Cookery Column – Week 2 – Bibimbap

Pablo Aran Terol 9 May 2013

A while ago I came up with an easy, healthy and tasty way to eat your vegetables. I call it ghetto bibimbap because it’s inspired by the Korean classic, but done in a much less elaborate way, which means you can whip it up in 15 minutes flat.

The idea is very simple: a base of basmati rice, stir fried vegetables with garlic, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce, a fried egg and yag-gochujang. You can buy yag-gochujang at Seoul Plaza (your friendly Mill Road shop for all things Korean/Japanese), but you can also make your own, and it will last for months in an airtight container in the fridge.

This is the family recipe from the wife of a Korean friend of mine; if you want to add meat, mix 100g of minced pork with 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and another of ginger and keep it in the fridge for an hour. If you want the vegetarian version skip that step and use the ginger and garlic on the next step.

Take that mix and fry with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, a few cracks of pepper and a tablespoon of sesame oil. Add one cup of gochujang (a Korean condiment made by fermenting red chili, glutinous rice, soybeans and salt), 2 tablespoons of honey and one cup of water. Cook for as long as it’s required to get a consistency similar to ketchup (you can add pear juice to thin it), and mix in a tablespoon of sesame seeds.

The next step is to make some basmati rice, and pick your favourite vegetables. I tend to use at least one green vegetable and one other. If it’s something hard like broccoli, you might want to steam it for a few minutes to help with the cooking. For example, I often use mushrooms/carrots/daikon and broccoli/cabbage/spinach/pak choi.

While the rice cooks add a splash of vegetable oil and a teaspoon of sesame oil on a very hot wok. Add a teaspoon of minced garlic and ginger, stir for a few seconds and add the rest of your vegetables in whatever order is required. Once they are almost done, add a splash of soy sauce and season with salt if necessary.

Your rice should be done by now, so just put the rice into a bowl, sprinkle over a teaspoon of sesame seeds and pour the vegetables on top. Fry an egg sunny side up and place it on top of your vegetables, with a generous squirt of yag-gochujang. Mix everything up and add soy or yag-gochujang to taste.

It’s dead simple, delicious, healthy and can be made in less time that it takes to get a pizza delivered!

Pablo Aran Terol