Bibimbap with tofu & pickled vegetables

We know that it has been terribly quiet around here during the last couple of weeks. Sorry for that. After we had sent the book manuscript to our editor (big sigh of relief there!), all of us needed a short break to catch up on life again. But now we are back. And our plan is to slam you with a whole set of new recipes during this coming autumn. We have for example been making several different delicious desserts with blueberries, but we’ll save that for a later post.

Today we have prepared something that we make more and more frequently in our home. We live only a few blocks from a great Korean restaurant. And after our third take-away from them in ten days, we decided that it was time to learn how to make some Korean food ourselves. Our favorite dish is Bibimbap, so that is what we started with. Bibimbap is not only fun to say, it is also fantastic to eat, as it combines all kind of sweet, strong and sour flavors.

We don’t know how familiar you are with Korean food, so here is a short explanation. A bibimbap is basically a rice dish topped with a variety of vegetables (pickled, stir-fried, cooked or marinated), the Korean chili sauce gochujang and a sunny side fried egg. So far so good, right? Now here comes the wild part. When you have assembled a perfectly balanced and beautiful bowl of vegetables, it is time to take your chopsticks and stir everything into a mess. Not as beautiful anymore, but twice as creamy and delicious. In our version we have added ginger marinated tofu, fresh mango, and use black rise instead of ordinary white. But apart from that it is pretty straight forward.

This dish is great to do when you have a dinner with friends. Both the pickled vegetables and the marinated tofu can be prepared in advance and stored in jars. And when it’s time for dinner, you just cook the rice, fry a few eggs, put vegetables in bowls on the dinner table, and let everyone arrange their own plate.

We sometimes make our own kimchi using David Leibowitz recipe, but you can find ready-made in all Asian supermarkets. There, you will also find Gochujang sauce (apparently it can also be replaced with Sriracha sauce). Don’t take our choice of vegetables too serious, this recipe is great to do when cleaning out the fridge. Almost any vegetable can be used. But don’t skip out on the kimchi or Gochujang sauce, it is what makes the rest of the vegetables sing and sparkke at the edge of your mouth.

Vegetarian Bibimbap
Serves 4

ginger marinated tofu, recipe below
quick pickled cucumber, recipe below
2 cups (500 ml) black rice
2 carrots, cut into thin sticks

½ daikon radish, cut into thin sticks
1 ripe mango, thinly sliced
2 nori sheets, cut into thin strips
200 g oyster or shitake mushroom, sliced
200 g fresh spinach
4 eggs, fried sunny-side-up
1 large handful mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup kimchi, store-bought or homemade (spicy fermented cabbage)
1 tbsp sesame seeds, black or white
¼ cup (1/2 dl) gochujang (Korean chili & soy bean sauce)

Ginger Marinated Tofu
200 g firm tofu
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
2-inch (5 cm) fresh ginger, grated
2 limes, juice

Drain the tofu and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Cut into thin 2-inch (5 cm) wide triangles and place on a large plate. Drizzle with sesame oil, grated ginger and lime juice. Toss so everything is coated. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, turn occasionally.

Quick-Pickled Cucumber
½ large cucumber
6 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp runny honey
½ -inch fresh chilli, minced
a pinch of salt

Divide the cucumber and remove the seeds lengthwise with a small spoon, then slice thinly. Stir the rest of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, add the cucumber slices and toss so all slices are coated. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, toss occasionally. Drain and serve.

How to cook black rice
Place the black rice in a sieve and rinse well, then place in a medium saucepan with 4 cups (1 liter) water and ½ tsp salt, bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat to simmer. Let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. The rice should feel soft, yet chewy. If it is too tough, place the lid back on, remove from the heat and let rest for 10 more minutes.

Preparing Bibimbap Ingredients: Start by making the marinated tofu, the quick-pickled cucumber and then cook the rice. Cut the carrots and daikon into very thin sticks, then slice the mango and cut the nori into thin strips. Set aside in separate bowls. Add olive oil to a large frying pan on medium heat, add the spinach and let cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe the frying pan clean, add a dash of olive oil then fry the mushrooms on medium heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe the pan clean again, then fry the eggs on one side on low heat, you want to keep the yolk loose.

Assembling Bibimbap: You can either make 1 very large bowl or 4 smaller bowls. Place the rice in a bowl, then place tofu, carrots, daikon, mango, nori, cucumber, mushroom, kimchi, spinach, sprouts in small portions around the rice, sprinkle with sesame seeds and top with an egg and a dollop of Gochujang sauce. Stir around, using your chopsticks, before eating.

Enjoy!

45 Comments

  • kylie
    beautiful pictures! exciting to see korean recipe on your website! :) just to add on, traditionally we don't use kimchi in bibimbap because gochuchang is enough but hey, whatever works is good!
    • Hi Kylie, thanks for your comment! You are right that Gochujang is enough for flavoring this dish, but we are both so in love with the kimchi flavor and texture that we have been adding it as well. We rarely follow traditional routes completely. Adding something extra (tofu/mango/kimchi) here and there is all part of making a dish into our own. /David
  • Faye
    Amazing recipe guys, looks so fresh and tasty. I was wondering though, as I love to make things to keep in jars and pots, how long can the tofu and pickled cucumber last for in a sealed jar? and should they be kept in the fridge or out of the fridge? I'd love to know so I can prepare either a bit amount to keep for a while, or smaller portions for the one meal. Thanks so much
    • Hi Faye, if you store pickled vegetables in sealed jars in the fridge they can last for a very long time. At least a few weeks. I would only store marinated tofu a few days in a sealed container in the fridge. Also, if you know that you won't use the tofu immediately, you might want to cut down on the amount of ginger. A longer marination time will make the flavors more intense. /Luise
  • Sini
    Congrats for sending your manuscript! Oh this dish looks so pretty! I'm sure the taste makes you dance around the room. It will be my first bimbimbap EVER! I'm not sure I wanna know what I've missed all my life...
  • Paul
    Most Koreans I know wouldn't use chopsticks to stir but of course a spoon (which always belongs to an original Korean cutlery) - just my five jeon ;-)
    • Thanks for pointing that out Paul. Hope we haven't offended any Koreans, but we still prefer using chopsticks. /David
  • this is by far the prettiest and most amazing looking Bibimbap i have ever seen! i love those bowls, but in restaurants they often lack in ingredients and are served with rice and very little veggies and sides only! will have to make this version this weekend! mhmmm
  • marie
    You've put an Interesting spin on it! Will definitely try it with some mango and pickled cucumber next time. The tofu also sounds amazing! The addition of sesame oil makes it truly korean though, usually its mixed through with all the dried mountain vegetables (dried fern, bellflower roots etc). It's also great with mixed grain rice cooked with red beans and millet in it for a bit of sweetness. :)
  • Usch, vad fint! Looking forward to trying this... And bring on the blueberries--I've just picked so many in our Uppsala woods, and one can only make so many pies and scones (and blueberry gin fizzes)...I need inspiration!
  • This is one of my favorite things to eat, and what a treat to find a recipe for a vegetarian version! I'm longing to buy a set of those heavy, stone bibambap bowls, to develop that beautiful crust on the rice.
    • oooh, that looks delicious! you're much btteer than i. i'm half korean and have yet to make an actual korean dish. so sad. that's what happens when you live at home and have access to a korean mother. lol
  • It's great to have you back! Did you go somewhere nice when you took the time off? I never tried this dish, I only ate in a Korean restaurant once. I'll give it a try, it's very complete: proteins from the egg, vitamins and fibre from the vegetables and carbs from the rice. magic! Bring on the blueberries.
    • Hi Ines, we have stayed at home and in our summer house during the last couple of weeks. Although I took a 2-day trip to watch the olympics in London (yes, I'm a sports nerd). /David
  • As I visited a korean Restaurant in San Francisco I had exactly this dish and I was simply fascinated. But I couldn't remember this exhausting name, thank you so much for remembering me again !
  • Julie Celene
    I'm so excited about the recipe & that I just saw the your app on an ipad commercial!!!
  • Kaisa
    Can't wait to try this, and loving the site. Thank you, tack så mycket!
  • Is the rice warm when you eat it? Or is it room temperature.
    • Hi Samantha, yes the rice should be slightly warm when you eat it. Although the exact temperature is not super important, when we eat this as take-away the rice has usually cooled, and it is still delicious. The temperature is more important in a variation of this dish called Dolsot Bibimbap. Then you serve it in a hot stone/clay pot, which heats everything up and makes the rice brown and crisp. You use a raw egg yolk instead of a fried, since it gets cooked in the heat of the pot. /David
  • Ann Choe
    Eating bibimbap in a sizzling little clay pot is so very delicious!
  • Elide
    One of my favourite dishes! Can not wait to make:)
  • Very nice, this is one of my favourite Korean dishes. Mango is a very interesting addition! I can imagine it working, though.
  • Omitting the egg, but totally making this this weekend to eat on the porch with a fizzy white wine.

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