I made this in true Korean style... instead of sticking to a rigid recipe, I just used a bunch of different items that I already had. I also used one authentic ingredient: gochujang.
Gochujang is a spicy, fermented soybean and chili paste. It's spicy, but not super spicy (though that bit of information is according to me... it did make my nose run!). The box shows a chili pepper and the number 3, so I assume that means "medium-spicy"... also assuming that's on a scale from one to five! Lol. Anywho, since I live in the ethnic ingredient void that is the Midwest, I had to buy this online from Amazon. It was kind of expensive, since it is an import from South Korean, but one tub will last you quite awhile. Also, I had a gift certificate to Amazon. I just closed my eyes and clicked "add to shopping cart" and pretended I didn't see how much the shipping was... I think the item plus shipping was like, $15. But I needed it. You know how that goes.
Back to the bibimbap. It's a very famous Korean dish and I believe it literally means, "mixed meal". A bowl is filled with rice, then all the ingredients are arranged on top. Before serving, everything gets all mixed together, hence its name. It usually consists of rice, mixed vegetables, sliced meat, and an egg, but my version is much more vegan-friendly!
This can be prepared with any veggies you might have on hand: carrots, daikon or radishes, cucumbers, mushrooms, bean sprouts, zucchini, spinach, bok choy, etc. For a garnish you could top with sliced green onions, sesame seeds, toasted pine nuts (very popular in Korean cooking), and of course, the gochujang. I like to use both tofu and edamame for protein but you can use whatever you like. It's a mixed meal after all, so feel free to use up any odds and ends you think might work.
The main musthaves for my bibimbap are shiitake mushrooms, kimche, tofu, and a green veggie of some sort. As long as I have those four things, everything else is a bonus! The sauce is a modified recipe from Saveur, but you can just use a dollop of gochujang.
2 c. shredded green cabbage
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 med. carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/2 pkg. shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
3-4 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
9 oz. firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed, cut into small cubes
1 Tb. oil
3/4 c. frozen edamame
1/2 tsp. walnut or sesame oil
a few drops toasted sesame oil
1/4 c. gochujang
2 Tb. lemon-lime soda
1 Tb. miso
2 tsp. liquid sweetener
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. ginger
hot cooked brown rice (short-grain is good here if you have it)
kimche (check to make sure it's vegan before you buy it)
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the gochujang, soda, miso, liquid sweetener, sesame oil, vinegar, and ginger until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
2. Sauté the tofu over medium-high in the oil until golden brown on all sides. Set aside. Meanwhile, boil the frozen edamame (only takes three minutes). Drain it, and place it in a small bowl and toss with the walnut oil and toasted sesame oil. Set aside.
3. In a skillet, sauté the minced garlic and the cabbage for three minutes over medium-high. Place on a plate and set aside.
4. In the same skillet, sauté the carrots for about three minutes or until crisp-tender. Feel free to add some nonstick spray or oil if you need to. Set aside on the same plate as the cabbage.
5. In the same skillet (wipe out and respray with cooking spray if necessary), sauté the shiitake mushrooms and the button mushrooms until they are softened and browned, about three minutes. Set aside on the same place as everything else.
6. To serve, fill a bowl with hot (or room temperature) cooked rice. Around the edge of the bowl, arrange the tofu, edamame, sautéed cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, and
Sauté all the vegetables (mushrooms, carrot, cabbage, garlic) all together for 3-5 minutes. This will save time, since the separate cooking of all the vegetable parts is mostly for presentation anyway! For other (raw) vegetables, like daikon, radishes, shredded lettuce, and cucumber, just cut them into slices or matchsticks and arrange them on top of the cooked vegetables.
Needs more kimche.
Another bonus: leftovers can be served cold! Talk about easy!
This recipe makes about four servings. When made just like the recipe above, each serving (not including the rice, kimche, or sauce), you get 141 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 8.8 grams of protein. It's also got half your daily Vitamin A and about 18% of your daily calcium.
Dishes like this are the reason why I love Korean food. They're usually pretty quick to make, flexible with the ingredients (for the most part), full of flavor and fresh veggies, and are easily adapted to the vegan lifestyle. I also like spicy foods and Korean dishes can usually be made hot... or not. I hope y'all like it as much as I do!