By Julia Westhoff
I’d never been a huge fan of rice (it’s a texture thing), but lately I can’t stop making it. I’ve been trying out recipes for bibimbap, a Korean word that literally means “mixed rice.” Korean food is a recent favorite in our household (H/T to friends Emily and Kyle of FeedMeKC.com fame for introducing us) — every time we go out for it we proclaim the meal “the best thing we’ve ever eaten.” It turns out I love rice when mixed with thinly sliced beef, pickled veggies, fried eggs and yummy sauce. I liken it to a little bowl of heaven.
I was reluctant to make Korean food at home, thinking it would be too complicated. But last time we tried to eat out, 3-month-old Daisy screamed from the second we sat down until we were finally forced to pack up and go (sorry, fellow diners!). Apparently I was wrong to assume that everyone in our house likes little bowls of heaven.
But listen here, Daisy: Try as you might, I will not be denied my Korean food! And you’ll be happy to know that we can both win. I found a great recipe from Cooks Illustrated that makes me think we’ll never have to go out for bibimbap again.
(Recipe’s after the jump).
Bibimbap (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
1 medium carrot , peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup seasoned rice vinegar
4 cups cooked rice
Beef, Spinach, and Eggs
5 ounces thinly sliced steak (I get mine from the Oriental Market on 103rd and Metcalf)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms , wiped clean, stemmed, and sliced thin
3 medium garlic cloves , minced
1 (10-ounce) package baby spinach
Salt and ground black pepper
4 large eggs, cracked into 2 small bowls (2 eggs per bowl)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Accompaniment: Sriracha hot sauce
1. FOR THE PICKLED VEGETABLES: Toss the carrot, cucumber, and vinegar together in a medium bowl to combine. Press lightly on the vegetables to submerge in the vinegar as much as possible, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours. Drain the vegetable from the vinegar and set aside.
2. FOR THE BEEF, SPINACH, AND EGGS: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, place 4 ovensafe serving bowls on the rack, and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Toss the beef and soy sauce together in a medium bowl.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the beef and shiitakes and cook until the beef is cooked through and the mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a platter and keep warm in the oven next to the bowls.
4. Add 1 more tablespoon vegetable oil and the garlic to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the spinach and cook, tossing constantly, until wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste and spoon onto the platter in a separate pile next to the beef in the oven.
5. Portion the cooked rice into the warm serving bowls, top with the beef, mushrooms, and spinach, and return to the oven to keep warm while cooking the eggs.
6. Wipe the skillet clean with a wad of paper towels, add the remaining tablespoon oil to the skillet, and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Following the illustration below, quickly add the eggs to the skillet. Season the eggs with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes.
7. Uncover the eggs and remove from the heat. Remove the bowls of rice from the oven and slide one egg on top of each bowl. Drizzle the sesame oil over the eggs, add the pickled vegetables, drizzle with hot sauce and serve immediately.