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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade


The term bibim means "mixing" and bap is cooked rice. It is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed or blanched seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A sunny side up egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions, stirred together thoroughly just before eating.

"In 2017, the dish was listed at number 40 on the World's 50 most delicious foods readers' poll compiled by CNN Travel."

"The exact origin of bibimbap is unknown. People could have started mixing bap (rice) with banchan (side dishes) after the outdoor jesa (rites), such as sansinje (rite for mountain gods) or dongsinje (rite for village gods), where they needed to "eat with the god" but did not have as many cooking pots and items of crockery as they would normally have at home.

Some scholars assert that bibimbap originates from the traditional practice of mixing all the food offerings made at an jesa (ancestral rite) in a bowl before partaking of it.

Ordinary people ate bibimbap on the eve of the lunar new year as the people at that time felt that they had to get rid of all the leftover side dishes before the new year. The solution to this problem was to put all the leftovers in a bowl of rice and to mix them together. Farmers ate bibimbap during farming season as it was the easiest way to make food for a large number of people.

Bibimbap was served to the king, usually as a lunch or a between-meal snack. There was more than vegetables in this bibimbap."

"There are various kinds of bibimbap depending on the ingredients used. Vegetables commonly used in bibimbap include julienned oi (cucumber), aehobak (courgette/zucchini), mu (radish), mushrooms, doraji (bellflower root), and gim (a group of edible dried seaweeds), as well as spinach, soybean sprouts, and gosari (bracken fern stems). Dubu (tofu), either plain or sautéed, or a leaf of lettuce may be added, or chicken or seafood may be substituted for beef. For visual appeal, the vegetables are often placed so adjacent colors complement each other. In the South Korean version, sesame oil, red pepper paste (gochujang), and sesame seeds are added."

"Traditional bibimbap uses the five colors (white, yellow, red, black, green) which represent the five elements/directions of the universe according to Korean traditional philosophy.

Symbolism may be attached to the ingredients of bibimbap. Black or dark colors represent north and the kidneys – for instance, shitake mushrooms, bracken ferns or nori seaweed. Red or orange represents south and the heart, with chili, carrots, and jujube dates. Green represents east and the liver, with cucumber and spinach. White is west or the lungs, with foods such as bean sprouts, radish, and rice. Yellow represents the centre, or stomach. Foods include pumpkin, potato or egg."

Ingredients for 2 people

minced beef 200 grams (7 ounces) (We bought the already shaved beef)

sushi rice (short grain) 180 grams, cooked (6.3 ounces)

handful dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 eggs

2 to 3 carrots, peeled (depending on size)

150-200 grams fresh spinach (2 handfuls)

150-200 grams bean sprouts (2 handfuls)

1 to 2 zucchini (depending on size)

6 to 7 cloves of garlic pressed

1 to 2 stems green onion

sesame oil

salt, pepper, sugar

soy sauce

cooking oil (sunflower or canola)

toasted sesame seeds

Spicy Sauce; mix together well and set aside

2 Tbsp gochujang, mix with 1 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp sesame oil


Mushroom water

Put a handful dried mushrooms in a cup, fill it with hot water. Set aside.

Cook Rice

Boil water in a medium size pot for blanching vegetables

Prep Vegetables

1.Cut carrots and zucchini into match sticks. Set aside.

2. Thinly chop 1 to 2 stems green onion. Set aside.

3. Peel and press 6 - 7 cloves of garlic. Set aside.

4.Mix sweet soy sauce (for spinach and beef later)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp shiitake water

1 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp pressed garlic

1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

5. Blanch bean sprouts

When the water boils, put in 1 Tbsp salt into the water. Cook two handfuls bean sprouts for 1 minute in the boiling water. Use a sieve to remove and rinse with cold water. Squeeze water out and place in a small bowl.

Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp sesame oil, and the chopped green parts of the green onion. Toss the bean sprouts to marinate. Set aside on a plate.

6. Blanch spinach

Put spinach in boiling water. Blanch for 10 seconds. Remove spinach with sieve and rinse spinach with cold water. Squeeze out water.

Add 1.5 Tbsp of the sweet soy sauce to the spinach and toss with your hand. Set aside.

7. Cook zucchini

Set frying pan on high heat and add 2 Tbsp cooking oil. Add zucchini and fry until softened.

Add 1 tsp garlic and 2-3 Tbsp shiitake mushroom water. Stir fry to blend. Turn off heat and drizzle 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.

8. Cook Carrots

Drizzle 2 Tbsp oil in a hot pan and add carrots and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked al-dente. Add in some mushroom water when the pan is too dry.

Add 1/2 tsp garlic just before carrots are done. Turn off heat and drizzle 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.

9. Shiitake mushroom

Squeeze the water out and set the mushrooms aside.

10. Cook shiitake mushrooms and beef

Drizzle 2 Tbsp oil in a hot pan and fry the green onions for approximately 10 seconds. Add in the shiitake mushrooms and fry for approximately 20 seconds.

Add in the minced beef and sprinkle some black pepper on the meat. Fry until the meat is almost cooked. Then, add in the remaining sweet soy sauce mixture and cook for approximately 30 seconds on high heat so the sauce blends with the beef. Turn off the heat and remove the beef from the pan and set aside.

11. Cook the sunny side eggs (1 egg per person)

Drizzle 2 Tbsp oil in the frying pan and fry eggs (keep the egg yoke uncooked). Sprinkle salt and pepper.

Assemble and Serve

In a ceramic pot or a large bowl, put in a scoop of rice. On top of the rice in the middle, place the fried egg. Place the prepared vegetables and meat around the egg. Arrange it nicely so you see the egg yoke. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the toppings and serve with the spicy sauce. Mix everything together before you eat.

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