Bibimbap is one of my absolute favorite Korean comfort foods. It’s a bowl of rice topped with individually prepped vegetables, sometimes meat, a spicy gochujang sauce, and a fried egg.
“Bibim” means mixed and “bap” means rice. It is traditionally made with vegetables, raw beef, and raw egg, but there are tons of variations depending on your preference. Today I am making a very common version with cooked beef and a fried egg.
Since the assorted vegetables are individually prepped for bibimbap, it can seem like a lot of work and steps to make this dish. Although each ingredient needs special care to make everything come together, it’s really easy and not all that much work once you learn how to manage your time in the kitchen.
It is also important to note that most Korean homes often make bibimbap using leftover side dishes (banchan). I myself rarely make bibimbap using freshly made veggie side dishes- bibimbap is usually a dish I make to clean out the fridge using leftover banchan that needs to be eaten before spoiling.
That being said, if this seems like too much prep work to you, you can cut it down by only using 2-3 vegetables instead of the 5 that I am using. It will still be delicious!
Rice- bibimbap is best when made with freshly made rice. Short grain rice is traditionally used in all Korean cooking, and today I am using Mahatma® Rice Short Grain Rice. It is the perfect fluffy & chewy texture. Jasmine rice is also a good option for a more aromatic flavor and slightly different texture.
Bibimbap sauce– the sauce is very important here! Bibimbap is traditionally made with just gochujang, but I prefer the more modern sweet & tangy gochujang sauce. For this recipe you will need gochujang, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and a little water to thin it out. It is a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and tangy.
Vegetables– there really aren’t any rules to what kind of vegetables you can use in bibimbap. I’m using the most common ones- spinach, bean sprouts, zucchini, cucumber, and carrots. Another common veggie that is added is bellflower roots but I almost never have this in my fridge and it can be difficult to find. It is also really common to add kimchi!
Beef- I actually prefer bibimbap with the traditional raw beef, but today I am cooking it since that’s how most places make it now. If you also prefer raw, it will be the same instructions just without cooking. It is seasoned in a sweet soy sauce marinade that tastes incredible with the rest of the ingredients. You can also omit the beef and prepare this portion of the recipe with mushrooms instead for a vegetarian option!
Fried egg- bibimbap is always topped with an egg- either fried or just the raw egg yolk. The creamy egg yolk is a nice finishing touch when mixing everything together! Note: this entire dish can be vegan if you omit the egg and beef. It will still pack a ton of flavor!
This recipe is kindly sponsored by Mahatma® Rice. I carry their products in my kitchen at all times, especially their jasmine rice!
Prepping the veggies
Prepping the veggies can seem like a daunting task since they need to be individually prepped. Giving each vegetable special attention in preparation is really the key to making the best bibimbap. I also say this for japchae- it can be a lot of work having to cook everything separately but in the end it really makes a difference in the taste.
I am going to try to simplify the veggie prepping process as much in the instructions. I also want to note that these veggies can be prepped a few days ahead to save you some time in the kitchen when you want to have bibimbap later.
Veggies that need to be blanched:
Veggies that need to be salted to draw out moisture:
Veggies that need to be pan fried:
Each of these veggies will need to be individually seasoned, and they are all pretty similar.
Prepping the beef
I’m using a very simplified bulgogi marinade to make the beef for bibimbap: soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, and grated Asian pear. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. You can opt for a leaner cut of beef if you are trying to eat healthier, but I always recommend a cut with a bit of fat in it for tenderness and flavor.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can use this same marinade on any type of mushroom you like and pan fry it just like you would the beef.
Bibimbap is also a great dish to make in bulk for meal prepping. You can just quadruple the ingredients for the banchan (vegetables) and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days to make 4 meals.
Bibimbap (Korean Mixed Rice & Veggie Bowl)
- 1 cup Mahatma® Rice Short Grain Rice makes about 3 cups of cooked rice
- 2 fried eggs
- 2 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 4 oz spinach
- 4 oz soybean sprouts
- 4 oz carrot julienned
- 4 oz Persian or English cucumber thinly sliced and cut in half
- 4 oz zucchini cut into matchsticks
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 green onions chopped
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 lb thinly sliced ribeye or mushrooms for vegetarian
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp grated Asian pear
Make the rice:
- Wash 1 cup of Mahatma® Rice Short Grain Rice until the water runs clear. Add enough water so that when you lay your hand flat on top of the rice, your knuckles are just fully submerged. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Cover the pot and cook over medium low heat for 18 minutes. After 18 minutes, turn off the heat and fluff the rice to release steam. Then keep it covered until you need it.
- Mix all the beef ingredients together and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Mix the bibimbap sauce ingredients together and set aside.
- Add 1/4 tsp salt to the zucchini, 1/4 tsp salt to the cucumbers, and 1/8 tsp salt to the carrots. Toss well to coat, then let it sit for 10 minutes to draw out water while you prep the other veggies.
- Wash the spinach then blanch in boiling water for 20 seconds.
- Immediately shock in cold water to stop the cooking, the squeeze out all the moisture and cut the spinach ball in half.
- Season with 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, a pinch of salt, and 1 tsp chopped green onion. Mix well then set aside.
- Wash the bean sprouts, discarding any browned pieces. Blanch in boiling water, covered on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, then shock in cold water.
- Season with 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp chopped green onion, and 1/2 tsp sesame seeds. Set aside.
- Drain the drawn out water from the cucumbers and gently squeeze out as much moisture as you can using paper towels.
- Season with 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp chopped green onion, and 1/2 tsp sesame seeds. Set aside.
- Drain the drawn out water from the zucchini and gently squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
- Pan fry in a little vegetable oil over medium low heat. Add 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp chopped green onion, and 1/2 tsp sesame seeds.
- Stir fry for 2-3 minutes then set aside. Keep the pan out- you will be using this same pan to cook the carrots and beef.
- Drain the drawn out water from the carrots and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
- Stir fry in a little vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes.
Beef (or mushroom for vegetarian)
- Pan fry the marinated beef in a little vegetable oil over medium heat.
- Cook to your desired doneness then set aside.
Assemble rice bowl
- Arrange the vegetables, beef, and 2-3 tbsp sauce on top of some rice.
- Fry an egg and lay it right in the middle of the bowl.
- Mix together and enjoy!