Monday, 18 February 2013

Bibimbab Challenge - No.1 Beef bibimbab

 Bibimbab is a signature Korean dish. It means “mixed rice” in Korean. It is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with sautéed or seasoned vegetable called “namul’, a fried egg, and cooked meat served with gochujang chilli sauce. -
 Why I am cooking bibimbab? Because I found it is very healthy, attractively colourful and taste is pretty good. One my colleague even mentioned it’s smell is good too. However, the most fantastic thing about bibimbab is the concepts of “mixed rice”. You can add any topping as you like and mix it. What an endless possibility!  So I asked myself to challenge new bibimbab recipe with my best combination.
There are so many versions depending on the region of Korea. The main components of the bibimbab are the rice, namul(vegetable), meat, egg & sauce. So I am going to try making new bibimbab recipes base on this components and add two rules. The composition of the colours is the first important key rule. Using right colours of food means ‘balance & harmony’ in Korean culture. Having various colours such as orange, green, white, brown, yellow & red of each ingredient provides balance of the combination from diverse food on earth. Often Korean dishes are very colourful base on this reason.
 The second rule is using local & high quality produce. I have learned how tasty and nutritious local farmers’ market food is. So I am going to substitute local ingredients rather any imported vegetable. Namul can be made from dry vegetable and it is very common way of preserve and use vegetable in Korea. A lot of dried namul in Australia is imported. So I am going to get my local veggies. Therefore, my bibimbab concept is ‘balance & freshness’ with my modern tweaks in Melbourne.
 Here is my bibimbab No. 1 ‘ Beef bibimbab’. This recipe can explained as above formula = White short grain rice (rice) + carrot, spinach,  zucchini,  mushroom,  white radish pickle, red capsicum  (namul) + beef mince (meat) + chilli sauce(sauce) + fried egg. It is still very traditional but there are some my tweaks. The capsicum is my substitute for red (not conventional ingredients), the fresh baby spinach is my choice instead of sautéed spinach. I found fresh oyster mushroom in my local market. The most exciting tweak is that you can find all ingredients in your local supermarket except the gochujang sauce. Get a gochujang in your pantry and will be very handy for all kind of Korean cooking.
If you have any good combination for Bibimbab challenge, feel free to join me! I am interested in seeing what you come up with.

Ingredients ( serves 4 )
2 cups short grain rice
500g minced beef

For the vegetable namul,
2 handful of fresh baby spinach
2 carrots, sliced strips
2 small zucchini, sliced strips
6 fresh Oyster mushroom or shitake mushroom, sliced strips ( you can use flat mushroom )
150g Chinese white radish, sliced strips
1 red capsicum, sliced strips
Korean chilli powder
Rice vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper
Vegetable oil
4 small eggs

For beef marinade sauce,
1 tbsp garlic crushed
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cooking wine
Salt & ground black pepper

For gochujang chilli sauce,
3 tbsp Korean gochujang chilli paste
1 ½ tsp honey or sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
  1.  For steam rice, wash rice thoroughly in first. Place the rice in a pot and add water to 5mm above the rice. Add a couple of drops olive oil, cover with a rid and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer. Keep covering with the lid. After 10~15 minutes turn off the heat and steam for 5 minutes. You can use rice cooker if you have one.
  2. For the marinade, mix the soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, cooking wine, and salt and pepper. Add the beef mince, mix well and marinate for at least 1 hour in fridge.
  3. Mix the ingredients for the chilli sauce and place in a small serving bowl.
  4. Cut the white radish, zucchini, carrot, red capsicum & mushroom to strips. Mix 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp chilli powder & 1 tbsp rice vinegar and coat the sliced white radish.
  5. Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil in a pan or wok and fry the zucchini, carrot, red capsicum and mushroom separately. Set aside in a plate.
  6. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan and fry marinaded beef as crumble.
  7. Place the steam rice in the middle of large bowl. Arrange each prepared the namul (cooked vegetables), fresh baby spinach and the beef crumble on top. Place fried egg in the middle. Serve with the gochujang chilli sauce.

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