One of Korea's most famous dishes is 비빔밥 (Bibimbap), it's name means mixed rice and that's exactly what it is. There are many variations (See Zen Kimchi's love letter for more info), but the constant is always rice plus a selection of seasoned vegetables and meats. Sesame oil and chili paste and almost always welcome guests in the bowl and a fried or raw egg is more than likely to make an appearance.
I decided to have a go at making my own version, putting my own stamp on the dish. No egg, no chili paste and a little bit of a european twist - instead of chili paste I made a tomato, garlic and chili reduction to stir into the dish.
I finely chopped two cloves of garlic and two hot green chilies, fried them off in olive oil and added a good glug of tomato passata and let it reduce until thick and sloppy. I left that to cool and got on with preparing the other ingredients.
I chose ten ingredients for my bibimbap:
Thinly sliced raw cucmber.
Thinly sliced carrot sauteed until a little soft in olive oil.
Minced beef, finely chopped green pepper and two cloves of garlic fried and mixed with a couple of spoonfuls of 황매원 (a kind of sour plum juice, though all sorts of juices and alcohols could be substituted.
Thinly sliced aubergine sauteed until a little soft in olive oil.
Chopped garlic shoots quickly sauteed.
Thinly sliced raw red and yellow peppers.
Thinly sliced pyogo mushrooms fried in olive oil and tossed with dark sesame oil.
Sliced oily salty dried seaweed.
Lightly boiled beansprouts.
A variety of tiny sprouts.
After preparation it was time for assembly:
Then the necessary mixing:
Finally... consumption. Honestly speaking it was very tasty, I think as long as the rice is properly cooked then it's quite difficult to mess up. The tomato chili sauce gave a fresh spicy tomato flavour to the dish without overwhelming the other ingredients and the sour plum juice added an extra piquancy.
Though preparation of the ingredients may take a little time, the whole process is relatively easy and can be approached at whatever speed you want. Plus with a little ingenuity and inspiration you can turn what's left in the fridge into something delicious