When I was in South Korea last year, I literally had bibimbap every single day. It may sound boring, as bibimbap means mixed rice. The good news is that you can mix in every ingredient you fancy. So, despite the fact I had mixed rice for over a week, I had differend rice mixes every day. Oh, I want to mention here as well that bibimbap always comes in a ‘decent’ portion size. Plenty and tasty! Food how I like it 🙂
Traditionally it’s cooked in a stone pot, the dolsot, which gets and keeps the bibimbap really really hot for a long time. I don’t own one (yet), so opted for the simplified version, using kitchen equipment we all own.
I highly recommend you’ll try the dolsot bibimbap though, maybe next time you visit a Korean restaurant.
Ingredients for 2
- 200 g firm organic tofu, pressed
- 4 tsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp Gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
- 2-4 tsp oil
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 100gr mushrooms (Shiitake or mixed mushrooms if you can get them), roughly chopped into bitesize pieces
- 100gr spinach
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 50gr edamame beans
- 50gr bean sprouts
- ½ cup brown rice, cooked
- ½ long cucumber, finely sliced
- 1 spring onion, finely sliced
- Some sesame oil and soy or tamari sauce to serve
This dish needs a bit of pre-planning, so different to my other recipes, which are quickly to assemble, this may need some preparation a day ahead.
- Press the tofu block.
- Cube the tofu into bitesize pieces, not too large, not too small.
- Slide the onion and set aside.
- Place the tofu in a shallow bowl and pour soy sauce, mixed in with 1 tsp of Gochujang, over it. Set the tofu aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the tofu to absorb the marinade, making sure you turn the pieces to the other side at least once, halfway through. The longer you marinate the tofu, the more intense the flavour. I prefer to leave it marinating over night, but it’s up to you 🙂 Take the tofu out of the marinate and let the marinate drip off slightly.
- Heat 2 tsp of oil on a non-stick pan, and place the marinated tofu cubes into the hot oil. Fry the tofu until golden brown on all sides. Be careful as the tofu is likely to splatter. Keep a splatter screen close by. If you don’t have a non-stick pan or want to reduce the amount of oil you consume, you can also bake the tofu. Set the oven to 180° C and place the marinated cubes of tofu on a reusable cooking liner. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, turning once, halfway through.
- Cook the rice whilst the tofu is frying or baking in the oven.
- In a separate pan, heat up 2 tsp of oil and throw in the sliced onion and roughly diced mushrooms. Fry them gently until they are nicely browned. Season with salt and pepper once fried to avoid the mushrooms releasing too much water during frying.
- Remove the onions and mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
- Throw in the spinach and a splash of water. Cook on a low heat, stirring from time to time, until the spinach wilts and most of the excess water cooks out. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the rice in two bowls and divide all the veggies and cooked tofu between two bowls. Sprinkle some sesame oil and sesame seeds over, and top with thinned down Gochujang sauce. Add some soy or tamari sauce if you like.
- Mix well! It’s mixed rice after all, isn’t it?
Tip to “eat bibimbap correctly” before you dig in
In Korea the chopsticks are made from stainless steel. Not the bamboo or wooden material we normally are presented with when enjoying the Asian cuisine.
The spoon carries some importance if it comes to the bibimbap. It’s not actually eaten with the chopsticks. The chopsticks are used to stir the bibimbap, and the spoon is used to eat. After the mixing, the chopsticks merely fulfin the function of pushing the rice veggie mix onto your spoon, or placing the specific veggie or tofu pieces onto your spoon.
That’s it. My little Korean ‘Knigge’ for you 🙂
Now – dig in and enjoy!!
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