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Apr 14, 2009 10:15 AM

A Guide to Bibimbap (Korean mixed rice)

This is a guide that I have been working on for preparing Bibimbap at home. It includes some of the more common ingredients, but by no means is this complete yet.

There are many versions of this dish and almost anything can be a candidate for inclusion, as long the flavors of each item compliment the others used to make the dish.

The two primary types of Bibimbap are cold (room temperature), referred to as bibimbap and most often served as a warm weather dish, and hot (hot pot), called dolsot bibimbap and usually served in cold weather.

Common Inclusions
These components can be prepared up to two days prior if kept refrigerated. When planning the amounts needed, figure on 1 to 2 ounces of each component per serving of bibimbap. The amounts on this page assume bibimbap for four.

Gochujang for Bibimbap
5 tablespoons gochujang paste
2 tablespoons mul yeut (Korean malt syrup)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 small green onion, fine chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons white (untoasted) sesame seed
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
water as needed
Mix all ingredients and thin with water until you have a thick but pourable paste. Let stand at room temperature for one hour to let the flavors blend.

Kkaesogeum (sesame salt)
1 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon (more or less to taste) salt
Heat a pan over low to medium heat.
Add sesame seeds and slowly toast, stirring often, until golden brown.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Place seeds in a grinder (or use a mortar and pestle), sprinkle with salt, and grind.
Place in a storage container (glass or ceramic is best).

Kong Namul (Seasoned Soy Bean Sprouts)
8 ounces fresh soy bean sprouts
1 small green onion, chopped
1/2 small carrot, shredded
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed
salt to taste
Optional Ingredients
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground red chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon Pure roasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar or rice wine
Bring 3 cups of water to a full boil.
Add bean sprouts and return to full boil.
Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat.
Rinse immediately in cold water, drain, and then place in a medium mixing bowl.
Add all other ingredients and toss until well mixed.
Adding Optional Ingredients:
Sprinkle red chile pepper over sprouts and toss
Whisk sesame oil and vinegar/wine together then pour over sprouts and toss well.

Shigimchi Namul (Seasoned Bunch Spinach)
8 ounces bunches fresh bunch spinach(stem & leaf, not the bagged leaves)
2 small green onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kkaesoogeum (sesame salt)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed
1 teaspoon sesame oil (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Sogogi Dashida (powdered beef soup stock) instead of salt*
*(or substitute your favorite powdered soup mix or bullion)
1 teaspoon Coarse ground chili pepper (Chili flakes)
Wash spinach thoroughly in cold water.
Peel garlic.
Mince one of the garlic cloves
Sliver the other cloves
In a soup pot, bring 4 cups of water to full boil.
Completely immerse spinach in the boiling water. Remove from heat after about 30 seconds and rinse immediately in cold water.
Squeeze excess water from spinach.
Place spinach in a medium mixing bowl then add all ingredients and mix well.

Sukju Namul (Seasoned Mung Bean Sprouts)
8 ounces mung bean sprouts
1 small green onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarse ground red chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon rice wine or rice vinegar
Wash the mung bean sprouts in cold water.
Bring three cups of water to a full boil over high heat.
Place the sprouts into the boiling water and par boil for one to two minutes.
Remove from heat, drain, and rinse in cold water.
Place sprouts into a mixing bowl, add all other ingredients, and mix well.

Muchae Muchim or Mu-Saengchae (Shredded Radish Salad)
1 small Daikon Radish (8 to 10 ounces)
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Fine ground red chili pepper
Fine shred the daikon into a mixing bowl.
Sprinkle with salt, mix well, and let stand 10 to 15 minutes.
Rinse in cold water then let drain.
Add all other ingredients and mix well.

Gamja Bokkeum (Shredded and sauteed potato)
1 potato (8 to 10 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil for frying
Peel and shred the potato into a sieve.
Rinse shredded potato in cold water, drain, and press out excess water.
Transfer to a mixing bowl, add salt, and mix well.
Coat a pan with oil and heat over medium heat.
Add potato and stir fry about two to five minutes (until potato is just beginning to go limp, but not browned - similar to "al dente" for pasta).
Remove from heat and cool.
Note: Be careful not to overcook the potato - the shreds should be only slightly limp

Danggeun Bokkeum (Shredded and sauteed carrot)
1 or 2 small carrot (about 8 ounces)
Vegetable cooking oil
Seasoning Mix:
1 teaspoon beef broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Wash carrot in cold water and peel if needed.
Fine shred the carrot.
Mix all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
Very lightly oil a cooking pan and heat over medium high heat.
Add shredded carrot to pan and stir fry about 30 seconds.
Add the seasoning mix and saute about 30 seconds to one minute.
Remove from heat and let cool.

Gosari Namul (Brakken/Fernbrake/Fern Sprouts)
6 ounces (liquid packed) or 2 ounces (dried) fern sprouts
Seasoning Mix
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 medium Green Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 teaspoon kkaesoogeum (sesame salt)
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
For dried fern sprouts, completely cover with water and soak for 1 hour.
Drain fern sprouts and press out any excess liquid.
Mix all ingredients well and let stand about 15 minutes.
Heat a pan over medium high heat, add seasoned fern sprouts, and stir fry for three minutes

Sogogi (Seasoned Beef)
6 ounces lean beef
Seasoning Mix:
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 medium Green Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 teaspoon kkaesoogeum (sesame salt)
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
Slice beef into roughly 1/8 inch thick slices.
Cut the slices into strips about 1/8 inch thick by 1 1/2 inch in length.
Mix all ingredients well and let stand about 15 minutes.
Heat a pan over medium high heat, add seasoned beef, and stir fry until lightly browned (2 to 3 minutes)

Doragi Namul(Seasoned Balloon flower/Korean Bellflower)
6 ounces dried pre-cut doragi (Bellflower root)
4 tablespoons beef or chicken broth
2 medium Green or Spring onion
1 teaspoon kkaesoogeum (sesame salt)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Soak dried doragi for one hour in cold water.
Rinse soaked dorgagi in cold water, then drain.
Place into a pot of boiling water and cook for ten to twenty minutes, until slightly softened.
Drain and rinse in cold water.
Place oil into a pan over medium to high heat, heat for thirty seconds.
Add doragi and stir fry three to four minutes.
Add broth and stir fry 1 additional minute.
Add cut green onion and stir fry thirty(30) seconds.
Remove from heat, cool.

1 egg per serving
1 dash salt per egg
1 dash pepper per egg
The most common version of bibbimbap is topped with egg, usually poached or fried "sunny side up", in other words the white is set but the yolk is runny.
One variation is to boil the eggs medium or hard, then peel and cut into quarters, placing the egg sections at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions of the serving bowl.
Another common variation is to separate the yolks from the whites, and cook each in a yellow or white "sheet" , then slicing the sheet into strips.
Cook the egg to your desire - sunny side up, over easy, medium, or hard, etc.

Building the Dish
The Rice
The most common rice preparation is simple steamed white rice. A short or medium grain calrose style white rice is the best choice.

Steamed White Rice

short or medium grain white rice
1 1/4 cups water or broth per 1 cup of rice (1 cup uncooked rice yields approximately 2 cups cooked rice)
Optional Additions:
1 tablespoon Dried peas (per cup of white rice)
1 tablespoon Beans (per cup of white rice)
2 teaspoons Barley (per cup of white rice)
2 teaspoons Oats (per cup of white rice)
1 teaspoon Black Rice (per cup of white rice)
1 tablespoon Ghingko Nuts (per cup of white rice)
Choose Rice:
Use a Calrose style Short or Medium Grain white rice, although any uncooked short or medium grain plain (unflavored) white rice will work. Some types of rice are covered with talc and will need to be rinsed thoroughly prior to use. Others are vitamin enriched and do not require rinsing. Be sure to read the manufacturers label.
Prepare Rice:
If dried beans or peas will be added, soak them overnight, rinse well, and drain. Place the beans/peas into a pot of boiling water and pre-cook for about fifteen minutes. If adding ghingko nuts, boil for about twenty minutes.
If adding black rice, rinse and soak this separate from the white rice to avoid turning the white rice purple. Black rice should be soaked for 2 hours, changing water every 20 minutes, then rinsed until water runs clear.
Rinse white rice thoroughly.
Place rice in a large pot or bowl and completely cover with cold water. Water level should be about 3 inches higher than the rice level.
If adding barley or oats, add and mix with rice.
Soak for 1/2 to one hour, then drain.
Add partially cooked beans/peas (if used) and mix. Cooking:
Rice Cooker:
Follow manufacturers instructions.
Stove Top:
Place soaked rice in a non stick cooking pot.
Add water (1 1/4 cup water per 1 cup rice).
Bring to a full boil over high heat and cook for about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium low (drop to a simmer), cover, and cook about 10 more minutes. Do not remove cover or otherwise disturb the rice.
Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the cover on, then fluff gently(stir from bottom to top) just prior to serving.

Assemble and Serve

Once the rice and the desired components are prepped and ready to go, you need to assemble your dish. For bibimbap you can serve the dish with rice in the same bowl as the assorted vegetables/meats, or with the rice in a separate, smaller bowl. For the rice in version, mound the rice in the center of the serving bowl and arrange a small portion of each component in wedges pointing in to the center. Place them in alternating light and dark colors, reserving the center for meat/fish/egg. When serving rice in a separate bowl, use the same method of arranging the various components.

Dolsot Bibimbap

For dolsot bibimbap, each serving is placed in a stoneware bowl, covered, and cooked on the stove top.
Spread oil (a soybean/sesame blend is best) over the lower portion of the bowls, then place one serving of steamed rice in each. Arrange the various components on top of the rice in the same manner as for bibimbap. Drizzle each with sesame oil, and crack a raw egg into the center of each dish. Cover and place on the stove over high heat. When you hear the rice begin to crackle (2 to 5 minutes) reduce the heat to medium and cook for another five to ten minutes, or until the egg reaches your desired "doneness". Place the hot bowls on a protective tray and serve.

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  1. Wow!
    This looks exciting. Totally worth the trek down to Orlando for access to those vegetables. I live in green bean and potato-ville, the most 'exotic' veg my local store carries is napa cabbage and plantains.
    Do you have pictures?

    11 Replies
    1. re: Boccone Dolce

      I don't currently have any of my own, but you can get an eyefull from this google link:

      1. re: Boccone Dolce

        Here is a pic of a complete bibimbap meal that has both the bibimbap and dolsot bibimbap:

        1. re: hannaone

          I'm still calling it 'BimBamBop' in my head- I've gotta stop that.
          Those pictures are GORGEOUS. It looks like lots of love in many bowls. Gotta get me some...

        2. re: Boccone Dolce

          The Hot Pot version - Dol-Sot Bibimbap

          1. re: hannaone

            This looks great! I've tried the dolsot version- love the crispy rice. How do you make this version?

            1. re: BigSal

              We use steamed rice placed in a stone bowl oiled with a soy/sesame oil blend, then choose four to six vegetable components (any of the above, or maybe some fresh seasonal veggies), seasoned beef, pork, fish, or chicken, and all topped with a lightly fried (sunny side up, cook just until the bottom sets then slide onto the top) egg.
              Place the bowl over medium heat, cover, and cook until the the top of the egg begins to set (peek under the lid every couple of minutes).
              Then raise the heat to medium high until the rice begins to crackle.
              Remove from heat and serve.

              1. re: hannaone

                Just reading your desciption makes me crave it. Thank you- you are always so generous with sharing your recipes (even though many are quite detailed and long).

                1. re: hannaone

                  Hannaone! Good to hear your voice. And thanks for the great dolsot bibimpbap picture. I thought of you often when we were preparing some regular bibimbap the other day.

                  Such a great dish. I love it because you can eat leftovers for for days on end, but you don't notice the difference because you can change the toppings at will. And there is something about the egg on top that is so satisfying.

                  1. re: moh

                    I think one reason I love bibimbap is the runny egg on top. I was disappointed the other day to get one w/ a fully cooked, over cooked egg.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Oops. that should never happen. The runny yolk cooking into the rice is really key!

                      1. re: moh

                        I was so tempted to send it back but decided that would be too picky. It's left me craving yolk on rice, though.

          2. Really neat, thank you! You mentioned that your recipes above serves four. How long does it take you, from start to finish, for you to prepare all of the components?


            3 Replies
            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Roughly about two to two and a half hours (including soak times) if we prep everything the same day.

              We usually use six of the options and may have the doragi and the bean sprouts already in the fridge.

              Most of the components can be prepped one or two days ahead.

              1. re: hannaone

                Two and a half hours isn't bad, actually, considering all that goes into it. I am definitely going to try this one of these days. Thank you for putting this together.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Another great recipe!

                  TDQ, there is a fair amount of prep that goes into bibimbap, as you can see. But It is very easy to make a bunch of stuff in advance, and the ingredient list is very friendly to modification. If I don't feel like making something, or if I can't find an ingredient, it is very easy to find substitutes. For example, an easy substitute is julienned regular or Korean zucchini sauteed with some garlic, salt and pepper, maybe a touch of dashida if you aren't anti-MSG. I really love the fern and the doragi though. I really make an effort to add those in.

                  This is a very easy party dish, as guests get to choose what they want on top. I always prepare more toppings than I need, as I find I can eat this stuff as leftovers all week after putting in the effort to make the toppings. But I make sure I have fresh rice each time, and of course, a fresh egg. It is an awesome middle of the week leftover, you can slap a batch together super quick, especially if you have a rice cooker. I just nuke or re-saute the hot ingredients.

            2. This gives me a whole new appreciation for the work required when I order the dish. But, how do you eat it? I've always just mixed everything together, love the runny egg yolk but didn't know if that's how it should be done.

              3 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                The proper way to eat bibimbap is to mix everything together and enjoy.

                The alternating colors is for eye candy, and to match the yin/yang of the foods.

                1. re: hannaone

                  Thanks--I love the crunchy/soft mix, hot/cold, etc. as you said with the yin/yang of the food. But, I was never sure if the owners were sitting back aghast at what I was doing.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I'm sure the people working in the restaurant were pleased to see you mixing everything together. I've found that the waitstaff at Korean restaurants are very concerned that I experience the meal properly and will step in to mix my bibimbap vigorously if I'm not doing it correctly. It is important to get that egg yolk and gochujang coating the rice. I might have eaten it wrong for ever if I hadn't been instructed how to do it properly.

              2. hannaone, you are awesome. I've only made bibimbap once, and had to piece several different recipes together. It is the perfect dish for a shared meal with vegetarians and meat-lovers. I'm printing out your post and keeping it, and sending it to a couple of people. Thanks so much!

                1. I forgot to mention in the section about dolsot bibmbap that for those who aren't cooking with gas, you can do a great job in the oven.
                  I haven't personally done this, but have had it in restaurants that use the the oven method.
                  I know some other chowhounds have mentioned this method so please chime in with temp and time recs.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hannaone

                    I've also prepared dolsot bibimbap in a well seasoned 8" cast iron pan on the stovetop. It isn't the traditional bowl, but it works in a pinch.