Sometimes when I want comfort food, I’ll make a Korean dish. My mom is Korean, so whenever I go to a Korean restaurant or make something Korean, it’s comforting and brings back childhood memories. I grew up having kimchi pots in our backyard and in our fridge. In fact, my mom had her own fridge with nothing but Korean food in it. It was dubbed the “Korean fridge.” Whenever you opened it, the kimchi aroma would immediately come at your face. I have a jar of kimchi in my fridge now, and my mom has a supply of seaweed, fish, and rice cakes in my freezer for when she visits.
Last night, I decided to make bibimbap. The literal translation means “mixed rice.” Bap is rice in Korean. Traditionally, this dish is served in a hot stone bowl but I didn’t have one so we had to make do with our IKEA bowls. I was never a huge fan of this dish growing up because it’s topped with a fried egg. The only way I’d eat my eggs growing up was either scrambled, hard-boiled, or as an omelet. If the egg was fried, I would not touch the yolk. I’d eat around it if I had to, but I’d generally stayed away from fried eggs. To this day, before I became a vegan, I stayed away from fried eggs. Anyways, but back to the dish, the Hubs LOVES bibimbap and I wanted to say “thank you” for him making me dinner and a fabulous birthday cake. However, I didn’t have any fernbrake and I forgot to use a carrot. Sigh. If you’re wondering, a fernbrake is a fern. They’re kind of chewy. There’s nothing I can think of to compare it to. It’s just something you have to try for yourself and develop your own take on it.
I went ahead and cooked my rice. While that was cooking, I prepared the vegetables. One thing with Asian dishes, is that they require a lot of preparation. It’s just all the vegetables have to be chopped into matchstick slices. I put some bean sprouts in a pot with some water and let them simmer for about 20 minutes. I didn’t have a bunch of spinach. I bought the salad package mistakenly. DON’T DO WHAT I DID…buy the spinach in a bunch. I put my spinach in a pot of water to cook. When they’re done strain them and squeeze the water out.
While those were going, I got to work on chopping up the zucchini. My grocery store had some fresh shiitake mushrooms, so I got some of those. I prefer to work with fresh shiitakes instead of the dried ones. If you work with the dried version, you have to soak them for a few hours, and I’ll forget to soak them and have to leave them out of the dish. So, I always get fresh.
Now, I’ll tell you I tried to follow this recipe for Bibimbap. I think she has some wonderful recipes. Before I started to really cook, I couldn’t really get a straight answer out of my mom when I asked her how to cook something. She never measures, she goes by taste, and she’d say “oh, it has a little bit of momma’s love.” That’s sweet and all but it didn’t help if I wanted to make something. My sister and I laugh about it with her.
I tried to follow the recipe but I kind of went off in my own direction. Which is fine. That’s what cooking is all about, right? I followed her recipe using the same ingredients (minus the fernbrake and carrot), but that’s about it. I cooked the bean sprouts and spinach, chopped up the vegetables, and this is where it took off in my own direction.
I put some sesame oil in a big pan and put the zucchini, cooked and drained bean sprouts, drained spinach, and shiitake mushrooms in. I poured some soy sauce on for flavor (I did it by taste), and I stir fried the vegetables for a little bit. By this time, the rice was done so I divided it up among three bowls. I stir fried the vegetables until the zucchini was just cooked. I wanted them to have a little bit of bite but not be too crunchy.
When I was happy with that, I put the vegetables on top of the rice. Now, this is where you fry your egg is you want one. When your egg is done, just put it on top of the vegetables. Then you put a dollop of gochujang on the side. Gochujang is a hot pepper paste. Be careful because I put a BIG dollop on last night and my mouth was burning!
The above photo is a shot of the Hubs’ bowl. I didn’t have an egg and the little didn’t have an egg or gochujang. This was my very first time making bibimbap and I was proud of it. I took a photo and texted it to my mom and she said it looked good and wants me to make her some when she visits. When you get your bowl, just mix everything together and dig in!
Tonight, we’re having sundried tomato, mushroom, and spinach tofu quiche. This sounds yummy but you know it’s going to be a lot of work.
Happy hump day y’all!