Korean BiBimBap

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Bibimbap (비빔밥, Korean pronunciation: [pibimp͈ap̚]) is a signature Korean dish. The word literally means "mixed rice". Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating. -Wikipedia

Bibimbap has always been one of my favorite Korean dishes growing up. My parents would just throw it together w/ various Korean leftovers we had sitting in the fridge or whipped it up from scratch. Somewhere during my teen years, I got more sophisticated and whenever we'd go out to Korean restaurants, I'd order it up dol-sot style, which means "stone pot" but, mind you, it's a pipin' hot dol-sot that can turn that raw egg into a cooked one almost instantly. Cooooool!

This dish makes frequent appearances at our family gatherings whether they be special occasions, holidays or just because. It probably helps that my parents know just how much my husband loves the stuff, too. :) Now that I'm an "Epicurean Adventurer" (haha), it's probably time to get an actual recipe together for it. Well, I probably would have been totally fine with never actually writing anything down for this one since I, too, now just throw things together, but after a few requests for one, I thought, "What the hey, I'm up for the challenge!" So thanks, Glenn, Damon and Madeline, for motivating me to do this! (because it was kinda of a pain! lol, since my parents never measure anything out, nor do they write stuff down! But now, hopefully any of you will be able to make it. :)

All I have to say it's a darned good thing there's such a thing as learning by osmosis because after years and years of only watching and just being around my grandma, parents and aunt cooking Korean food and far too often without too much attention paid on my part, when it came down to actually making it myself, it was almost like second nature, which was WAY COOL!

Before you begin, beware: This is DELICIOUS (luckily pretty healthy with all them veggies) and you will probably overeat! :) Plus, it takes a fair amount effort to put together, so if you plan on trying this out, definitely plan it out and go shopping for it at least a couple days ahead of time. There are some things that you can/should make ahead, too, so you don't feel like you've spent the whole day cooking. See note in the recipe. :)

So, here's the recipe and some pictures. But please keep in mind, bibimbap is one of those dishes that can be made so many different ways, using so many variations of sauteed veggies. The cool thing is YOU can decide what ingredients to add or not, and this recipe definitely hits the key mix-ins and how-to's.

Korean Bibimbap Recipe
by happyvballgirl @ MyEpicureanAdventures.com
Ingredients (The traditional standards. Once you've made this a few times, you'll come to learn what combinations YOU love best and will come up with your own standards):
  • About 2 cups uncooked white rice (the sticky kind, NOT long grain, basmati or jasmine), I'd roughly estimate about 2 cups of uncooked rice, cooked in a rice maker or a pot.
  • Korean Beef BBQ aka Bulgogi (or you can use already-prepared bulgogi from your local Korean Grocery store, but I highly discourage using the bottled bulgogi sauces you find in the regular grocery stores - bleah) 
  • 1 16oz bag of fresh spinach, sauteed in your favorite cooking oil (I've been using grapeseed oil), seasoned w/ just a dash of garlic powder, salt and sesame seeds
  • 16 oz shiitake mushrooms (or button mushrooms work in a pinch) sauteed in your favorite cooking oil (I've been using grapeseed oil), seasoned w/ just a dash of garlic powder, pinch of salt and some sesame seeds
  • 1 large zucchini, julienned 
  • 1 bunch of bean sprouts
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin from top to bottom
  • 1 carrot, julienned or 2 cups of pre-shredded carrots
  • 4-6 eggs (one per serving)
  • Gochujang (GOH-choo-jang) - Korean spicy red pepper paste (found in Korean/Asian markets)
  • Roasted sesame seeds
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Cooking oil (I've been using grape seed oil, but other oils work fine, too)
There's one more thing that my parents add: Gosari (GO-sah-ree) aka Fern brake but I just don't wanna go there. :)

*For quick bibimbap, I'd just go w/ bulgogi, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and carrots. The egg is a must unless you just don't like 'em.

* Make ahead tips:
  • Prep the bulgogi and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.
  • You can make the Oie Muchim as early as a week or two in advance.
  • Cut up veggies like carrots, onions, zucchini & mushrooms and store, uncooked, in separate containers in the fridge until ready for use.
  • If you have a rice maker, you can make the rice the day before.
  1. Cook rice in a rice maker or a pot, according to directions.
  2. Grill/sautee/broil marinated bulgogi until browned. Break it up into smaller pieces while cooking or afterwards. Place in a bowl/dish/platter.
  3. Wash spinach, drain and saute in a little cooking oil. Season with a dash each of garlic powder, salt and sesame seeds. Place in a bowl/dish/platter.
  4. Thinly slice shiitake or button mushrooms and saute in a little cooking oil over med-high heat, seasoned with a dash each of garlic powder, salt and some sesame seeds. Place in a bowl/dish/platter.
  5. Saute zucchini in cooking oil over med-high heat, with just a dash of garlic powder, salt, black pepper and sesame seeds. Place in a bowl/dish/platter.
  6. Rinse bean sprouts in water and boil in about a cup of water w/ a tsp of salt for about 20 minutes. Drain and toss with a dash of garlic powder and a couple sprinkles of sesame seeds
  7. Saute onions in cooking oil over med-high heat, with a just a dash of salt, garlic powder and sesame seeds. Place in a bowl/dish/platter.
  8. Saute carrots in cooking oil over med-high heat. Season with dash of salt and pepper. Place in a bowl/dish/platter.
  9. Fry eggs anywhere from sunny side up to over hard, depending on what you can stomach :)
So, basically, prep all this stuff one at a time and place in separate bowls or arrange on a platter. Be sure to drain excess liquids if you're placing it all on one giant platter. I prefer to put them in a bunch of bowls - it looks so cool that way! :)  Then when you're ready to dig in (man, my mouth is watering as I type this!), take a good sized bowl and put about 3/4 cup of rice in it. Be careful not to put too much rice in since this dish will get big fast, much like when you make your own burrito, but instead of not being able to close it, you'll have to switch to a giant mixing bowl to mix it up and then will be so stuffed that you'll have to unbutton at least the top button of your pants! :) But I digress...

Add a scoop of each of the mix-ins, drizzle about a 1/2 tsp of sesame seed oil, sprinkle some sesame seeds on it along w/ the gochujang (for beginners, I'd start with about a tsp of it and then add more as needed). The redder it is the spicier it is. My husband takes great pride that his bibimbap is about 3 shades redder than mine. And it astounds us both that my parents' are usually 3 times his! :) Yes, I'm a wimp. Lastly, top it off w/ that egg. And yer done, FINALLY! Mix it up and enjoy!

Makes 4-6 servings.

My family loves to include this dish, too, either mixed in or on the side: Korean-style spicy pickled cucumbers: Korean-style Spicy Pickled Cucumbers aka Oie Muchim Recipe.

Bulgogi (marianated, sauteed beef)
Sauteed Spinach
Sauteed (regular) mushrooms
Onions, sauteed like the spinach 
Zucchini, sauteed like the spinach

"Oie Muchim" Korean-style pickled cucumbers (spicy!)
The crazy spread! There are the bean sprouts and the red pepper paste (gochujang) on the bottom right corner and our crazy neuro-logic rice maker on the left (I swear one day it's gonna turn against us!). And FYI: the oranges don't go in the bibimbap!

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And just gotta add, one time, not too long ago, as we were all eagerly mixing up our bibimbaps at a family get together, my mom told us how in Korean dramas, people are quite often mixing up their bibimbaps w/ lots of emotion and aggression. They'd be mixing furiously while yelling at someone or complaining about this or mad at that and would pour all that energy into mixing up that bibimbap. We all cracked up and then proceeded to mix ours as furiously as we could, while fake-grumbling about this and that. So, when YOU make this, be sure to put some emphasis into that mixing motion while you vehemently toss those ingredients together. I think it might just make it taste that much better. :) And use a BIG bowl so half of it doesn't end of on the floor or table!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

This recipe has been shared at:

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Kalamity Kelli said...

Mmmmmm.........I LOVE this dish! My daughter's Mother-in-law makes it and it is to die for! Love this dish and love your blog!

happyvballgirl said...

So awesome you like Bibimbap, Kelli! Thanks so much for stopping by and the sweet comments! :)

Ana Dziengel said...

I love bibimbap! I've actually been pretty obsessed with it lately. To recreate the crunchy texture the rice gets when served in a stone pot I've been taking my cooked rice and letting it sauté in some sesame oil until the bottom gets a little crisp. It's delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe. Pinned it!
-Ana from www.babbledabbledo.com

happyvballgirl said...

That's so awesome, Ana!! Reading the part about sauteing it in sesame oil for that crisp just made my mouth water. Great tip - gotta give that try! Thanks for stopping by and pinning! :)

Glenn said...

I like Ana's suggestion on the crispy rice using sesame oil. Christine, I confess my only other reference point is Komo Komo (where I got turned on to the dish in the first place). I think they tend more to pickled toppings and I don't recall the egg being too prominent (I'm thinking a nice runny poached egg, like some don I've had in the past. The spread pix you put together look amazing for a large 'do your own' supper. (The Turks may have to do this for pre-Christmas spread!)

happyvballgirl said...

All this talk of dol sot bibimbap made me go out and get some last night. :) Last night mine had a completely raw egg on top and before i knew it (or could try to cook it some on the side) the dear sweet waitress mixed it all in for me. oh well. I'm fine. :)

Komo Komo has delicious food, but theirs is not of the traditional variety (Korean French fusion is what I think they call it) so I wouldn't be too surprised they didn't put the egg on it. There's another restaurant we go to for that: Korea Garden on Chatham across from the Circus Circus shell of a place. It's not a fancy place by any means, but the do have a yummy dol sot there.

And yes, the spread is very conducive to a bibimbap party. I really wanna have one myself and when I do, you're first on that guest list, Glenn! :)

Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

Delicious! Thanks for sharing this at my Pin Me Linky Party.

Debbie Sheehan said...

Hi there - just had the most amazing bibimbap in Beijing this week. Happy to find out the name of the sauce ! With this and the right bowl, I feel a bibimbap party comin' on !!

Thanks for sharing.

happyvballgirl said...

My pleasure! Thanks for hosting, Diana! :)

happyvballgirl said...

HAHA! LOVE it, Debbie! I think I'm FINALLY gonna have my bibimbap party soon! :) Thanks so much for stopping by!

Franceca said...

I just tried bibimbap a few weeks ago while on a trip and LOVED it. I wanted to try making it at home.... Your recipe makes it sound so easy!!! Cant wait to try it out. Thank you for posting!

happyvballgirl said...

So glad you loved it. It's really good stuff. Let me know yours turns out and thanks so much for stopping by, Franceca! :)

Anonymous said...

Driving over for dinner one night just seems sooooo much easier! ;p auntie kris

happyvballgirl said...

Hope you can make it to our next Bibimbap party! <3