In South Korea, bibimbap was traditionally eaten on the eve of the lunar new year as the people at that time felt that they had to get rid of all of the leftover side dishes before the new year. The solution to this problem was to put all of the leftovers in a bowl of rice and to mix them together. If that’s not Naptime-friendly, I don’t know what is!
And Bibimbap has got it GOING ON! Savory, tangy, creamy, spicy, crispy…it’s awesome! It’s traditional to stir all the toppings together before serving, but I prefer to do that table side so I can show off how pretty the little piles are. It’s like a painting!
Naptime Tip: The pickles, sauce and sautéed vegetables can all be made ahead. Just reheat the veg in the microwave before adding to the rice. Or totally top your rice with real-life leftover veg! It IS traditional!
Serves 6. Recipe slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
For the pickles
1 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin on bias
4 ounces (2 cups) bean sprouts
For the chile sauce
¼ cup gochujang
3 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. sugar
For the rice
2½ cups short-grain white rice
2 ½ cups water
¾ teaspoon salt
For the vegetables
½ cup water
3 scallions, minced
3 Tbs. soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 carrots, peeled and shredded (2 cups)
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced thin
1 (10-ounce) bag curly-leaf spinach, stemmed and chopped coarse
For the bibimbap
2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
5-6 large eggs (1 per person)
For the pickles- Whisk vinegar, sugar, and salt together in medium bowl. Add cucumber and bean sprouts and toss to combine. Gently press on vegetables to submerge. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
For the chile sauce- Whisk gochujang, water, oil, and sugar together in small bowl. Cover and set aside.
For the rice- Bring rice, water, and salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove rice from heat and let sit, covered, until tender, about 15 minutes.
For the vegetables- While rice cooks, stir together water, scallions, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add carrots and stir until coated. Add 1/3 cup scallion mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until carrots are slightly softened and moisture has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrots to small bowl.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty pot until shimmering. Add mushrooms and stir until coated with oil. Add 1/3 cup scallion mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender and moisture has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to second small bowl.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty pot until shimmering. Add spinach and remaining 1/3 cup scallion mixture and stir to coat spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until spinach is completely wilted but still bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer spinach to third small bowl. Discard any remaining liquid and wipe out pot with paper towel.
For the bibimbap- Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and sesame oil in now-empty pot over high heat until shimmering. Carefully add cooked rice and gently press into even layer. Cook, without stirring, until rice begins to form crust on bottom of pot, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrots, spinach, and mushrooms to pot and arrange in piles that cover surface of rice. Reduce heat to low.
While a crust forms, heat remaining 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over low heat for 5 minutes. Crack eggs into small bowl. Pour eggs into skillet; cover and cook (about 2 minutes for runny yolks, 2½ minutes for soft but set yolks, and 3 minutes for firmly set yolks). Season with salt. Carefully top the vegetables and rice with the eggs. Drizzle over a little sauce then present your masterpiece to the table!
To serve, without disturbing the bottom crust, use a wooden spoon to stir the rice, vegetables, and eggs until combined. Then scoop out portions, making sure everyone gets some crispy crust. Top with pickles and more sauce as desired. Enjoy!