Very, very special meal!
This is the very, very special meal I was so wickedly tempting you with last week.
It is called Bibimbap. It is a super traditional Korean dish. It literally means “mixed meal” (because after it is placed in front of you, you best mix all those compartments of yum up). It looks like mother nature’s painting palette. And it is usually off-limits to low-sodium eaters–mostly due to the salty chili pepper paste that is so wonderfully and deliciously dumped all over it.
For years, I watched as adventurous eater friends dove into authentic Korean food dives and got their sloppy Bibimbap on. Every restaurant seemed to have their own magical formula, swapping bean sprouts for fern stem or seafood for beef. Sometimes the dish was served cold, while others continued to cook the ingredients in a hot stone bowl. And other than that salty chili paste, it seemed most of the flavor came from the seasonal and colorful ingredients that topped the fluffy rice. No matter how a particular restaurant bim’d or bap’d, it always looked healthy, filling, and impossibly beautiful.
And I just couldn’t stand not being able to eat it anymore.
So I finally put together my own bowl of Bap at home, salt-free.
All it takes is:
1) a handful of fresh, julienned vegetables
2) which get a quick stir-fry in a hot and sesame-oiled wok or pan
3) some white, steamed rice
4) sliced meat or tofu
5) and a fried (or purple) egg.
Really, it’s that simple. And it is completely worth the minimal effort — especially if you are having guests over. Because, man, this dish is a looker. And you can constantly change up the ingredients depending on your needs, likes, and dislikes. Winner, winner, Bibimbap dinner.
Need more direction?
For the particular beauty bowl you see above, I marinated my choice of meat (pork) in some Ginger People Sweet Chili Sauce and a dash of rice wine vinegar.
Then, for the vegetable components, I went with matchsticked daikon and yellow squash, which I very quickly softened in my sesame-oiled pan. Literally only a minute or two max.
I also thinly sliced some green onions into thin strips instead of making usual coins. Which ended up looking like tasty ribbons.
Then, I added some bright pickled purple cabbage (see previous post) and my lavender boiled egg; my pan-fried and carved up marinated pork; and some chopped collard greens that were quickly wilted in the leftover pork juices and oil, soaking up all that holy pork, ginger, chili goodness.
And to serve, I added a little extra Sweet Chili Sauce and lime wedges for guests to pour and squeeze as desired.
That’s how I Bap’d.
How will you?
Chow on. Korean style.