Man, do I miss the Korean rice bowl, bibimbop. I was a regular at Anchorage’s VIP Korean Restaurant before I developed weird allergies during pregnancy that never went away, including one to sesame oil, a main bibimbop ingredient. My friends Likka and Matt took pity on me and offered to teach me how to make it at home, gluten free and sans sesame (P.S.: It doesn’t need gluten but it’s better with sesame). Now we can all do it! (P.S.: Here’s another recipe of theirs for Gluten Free Dim Sum. It is rad.)
To start, you need a few pieces of special equipment and some special ingredients that are easily found at Anchorage’s New Central Market, among many other local Asian groceries. The first thing is a stone pot with a plastic pot holder for every person eating.
Here is Matt brushing one such pot with oil. The pot goes in the oven at high heat and helps make the rice crispy. Do not put the plastic pot holder in the oven.
You will also need a vegetable spiralizer. They come in many forms. Matt’s is simple and cheap. It looks like this:
And, finally, you’re going to want some dried toasted nori, fresh seaweed salad and — this is essential — some very delicious kimchi. Matt got this big bucket at New Central Market:
Matt arrived at our house around brunch time with a rice cooker full of short-grain rice already prepared and some raw pork (from AD Farm in Palmer) that had been marinating overnight. The first thing he did at my house was heat my oven to 475 F. Then he oiled four bowls with sesame oil (and mine with avocado oil) and put them into the hot oven.
After that, he heated his wok and sautéed the pork. Here’s an action shot:
At the same time, he set me to the task of peeling and spiralizing zucchini and carrots.
We also scissored up the nori:
Once the pork was done, he opened the oven and put generous scoops of rice in the piping hot bowls.
And, we cracked one of our chickens’ fresh eggs in each.
Then we put the bowls back in for a few minutes, until the eggs were cooked but still just a little bit runny in the middle. Notice the plastic holder.
We pulled the bowls from the oven, added the pork, the vegetables, seaweed, kimchi, the toasted nori and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Then we stirred it up, mixing the richness of the egg with the heat and tartness of the kimchi. Perfection! The crispy rice that cooks on the side is the best.
Matt & Likka’s bibimbop
Traditionally served in a heated stone or ceramic bowl, this recipe is perfect for those wanting a simple, yet healthy, meal.
Ingredients for 4-5 Servings
Pork and marinade:
1 pound farm fresh pork sliced into 1/2” thick x 2” long pieces
2 green onions (scallions), minced
1 tablespoon tamari wheat-free soy sauce or soy sauce
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
½ tablespoon sesame oil
Neutral oil, like avocado, for frying.
Vegetables and other add-ins:
4 medium – large carrots, spiralized or julienned
4-6 small – medium zucchini spiralized of julienned
12 ounces seaweed salad or wakame
12 ounces kimchi, hot or medium
One package dried seaweed or two sheets of nori, sliced into bite-sized pieces
4-5 cups of cooked brown rice
Black sesame seeds, for garnish
The night before, combine tamari, ginger, green onions and sesame oil. Add pork, cover and marinate at least 12 hours. At some point before you plan to eat, make the rice, and prep the veggies.
Roughly a half hour before you plan to eat, preheat over to 475 F. Heat a tablespoon of neutral, high-heat oil like avocado in a wok or large frying pan on high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring constantly, until pork is done. While the pork cooks, coat the inside of the stone/ceramic bowls with sesame oil or avocado oil and place in the preheated oven oven.
Once the bowls have been heating for at least 10 minutes, remove them (carefully). Add about 1 cup of rice to each bowl. Press the rice into bowl so that rice surface is level. Crack an egg over the rice and place bowls back into oven for 5 minutes or less depending on how much you prefer the egg cooked. (Most people leave the yolk liquid.)
Remove the bowls and add a serving of meat, roughly 1-2 ounces of the julienned zucchini and carrots, 2-3 ounces of the wakame, 2-3 ounces of the kimchi, a handful of dried seaweed and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, stir, scraping the crispy rice from the sides of the bowl, and enjoy. Add sriracha and extra sesame oil as needed.