Westernised Bibimbap

A little while ago, I went to 'OPPA KITCHEN', a Korean restaurant in the Melbourne CBD. It was my very first time sampling Korean food, which strikes a lot of people weird, since I LOVE Asian food. I ordered the bibimbap in the dolsot bowl, excited about the prospect of having crispy rice at the bottom as soon as you pour sesame oil around the edge. The oil sizzled as it made contact with the hot stone, and I salivated at the sound.

Long story short, I went to a Korean grocery store and bought a dolsot bowl for myself.

No more than a day after that, I whipped up some bibimbap, forgoing the chilli paste, because as much as I love spicy food, I wasn't in the mood for anything spicy that night. I put the rice in the cooker, chopped and sautéed some vegetables, fried up some tofu and set the bowl on the stove. Chucked everything into the bowl, arranging the vegetables, and then I let it heat up a little more. Once ready, I brought it with me into the lounge room and as soon as I added the oil around the edges, it sizzled deliciously. Next thing I know, my partner's sitting next to me, begging with his puppy dog eyes for a bite.

We had to buy another bowl for him, because he liked it that much.

You can use a regular bowl to make bibimbap. After all, Korean families make bibimbap as a quick and easy way to use up leftover veggies, mixing it through some freshly cooked rice. Using dolsots requires a bit more effort. I prefer the dolsot way because I can never pass up an opportunity to hear that sizzle, knowing that my rice is frying away into crispy goodness. I love it.

Bibimbap is generally served with cucumber, zucchini, daikon, mushroom, bellflower root, spinach, soybean sprouts, bracken fern stems and gim (similar to nori). Sesame oil, red pepper paste and sesame seeds are also added. Tofu and egg are optional choices. Since I don't always have those at hand, I always use what I have available, such as carrot, capsicum, beans, mushroom, spring onions, etc. It doesn't make sense to head out and buy ingredients specifically for this recipe, especially when it's meant to use up leftover vegetables. I also use egg and tofu with my bibimbap.

In this version, I threw together some purple and regular carrots, a few oyster mushrooms, sliced capsicum, spring onions and baby corn, seasoned with some sesame seed oil and soy sauce. We ran out of eggs so I couldn't add them to my dish. Nonetheless, it was still very delicious!


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