Friday, 27 May 2011

Korean Bibimbap and Kimchi

Korean Bibimbap is a popular Korean rice dish. It is served out as shown: rice in the middle and then surrounded by a number of side dishes.
The idea is that you then take your chopsticks and mess it all up. Korean Bibimbap usually comes with a fried egg on top, but as you can see there was so much on the plate I decided to omit it.
My real reason for wanting to make this dish was Kimchi.  As soon as I became aware of this spicy crunchy, pickled vegetable, I was excited and set out to seek some at the Chinese supermarket. 

Kimchee, Kimchi; or gimchi is a traditional Korean dish of raw fermented and highly seasoned Cabbage or White Radish.  It is often made from Chinese Cabbage, but you will find kinchi made from other vegetables such as aubergines, pumpkins, turnips, spring onions and cucumbers.  When served as a side dish in Korea, Kimchi is known as a banchan.  It is common, in Korean cuisine, to have many banchan served alongside a meal. Main courses may be accompanied by up to twelve side dishes. Of all those plated, Kimchi is said to be the most popular. To demonstrate how passionate Korean people are for their kimchi and how it central it is to Korean cuisine, there is a  museum called The Kimchi Field Museum located in Seoul that is completely dedicated to it. Follow this link if you want a tour of the museum, and are interested to learn more about kimchi. Be warned its quite long, so don't feel you have to watch it all.
Well I actually liked the Kimchi, though I have to admit it may have been much better had I made it myself.  It is something I will definitely be making from scratch especially as the Chinese Cabbage and radish versions can easily be made at home.  I was surprised to learn that D wasn't that keen on it, especially as he likes his pickles. 

Back to the other side dishes.  I liked them all, except for the spring-onion mushrooms made from dehydrated black mushrooms.  I felt like I was chewing on an elastic band. But other than the mushrooms, I did enjoy my generous plate of Korean Bibimbap. 
This recipe comes from Another Dinner is Possible written by Isy and Mike.    Isi is of Korean heritage hence the inclusion of veganized Korean recipes, for which I am most appreciative.  Isi has not given a written recipe per se with measurements, but writes 'use any of the following, varying colour and textures - depending on how much you use amounts will vary’.

- A handful of dried mushrooms, soaked, squeezed dry, sliced and fried in sesame oil with chopped spring onion and soy sauce.
- 2 carrots, peeled and then either julienned or or strips of carrots made with a potato peeler, stir fried in oil with some salt and a little water.
- 1 onion stir fried in oil with salt
- ½ cucumber, julienned, sprinkled with salt and left for 20 minutes, rinse squeeze dry and stir fry.
- A handful of kimchi, shredded

Isi also suggests bean sprouts, green beans, blanched broccoli florets, mooli aka white radish.
Arrange all the prepared vegetables separately side by side in circle on a place.

To elevate the dish further, serve it with gochujang, a spicy and slightly sweet red pepper paste made with miso. It can be used as a seasoning, a dip for the rice or as a relishes the only.  Recipe from  Another Dinner is Possible by Isy and Mike


  1. Korean dishes always look so appetizing to me because of all the flavors and colors involved in each dish. Great post!

  2. Did you find kimchi without fish sauce? My local Aisan grocery fortunately carries one brand that is fish-free, but I wish it was spicier.

  3. I love bibimbap!

    Just in case you're wondering about the name... Bibyuh means to mix, and bibim means mixed. Bap means rice - so the translation of bibimbap is mixed rice. :)

    Gochujang... Gochu refers to the peppers, and hang means sauce!

    If you're ever at a korean restaurant and see "dol sot bibimbap" on the menu, definitely order it. It means it comes in a HOT stone pot. Everything will (or should, if prepared correctly) touching the stone pot should turn nice and crispy. Whenever I order this, I always press my rice and veggies against the pot with my spoon to get even more yummy crispiness! Ok, now I am totally craving it.

  4. Lovely flavours that really complement the rice. A great plate of food!

  5. Being honest, I have to say that Kimchi repels me! It can be acrid and musty. Presumably an acquired taste...

  6. I love Korean food and never thought of making them myself... Hmmmm great recipe for me to start making homemade Korean! Thanks dear!

  7. Just today I was looking closely at a Kimchi recipe! A few years ago, we learned to cook a few Korean dishes as we had a student from Seoul staying with us for a month. What a great gift that was. I never did make Kimchi and I am sure he must have missed having it at mealtimes. I love it now, but would like to make it myself, like you would (especially the radish style). I think, it is a food of personal taste, developed with one's own food enhancements but originating from the ethnic recipe. D will like yours, I am sure of it.

  8. I love kimchee! I've only eaten it a few times - and always bought because a lot of Korean restaurants make it with fishy stuff that I don't eat. I would love to try to make my own but I'm a bit afraid of fermenting bacteria and the smell! But I must say, the best kimchee I've had was raw and made with ginger along with the typical spices and it really put it over the top. Mm! Beautiful plate.

  9. Thanks you Yummychunklet.
    I hope to make some more homely Korean dishes in the future, esp. as I'm learning of new ingredients!

    Thanks e.
    Yes i did and to be certain, I checked with one of the staff who assured me it was suitable for vegetarians. I wish I had taken a photo of the packaging to share with my readers.

  10. Thanks Roxan.
    And heart felt thanks for sharing your insight into Korean cuisine and linguistics. I found it most informative. Thanks it was most appreciated :)

    Should I find myself at a Korean restaurant I will keep in mind your recommendation of "dol sot bibimbap". It sounds gorgeous.

    Thank you Nic.

  11. Thanks Mark.
    I agree it is an acquired taste, but I don't know if the versions we ate were the same. I ate kimchi that was suitable for vegetarians, perhaps the one you had was made with fish sauce - as I did not find mine acrid or musty. I wish I had taken a picture of the packaging to share. Its unlikely that I'll be purhcasing it again too, as I intend to make it from scratch.

    Thanks Food Glorious Food.
    This recipe is so easy, that you have to make it yourself now!

  12. Thanks Gardeningbren.
    Oooh I'm excited to read that you have a few Korean recipes up your sleeve, and great to note that you were taught these by a Korean student.

    I think you may be right - when I make homemade version D will be converted - if not, well more for me:)

    Thanks foodfeud.
    From the same book as these recipes, there is a easy Kimchi recipe that cuts out the 'ferrmenting bacteria' process, so I will sure be making that in the future.

    I do like the sound of it made with ginger.

  13. Kimchi has been on my list of things to make for way too long now, after reading your post I think it may just have to be moved to the top of the list!

  14. Radish kimchi will be AMAZING!

  15. Thanks emm.
    Glad to read my post has pushed kimchi to the top of your list.

    Thanks e.
    My mother is growing white radish aka mooli, I wonder if I can convince her to part with some :)

  16. I've never been very good at eating veggies, (thought I've improved as I grew up), so kimchi is one food that I never thought I'd be able to swallow... but I can! If you do make your own kimchi, be so kind as to post it here...?

    It's inspiring to read your recipes because it makes me think I might actually be able to eat veggies, haha. Malaysian meals usually include at least one veggie dish, so I need to buck up and learn to really like them (as opposed to pretending to...)

  17. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment SumaiyyahAbidah.

    I promise ot post the kimchi recipe and results when I make it.

    Bring on the veggies!

  18. I love kimchi and even once tried to make it. Even though the instructions are simple and easy to follow, it wasn't half as good as the one I had at the Korean restaurants... You remind me I promised myself not to give up and keep on trying until it's satisfactory!
    Oh, and I am really addicted to gochujang. I put it in lots of dishes and even take a bit of it in a small plastic container when I go to see my family for a couple of days, just in case I miss it ;-)
    Thanks for the links and for the interesting information about kimchi. I have never had bibimbap. In case I want to cook it, I know now where to look for the recipe.

  19. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Sissi.
    I am assuming, rightfully I think that the best kimchi are those made at home by Korean mothers. I'd still like to have a go at making my own :)
    I have to admit, I didn't pick up 'gochujang'. I missed it from my shopping list when i went to the Chinese supermarket. From research and comments, I totally regret it as it sounds like my kind of suace, just the thought of it is making my mouth water ;-)

  20. It's fun to see how similar they turned out despite different "base recipes!

    And I made vegan kimchi last month -- it takes some time, but not much hands-on work.

  21. Thanks Stacy.
    I agree. I'm so looking forward to making Kimchi.


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