A rainbow of vegetables top rice cooked with sesame oil. Toss the Korean dish with spicy gochujang and top with tofu, meats, or an egg.
By Emily Watson
Bibimbap is a Korean dish composed of a beautiful rainbow of gently cooked vegetables seasoned with sesame oil atop rice. Tofu or meat, with or without an egg, can be added. While it can be served cold or room temperature, my favorite way to eat it is hot, served in a stone pot called a dolsot. I love the way the rice turns golden and crispy on the bottom. It reminds me of that crispy layer you find on the bottom of a Spanish paella. Traditional bibimbap is tossed with a generous dousing of gochujang, a red chili pepper paste, and I know my Korean friends would be disappointed to know that I do not really care for the paste and never put it on.
I had been wanting to try to make the dish at home for a while, but I always wondered how I would achieve that addictive crispiness without a dolsot. It was silly, really, that I did not think of using a cast iron skillet as a substitute before. And it works spectacularly. The pan is brushed with a generous film of sesame oil, brown rice is packed on top, and vegetables are arranged in neat little piles. More sesame oil is drizzled along the sides, and then the skillet cooks over medium high heat until the rice becomes toasty. I added a fried egg, sprinkled a little chopped toasted nori and toasted sesame seeds all over for extra goodness. I do not serve mine with gochujang because it is not something I care for, but feel free to serve it alongside or add another hot sauce.
For guidance in preparing the bibimbap, I referenced this recipe from Martine of Petit World Citizen and adapted it to suit my preferences and what I found worked best in the kitchen.
Emily Watson is the blogger and recipe developer behind the blog, Nourishing Matters. She is on a mission to make whole foods delicious. Emily is also a yoga instructor and enjoys helping students cultivate that balance between effort and ease. She majored in Romance Languages at Dartmouth College, and her travels abroad continue to inspire her in the kitchen. She lives in Philadelphia and loves exploring the ever-changing local food scene.