A Healthy, Tasty, Veggie Bowl that delivers
This bowl of colour flew out last week, my Bibimbap hybrid. The classic Korean dish is new to me, I have never really been a big fan of Korean cuisine I had a very bad experience with a bowl of broth made from Ox blood punctuated with shots of soju once, I can not talk about it! Bibimbap literally means mixed rice in Korean. When I first looked at a traditional home-style recipe I have to say I was a little overwhelmed by the list of ingredients a couple of which I vaguely knew and the various methods of cooking which spanned three pages. It just all looked like too much effort for some meat and veg on rice.
A colleague generously bought me a bowl from her local source so I had a reference. She makes it at home as a go to dinner and is the one who pointed me in the right direction. I first tasted all the components separately, the version I had contained beef so that was out for me if I am honest I was underwhelmed but mixed together with a little spice, topped with a warm fried egg everything changed and I could see the potential.
I spent two days and many sign language lead conversations in various Korean shops before I found the red chilli paste and speciality long grain rice needed for this dish. Always up for a challenge, I gathered the rest of the ingredients, jumped in and replicated the traditional dish. Great taste, good presentation but just too long and fiddly to upscale for my needs. I left it there.
At the beginning of this year, I was staring blankly into the large commercial fridge. Carrots, half a red cabbage, a bunch of spring onions, a couple of red peppers which needed to be used before a long weekend.
I remembered that bowl.
I always keep hard tofu stored in the freezer Here’s why so I pulled a packet out and grabbed a bag of spinach at the same time. I threw the leaf spinach into boiling water and popped the tofu into the microwave on defrost. I grated the carrots and sliced the red cabbage and red pepper, all in the food processor, 5 mins.
From the cupboard I grbbed
Rice – put on to cook – drained dressed with sesame oil and salt
Dried shiitake mushrooms – put in boiling water to rehydrate – sliced cooked in plum vinegar
Red cabbage – thrown into boiling water cider vinegar, sugar and salt – set aside for 30 mins- drained
Spinach – defrosted, chopped sauteed with sesame oil, garlic and onion
Red pepper – sauteed with garlic and ginger
Tofu – fried – add soy honey and sesame seeds cooked until dry and crispy
Avocado – sitting at the back of the cabbage – diced
Spring onions – sliced
Assemble – rice on bottom veggies on top, a plug of red chilli paste. It took me just under an hour BUT that’s because it was a whim cook and the mushrooms needed to soak.
It sold so well I made it again
Sweet and sour cabbage, garlic courgettes, sweet ginger carrots………….. and here’s that paste. Bad picture – I did not have time, they sold so fast, to even wipe the bench!!
Here with cucumber, seaweed and pickled mushrooms, a super healthy version.
And again, bamboo shoots, a boiled egg and bean sprouts……….
This time a Mexican bowl with rice dressed with lime and chopped coriander, topped with fresh salsa, chilli black beans, spicy kumara, avocado……..
I have made ultra healthy Buddha bowls on quinoa with lightly steamed broccoli, courgettes and spring onions…..
I have made a tapas style on orzo with artichoke hearts, olives, sun dried tomatoes….
….you get the idea!!
You can see the versatility. It’s a throw together dish like pizza. Look for a balance of flavours and colours. Spicy, sour, salty, sweet, sauteed or steamed, packed with garlic, ginger and sesame, make it your own way, that’s what the Koreans do, there are no rules.
Finally here is the Korean Spicy Bibimbap sauce from the original recipe I was given.
- 4 tbsp gochujang – in the picture above red pepper paste
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Whisk, blend or shake it all in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Use it to dress your bowl, cook mushrooms with it or serve to the side.
Give the bowl a go
The original recipe I used came from Bite.co and the healthy version with seaweed came from Vegetarian Gourmet Magazine, I thank them both, Oh and my colleague, who convinced me to try it in the first place,