So, imagine the surprise when I moved out to the DMV area and found food from all over the world. It was like a door to a whole knew universe had been opened! Just in my neighborhood alone, I can walk down the street and eat everything from Ethiopia's famous injera to Japanese sashimi to Swiss raclette. (Is anyone else's mouth watering yet?) Over the years, I've come to adore food from all parts of Asia, but am especially fond of Korean bipimbap.
I was first introduced to this Korean comfort food dish by a friend who's somewhat of a Korean food conissour. From kimchi to Korean BBQ, she's all over it! For those who don't already know, bipimbap literally means "mixed rice," and is a warm rice dish served traditionally with vegetables, beef and a fried egg. I have to admit, I was a little weirded out by the egg at first, but one bite and I was in love!
I'd tried to make a simplified version of bipimbap at home a few times, but it never turned out that great--there was just too much going on between steaming the vegetables, cooking the rice and frying the egg. All that changed when another friend gave me a rice cooker + vegetable steamer as a Christmas gift last year. (Yes, folks, it's true. I lived for 30 years without knowing the wonders of an electric rice cooker). Since then, I've been a bipimbap-makin' fool! The rice cooker and veggie steamer makes it so easy!!
Technically, bipimbap should be served in a hot stone pot called a dolsot. The dolsot helps keep the dish warm and also crusts up some of the rice to give it a great, crunchy texture. I don't own one (yet) but I learned that if I leave the rice in the cooker for an extra minute or two, the cooker will crust up the rice for me.
I love this dish because of how versatile it is. I generally make it with traditional Korean vegetables -- bean sprouts, zucchini, spinach, carrots and garlic -- but it can be made with just about any kind of vegetable and customized to fit specific tastes or dietary needs.
vegetarian | gluten free | can be made vegan
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 cup water
- 2 large eggs, optional
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce (use Tamari for GF option)
- Sriracha, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
Any 4 - 5 of the following vegetables:
- 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
- 1/2 bell pepper, sliced into julienne strips
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/2 zucchini, cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup broccoli
- 1/2 cup soy bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup asparagus, diced
- 1/2 onion, sliced into julienne strips
- Cook rice according to package instructions.
- Steam vegetables on stove top or with rice cooker, and season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, heat a non-stick skillet with medium-high heat. Gently break eggs one at a time in the skillet, so the egg whites and yolk stay intact. Reduce heat to low and let the eggs cook for 2 - 3 minutes each. If you prefer sunny-side up, leave the eggs as they are for a few minutes longer, until the egg whites have set. If you prefer an over-easy egg, gently flip each egg over and let cook for another 2 - 3 minutes.
- When rice is cooked, vegetables are steamed and egg is fried, combine all ingredients by placing the rice into a bowl, carefully arranging steamed vegetables on top of the rice, and placing the egg on top of the entire dish. Serve with soy sauce or Sriracha.