for how to cut carrots into matchsticks)
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 pound fresh baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 cups fresh Mung bean sprouts
- 5 eggs, cooked over easy or sunny side up.
- Optional Garnish:
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- A sheet of nori cut into thin ribbons
- Note: Be sure you have your rice cooked and ready.
- Marinate the Beef: In a shallow bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients. Add the beef and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temp or up to 24 hours in the fridge, covered.
- Make the Sauce: Whisk the goghuchang, oil and vinegar. Set aside. (can be stored in the fridge for up to a week)
- Cook the Spinach: Cook the fresh spinach in a large pot of boiling water for 1 minute or so, until bright green and wilted. Strain in a colander. When cool enough to handle, squeeze by hand, to remove excess water. Toss spinach with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoons soy sauce. Set aside.
- Cook the Sprouts: Cook the sprouts in a pot of boiling water for 1 1/2 minutes. Drain and toss with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds.
- Crisp the Rice: Spread 1 tablespoon sesame oil over the bottom of a cast iron skillet and turn the heat to medium. When hot but not smoking add the cooked rice to the pan, pressing it in for maximum contact with the bottom and sides of the hot skillet. Let it brown, undisturbed, for 10 – 15 minutes, or until it forms a crisp crust. (Lift the edge carefully to check it after 10 min)
- *While the rice is browning, cook the eggs, the rest of the veggies and the beef in a separate pan:
- Fry the eggs: You can keep them warm on a baking sheet in a 200ºF oven.
- Cook the Zucchini: Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil over medium-high heat in a wok or skillet and stir-fry the zucchini with garlic for 5 minutes or so, until cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds, if you like.
- Cook the Carrots: Add 1/2 teaspoon canola to the wok or skillet and stir-fry the carrots for 3 minutes or so, until crisp-tender. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Cook the Beef: Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in the same pan, over high heat. Stir-fry half the beef for 1 1 1/2 – 2 minutes or until it’s just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining beef.
- Assemble the bowls: divide rice between 5 large bowls. Divide beef and vegetables and arrange on top of rice. Put a fried egg on top of each bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and nori, if you like. Pass the sauce around.