It's easy to understand why Bibimbap is one of Korea's most popular dishes. Each person at the table gets his or her own individual bowl, filled with the most incredible arrangement of delicacies: crisped rice, assorted veggies, a fried egg, spicy sauce and, the star of the show, marinated Bulgogi beef.
Bibimbap means mixed rice in Korean. But the mixing part doesn't happen right away. The traditional way to serve bibimbap is to arrange each bowl with rice on the bottom and little colorful piles of beef and veggies on top. That way you can fully appreciate each of the beautiful ingredients separately before you mix them all together.
The two most outstanding elements of bibimbap are the bulgogi beef and the crisp rice. If you've ever tried bulgogi beef, you know how flavorful it is - sweet, salty, garlicky and irresistible. For the crisp rice, cold rice is seared in a hot pan until it develops a crust. That golden crispy crunchy rice with its nutty browned flavor adds a lot of excitement to the bibimbap.
How to make Korean Bibimbap
It may seem like bibimbap has an overwhelming amount of ingredients however Korean Bibimbap is not designed to be a complicated time-consuming meal. On the contrary, it's 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. Sauté whatever veggies you have in house or make use of leftover vegetables from last night's dinner.
- Add kimchi, if you have it.
- Garnish bibimbap with thin ribbons of nori or a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.
- Follow my recipe or create your own but whatever you do, don't skip the amazing Bulgogi beef or the crisp rice!
How to make crisp rice for bibimbap
You'll need cooked short grain rice and a cast iron skillet.
- 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 for this.
- 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.
Sauce for 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. It's sweet, savory, spicy and wonderful!
If you love Korean food, here are a few other delicious Korean recipes to try
- 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.
- Korean Chicken Stew with Gochujang Sauce - A favorite 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