Vegetarian Bibimbap – Korean Rice with Vegetables And Kochujang – Recipe

Vegetarian Bibimbap
Vegetarian Bibimbap

Considering that I’ve posted a fair number of Korean recipes over the years, it seems odd that I’ve never written down my favorite Korean dish of all: bibimbap. Pronounced “bee-bim-bop”, bibimbap is simply a bowl of hot rice with a variety of cooked and raw vegetables. A raw, poached, or fried egg is served on top and kochujang (Korean miso / chili paste) is passed on the side, and the egg yolk together with the kochujang is mixed into the rice before eating.

Bibimbap is one of the few things that vegetarians can usually count on getting at most Korean restaurants. It it typically made with beef, but that is easy to leave off, and there aren’t usually any seafood products in it. Sometimes you can order dolsot bibimbap, which is served in a heavy, smoking hot stone bowl. The first time I ever had that was after a day of skiing, and  I could feel the heat from the bowl radiating right into my chest. Fantastic. The rice on the bottom gets a little toasted and crispy, too. Well worth the extra dollar. Someday I’m going to buy a set of those bowls so I can make it that way at home.

Bibimbap isn’t so much a dish as a platform. You can change out the vegetables at will, just keep the flavorings Korean and you won’t go wrong. Here’s a basic recipe. It isn’t measured very precisely because it doesn’t need to be. This is a great dish for you to practice trusting your palate and kitchen instincts.

By the way, I actually cooked my “poached” eggs sous vide at 63 degrees C for 45 minutes. You don’t have to do it this way, but if you have an immersion circulator it is a great option. I find a lot of people aren’t completely comfortable with the texture of the white at that temperature, so I generally crack them into boiling water for 10 seconds before removing with a slotted spoon to give a more traditional appearance.

Vegetarian Bibimbap (Korean Mixed Rice)
Serves 4
Kosher

  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pickling cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil, for pan frying
  • 1 bunch bunshimeji or similar mushrooms, roots trimmed
  • 1 zucchini, 1/2″ dice
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), or regular soy sauce
  • 2 big handfuls mung bean sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon toasted Asian sesame oil
  • 1 pound tofu, prepared for making as per How To Make Tofu Really Freaking Delicious
  • 4 poached, soft boiled, or fried eggs
  • Plenty of cooked white Asian rice (like Kokuho rose or other similar short grained varieties), held hot
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful pea vines or other shoots, washed and dried
  • Kochujang, for serving
  1. Warm your serving bowls.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water, the ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the sugar. Add the sliced cucumber and toss. Reserve.
  3. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil and stir fry the mushrooms with a big pinch of salt until fragrant and tender, about 2 minutes. Remove and reserve, leaving the pan going.
  4. Add a little more oil if needed, the zucchini, and a couple pinches of salt. Stir fry until beginning to soften, about two minutes. Add the sweet soy sauce and cook, stirring, until glazed, about 1 more minute. Remove and reserve, leaving the pan going.
  5. Add the mung bean sprouts, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt and stir fry until just wilting, about 1 minute. Remove and reserve, leaving the pan going.
  6. Cook the tofu as described in How To Make Tofu Really Freaking Delicious, then slice the slabs into batons.
  7. To serve, put a mound of steaming hot rice in a warm bowl. Arrange servings of the mushrooms, zucchini, bean sprouts, pea shoots, fried tofu and pickled cucumbers around the perimeter of the rice. Put an egg in the middle, and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately, piping hot, with plenty of kochujang for diners to mix in as they please.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, December 31st, 2012 in Main Courses, Recipes.

19 Responses to “Vegetarian Bibimbap – Korean Rice with Vegetables And Kochujang – Recipe”

  1. Patrick B.
    December 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Bibimbap is not only my favorite Korean dish, but it’s also my current favorite comfort food. We’re lucky to have a big Korean population in this area of NJ and the local restaurant makes an amazing Dolsot Bibimbap. ALthough, they call it Gob Dol Bibimbap, not sure of the reason for the difference. Is there a specific brand of Kochujang that you use? I have yet to try making bibimbap myself, but this recipe is inspiring.

    • December 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      I often buy Haenchandle brand kochujang, but I haven’t noticed any major differences between them. I wonder if there is such a thing as artisanal kochujang, anyone know?

      • Stephanie
        January 1, 2013 at 7:01 am #

        First of all, thanks for the recipe! I’m a Korean and it’s actually rare to prepare Bibimbap like this – we usually just mix whatever’s leftover.
        Regarding good quality gochujang, they do sell authentic ones in Korea that are made with least ingredients and that have been fermented properly. But outside Korea, it’s probably hard to come across. You can make your own though! My mom makes her own most of the time.
        p.s. adding thinly sliced, toasted nori sheets to bibimbap is awesome :)

        • January 1, 2013 at 7:41 am #

          Mmm, the nori sounds good. I always put that on chirashi sushi, why not on bibimbap?

  2. Stephanie
    January 2, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    I grew up eating bibimbap whenever given the opportunity. I always loved the contrasts of temperatures–the cooler rice with the hot egg–but I’ve also been seduced by the crispy rice at the bottom of what our local restaurant calls “GopDol Bibimbap.”

    We make versions of it now as “rice bowls” at home. It’s a great option with picky family members if done on an assembly line. I fry the eggs to order.

  3. January 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    I just discovered your blog while cruising around on the internet, and I’m so glad that I did. I love your recipes and your photos, very inspiring! I’m your newest follower.

  4. January 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Made this for dinner tonight. Delicious!

    My local stores (PCC, QFC) do not sell bean sprouts, so I substituted julienned carrots.

  5. January 4, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    This really looks delicious. Who says vegetarian food cannot be tasty? Thank you for sharing the recipe. I will try it really soon.

  6. January 7, 2013 at 4:16 am #

    Wow this looks fantastic. I’m always looking for good Korean takeout but making our own would be so much more satisfying! Thanks for sharing.

  7. January 10, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    I have a friend who makes bibimbap all the time and I have yet to try it out in my own kitchen. I have a thing for Korean cuisine, so I’m definitely interested. Can’t wait to give it a try, it’s time to make it happen!

  8. January 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    My first experience with Korean food was on an airplane feeling decidedly sick, so this looks like the perfect dish to break my negative association! I might try ordering it somewhere first before tackling it myself though ;)

    • January 14, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

      I think it is always a nice option to try a new dish at a restaurant first if you have the opportunity, so you have a clear idea of what you are aiming for (or away from :) at home.

  9. January 15, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Very pretty. Do do beautiful work. ;-) I always learn something when i visit herbivoracious. :)

  10. Stacy
    June 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    I just made this for dinner and it was quite delicious. I wanted to tell you, especially, that I appreciate the care you take to list all of the ingredients in the order that they get used. This really helps me get through a recipe quickly and without errors, so thank you!

    • June 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      Glad you liked it! And thanks for noticing that the ingredients are in order. I can’t stand it when recipes aren’t set up that way!

  11. Lee
    July 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Hi,
    Is the egg raw?

  12. Elsie
    February 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi, This recipe looks delicious and I’d like to try it but being vegan is there a substitute I could use rather than egg, like tofu maybe? We use medium tofu in tofu scrambler and it’s excellent so I’m thinking I may try either soft or medium. Do you have any suggestions? Great blog – thank you for inspiring me.

    • February 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

      Well, there is already firm tofu in the recipe, but if you wanted to add soft for a different texture that would be fine. Otherwise, really you are just needing to replace the sauciness of the egg so maybe hoisin.

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