Bibimbap – Trust the Koreans to transform the humble rice bowl into a recipe that’s revered all around the world! With a kaleidoscope of seasoned sautéed vegetables, Korean marinated beef, and the signature fried egg, the thing that really seals the deal is the bright red, spicy Bibimbap Sauce that I can’t get enough of.
Mix it all up into one big delicious mess, then dig in!
I am a little obsessed with Bibimbap. I’d go as far as to say that it’s my favourite Korean food – but it always concerns me when I make grand statements like that because I’m worried I’ve said that about another Korean recipe I’ve previously shared.
No one’s ever accused me of being unenthusiastic, that’s for sure!
Bibimbap is one of the most well known Korean dishes. A rice bowl topped with all sorts of seasoned sautéed vegetables, marinated meat (usually beef), a fried egg sunny side up, finished with a sprinkle of sesame and generous dollop of a sweet-spicy-savoury Bibimbap sauce. <- Heads up, this sauce is so awesome, you can basically use any vegetables and any meat and your Bibimbap is going to be delish!
Lengthy – but repetitive!
There’s no denying it – this recipe has more components to it than my quick ‘n easy one pot meals because all the toppings are seasoned and cooked separately.
But the simple seasonings are largely repetitive and it is a very straightforward, leisurely recipe you can start and stop as you please because it’s MEANT to be served at room temp!
I’m going to walk through each of the components here, but if you’re feeling impatient, just skip ahead to the recipe!
It’s probably not “normal” to start with the Bibimbap Sauce, but I am because I think it makes this dish. You can use any vegetables and any protein (even tofu) and your bibimbap will still be SO GOOD once it’s all mixed up with the rice and this sauce!
The essential ingredient in Bibimbap Sauce is Gochujang, an intense flavoured spicy miso paste that’s key to Korean cooking. Find it at Asian grocery stores (it’s cheap, ~$2.50, and lasts for ages), at some Woolworths stores (Australia), and here it is on Amazon Australia, US, Canada and UK.
Nowadays, you’ll find Bibimbap with all sorts of meat toppings but the traditional version is made with thinly sliced beef. The beef seasoning is usually a slightly toned down version of Bulgogi (Korean Marinated Beef). We don’t need big flavour on the beef because the Bibimbap Sauce adds tons of flavour. Some recipes even use just basic soy-garlic-sesame oil combination.
But I like each component on my Bibimbap to be tasty enough to eat on its own so I use a scaled back Bulgogi marinade.
The unique ingredient in Bulgogi is grated apple – this is a signature technique used in Korean marinades to add flavour, sweetness and tenderise! Nashi pear is also commonly used.
Totally! Chicken, turkey or pork finally sliced or cut into thin strips, small prawns/shrimp or even fish fillets (cook whole then flake).
This is the part that some people find tedious but I don’t find to be a big deal at all – cooking each of the vegetables individually.
Here’s how it goes down:
- Shiitake mushrooms – soak in boiling water, then slice and sauté with garlic, soy and sugar. Fresh also ok, but dried has more intense flavour.
- Zucchini and carrot – cut into batons, optional to sprinkle with salt then leave for 20 minutes (I often skip this), then sauté until soft.
- Spinach – chop then sauté, super quick!
- Beansprouts – steam or boil until wilted, squeeze out excess liquid then season with garlic, sesame and fish sauce OR soy sauce.
Simple, right?? Get two pans going if you’re impatient!
So. Many. Options! Here are some suggestions to replace the vegetables I use:
- Dried shiitake – sub with any fresh mushrooms
- Carrot and zucchini – sub with asparagus, green beans, broccolini (halve lenthgwise), snow peas (slice, peppers/capsicum
- Spinach and bean sprouts – kale, silverbeet, cabbage (sliced), leafy Asian greens
My favourite part! (Aside from eating it of course… and breaking the yolk… and mixing it all up… OK fine. It’s my 4th favourite part!)
There are no rules about the order in which the vegetables and meat get placed on the rice, but try to use alternating colours just to make it look as good as it tastes.
How to eat Bibimbap
Part of the whole Bibimbap experience is how the bowl comes to you looking as pretty as a picture, then you get to dollop on as much Bibimbap Sauce as you want (I use about 2 tbsp), then after all that hard work preparing the bowls, you mix it all up and turn it into a delicious mess.
That first mouthful… I try to get a bit of everything, including a bit of runny yolk.
Then after that, I don’t care – I just get stuck into it.
I was going to sign off there, but I better leave you with a slightly neater photo of Bimbimbap.
– Nagi x
PS If the photos haven’t convince you, the video surely will!↓↓↓
Watch how to make it
Recipe VIDEO above. One of Korea’s most famous food exports! The key here is the Bibimbap Sauce – feel free to switch the veg and meat, whatever you use is going to be amazing once mixed up with that Sauce. There’s a lot of components here but there’s repeat ingredients and it’s an easy recipe – and it’s MEANT to be served at room temp so don’t rush!
- 4 cups cooked white rice (, preferably short grain (Note 1))
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
Korean Beef & Marinade:
- 250 g/8oz beef tenderloin or thick steak (, very finely sliced (subs, Note 2))
- 1/4 green apple (, grated using box grater (Note 3))
- 3 garlic cloves (, minced)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (, light or all purpose (Note 4))
- 1 tbsp honey ((or brown sugar))
- 2 tsp sesame oil (, toasted (Note 9))
- 2 carrots (, large, cut into 5 x 0.5cm/2 x 1/5″ batons)
- 2 zucchini (, large, cut into 5 x 0.5cm/2 x 1/5″ batons)
- 1 bunch of spinach (, cut into 5cm/2″ lengths)
- 8 dried shiitake mushrooms (, large (Note 5))
- 4 cups bean sprouts
- 2 tsp garlic (, minced (3 cloves))
- 8 tsp vegetable oil (, separated)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp soy sauce (, light or all purpose (Note 4))
- 1/4 tsp fish sauce ((sub soy))
- 1/4 tsp white sugar
- Sesame oil (, toasted (Note 9))
- 4 tbsp gochujang paste ((Note 6))
- 2 tbsp mirin ((Note 7))
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar ((Note 8))
- 1.5 tsp soy sauce ((Note 4))
- 3 tsp white sugar
- 1 garlic clove (, finely grated)
- 2.5 tsp sesame oil (, toasted (Note 9))
- Mix ingredients until sugar is dissolved.
Mix the marinade in a bowl, then add beef. Marinate for 30 minutes to overnight.
Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. Let excess marinade drip off then add beef. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes until cooked and there’s some caramelised bits, then remove from skillet.
Keep warm until required or reheat to warm.
Shiitake: Soak mushrooms in a large bowl of boiling water for 30 minutes, or until rehydrated. Drain, squeeze out excess water, then slice.
- Carrot and Zucchini salting (optional, Note 10): Place carrot and zucchini in separate bowls, sprinkle each with 1/4 tsp salt, toss, leave for 20 minutes then drain excess liquid.
Get 2 skillets going if you can!
Shiitake: Heat 2 tsp oil oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook mushrooms for 2 minutes. Add 1.5 tsp soy, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp of garlic. Stir for 1 minute, then remove.
Carrot: Add 2 tsp oil into the skillet, cook carrot until just tender (5 to 8 minutes), then remove.
Zucchini: Cook as with carrot for 4 minutes.
Spinach: Heat 2 tsp veg with a splash of sesame oil. Saute until starting to wilt. Add 1/2 tsp garlic, and salt to taste, stir, then remove. When cool, squeeze to drain out excess liquid.
Beansprouts: Simmer in water for 5 min or steam in microwave for 3 min until floppy. Drain under cold water, then cool. Squeeze out excess liquid with hands, place in bowl. Mix with 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp garlic, 1/4 tsp fish sauce.
Vegetables can cool, they are meant to be at room temp or slightly warm.
- Fry eggs in a skillet to your taste (I like mine with runny yolks).
- Place warm rice in bowls.
Top with vegetables and beef, as pictured in post, then lastly, the egg.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, drizzled with sesame oil. Serve with Bibimbap Sauce!
1. Rice – traditionally served with short grain white rice, can also use sushi rice (which is a short grain rice). Short grain is stickier so it’s easier to pick up with chopsticks. Any white or other rice of choice is also fine.
2. Beef – you can buy finely sliced beef in the freezer section of Asian stores, and I strongly urge you to do that if you can, I usually do! To do it yourself (which I did for the video & photos), use any tender cut of beef suitable for quick cooking (I used tenderloin). To slice super finely (the “Asian” way!), freeze for 30 to 60 minutes until firm but not rock hard, then finely slice as thin as possible.
3. Apple – using grated apple and nashi pears is a classic Korean marinade technique. Adds a touch of flavour, sweetness and tenderises the meat.
4. Soy sauce – use light or all purpose soy. Do not use soy labelled as dark soy or sweet soy.
5. Shiitake Mushrooms – dried mushrooms are found in larger supermarkets in Australia, but cheaper at Asian stores! Use 8 large or 12 small.
Sub fresh shiitake (but dried has more intense flavour), or any other fresh mushrooms (skip the soaking step).
6. Gochujang – a spicy red miso based based, lots of umami! Key Korean cooking ingredient. Find it at Asian grocery stores (it’s cheap, ~$2.50, and lasts for ages), at some Woolworths stores (Australia), and here it is on Amazon Australia, US, Canada and UK.
7. Mirin – Sweet Japanese cooking wine, also used in Korean cooking. Sold at Asian grocery stores and large supermarkets (Coles, Woolies, Aldi in Aus)
8. Rice Vinegar – Sold at Asian grocery stores and large supermarkets (Coles, Woolies, Aldi in Aus), sub with apple cider or white wine vinegar.
9. Sesame Oil – use toasted sesame oil, stronger flavour. Toasted is brown liquid, untoasted is yellow (not common in Australia).
10. Optional salting zucchini & carrot – this seasons the veg all the way through. I often skip this and just add the salt when sautéing.
11. Storage – This is SUCH a great meal prep! Keeps for 4 to 5 days. Also great bento box because it’s terrific at room temp! Can also freeze the beef straight after adding into marinade (it will marinade as it thaws).
12. Recipe references – I tend to research traditional ethnic foods quite a lot before sharing them so my end result reflects the best bits of all of them and tweaks to my taste! References include online Korean cooking experts such as Maangchi, My Korean Kitchen (Aussie Korean food blog!), Korean Bapsang and Beyond Kimchee as well as a bunch of Korean cookbooks (some browsed at the library, some at the bookshop and some I own!).
13. Nutrition includes 1 cup of cooked rice per serving.
Life of Dozer
Yes Dozer. I am absolutely going to play tug of war with you, with that furry toy that’s soaked with your slobber.