Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Around The World in 80 Dates: South Korea and Bibimbap!

So we haven't been keeping quite as on top of this as we'd hoped, but slow and steady wins the race right? For more on the original challenge, click here.

A few weeks ago Alex and I decided we were going to make Korea our next stop on the adventure. Many people may know that NYC has a fantastic Chinatown. Not as many people are aware there is also a strip around 32nd Street and 6th Ave known as Korea-town. K-town, as it's known around here, is one of the many reasons I love NYC. Wander down one of these blocks, and you may well have wandered into Seoul. All of the restaurants, grocers, businesses, everything is in Korean. It's fantastic.

I'd been there many years ago with my friend Diane, but Alex had never been through, so we decided to hit it up one Friday after work since we're both in Manhattan then. I'd googled for a few reviews, but ultimately we just ended up walking around and finding a place that a. fit our budget, b. looked tasty and pleasantly busy, and c. looked authentic/not completely all tourists.

The place we picked out had the option of entrees downstairs and then Korean BBQ upstairs. Since Alex had never had the BBQ, we went for it. If you've never done Korean BBQ, I highly recommend it!

*I promise to bring my camera next time for the restaurant part!

There is a mini grill in the middle of your table, and then you order a selection of meats to grill yourself table side. You are also served a huge assortment of mini bowls of all kinds of fun vegetables, kimchi, greens, etc. Tons of food and loads of deliciousness.

The at home version!

So the problem came with part two of the challenge. It turns out our tiny apartment kitchen doesn't really come with a ready made grill for BBQ. So, I'm cheating a little, but decided just to make something traditionally Korean rather then imitating the restaurant.

Enter, Bibimbap! First off, if that isn't the most fun food to say, I don't know what is!

Bibimbap was super duper easy, and is seriously my new favorite dish. This was SO good. Make it tonight. The name literally means (according to wikipedia) "mixed rice" and my understanding is you can pretty much toss together whatever you like and it'll work! There's even a comic about how easy it is!

Here is the recipe I came up with after googling around and combining a few:


Serves two

1/2 pound of grass fed strip steak
Assorted Veggies: Green Pepper, Two Carrots, Zucchini, handful of fresh spinach
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 TBS sesame oil
3 TBS soy sauce
1/2 tsp honey
1.5 tsp brown sugar
fresh ground pepper
red pepper flakes
1 C rice

Gujuchang (Korean red pepper sauce) for serving

Combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, sugar, a few grinds of black pepper, and a shake of red pepper flakes in a bowl. Slice the steak thinly and add to the marinade, turn to cover and refrigerate for an hour or two.

As a side note, this steak was AWESOME. It's from a vendor at the farmers market who I've seen lots, but never bought from. I will be getting more for sure. If you don't know why you need grass fed beef, watch Food Inc.

Slice your veggies thinly. I actually used a mandolin to get them into nice shoe strings, which worked really well!


Cook the rice to package directions. Usually 2 cups water, 1 cup rice, boil, turn down the heat and simmer until the water is gone.

In a wok or large skillet heat a few tablespoons of oil. When the pan is nice and hot, toss in the steak. Since it's thinly sliced, you really only need to stir fry it for a couple minutes at most. It should cook really quick.

Some people leave the veggies raw, but I decided to throw them in with the steak to mix in the flavor and cook them for just a bit nice and fast.

While the steak is cooking or as it finishes, drop two eggs in another skillet and cook to over easy.

To serve, traditionally this should be in a big stone bowl. However, in our house, we piled the rice on a plate, topped with the steak and veggie and capped it off with the egg.

Serve with gujucahng sauce, which you can find at a korean grocer or your local Whole Foods. Spicy, but not overly so, it adds a great flavor to the dish.



1 comment:

Diane said...

Thanks for sharing your entry with me - you make me so proud! I will have to show this to Juho. Your picture looks like you made an awesome and delish version of the beloved bibimbap. I feel that this dish has much room for all sorts of different interpretations and twists, so feel free to experiment next time you make it. The thing to always remember is the egg and gochujang!

I will be thinking fondly of our fun Thanksgiving last year as I spend mine in Cambridge this time around. I hope you guys have a good one in your new home!