Don’t you love it when you mention something that you would like to buy for yourself in passing to another person and they remember what you have said? And then on your birthday or as a surprise they give you just the thing you desire! How wonderful!
My husband is actually quite good at this and my Tiny Devotions necklace on Valentine’s day is a great example (I won’t bring up the Butler Bag fiasco from a few years ago though…still too sensitive ; )
I have been coveting a Le Creuset cast iron casserole dish for a long time. It’s the kind of pricey purchase that was hard to justify buying for myself so you can imagine my delight when my sweet sister (who’d overheard me pining over it) had a beautiful blue one all wrapped up under the Christmas tree for me this past year. I absolutely adore it!
I have been dying to use it and as I was flipping through my Moosewood cookbook I found the perfect recipe to christen my special pot- Bibimbap. Super cool name eh? I was drawn to it right away and I knew I could get the kids to try it just because the name is so unique.
I’ve learned that this dish is actually one of Korea’s most famous culinary meals and it is believed it was originally served at ceremonial gatherings to honour one’s ancestors. It is traditionally served in individual clay pots called tukbaege and features an array of colourful vegetables, sprouts, meat or tofu and a chili sauce all served over rice.
The finicky part about making this delicious dish is that each veggie is cooked individually and then arranged over the rice. It is a bit time-consuming but the end product was beautiful and very yummy. I kept a large platter beside the oven so that as I finished one veggie I would transfer it to the tray and cover with tinfoil so they would stay warm. And don’t worry if you don’t have the same pot – any oven-safe casserole dish will do just fine.
Thanks to Jodi for the gift, to Moosewood for the inspiration and to Korea for such a lovely, tasty and awesomely named dish.
Bibimbap (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)
4 cups of freshly cooked white rice
2 ounces of mixed dried mushrooms
1 cup of green beans, trimmed and halved
1 tbsp olive oil (plus more if necessary for cooking veggies)
1 carrot, peeled and halved and cut into thin strips
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 zucchini quartered and cut into strips
1 medium onion, cut into strips
1 small package of organic extra-firm tofu, rinsed, drained and cubed
1 cup bean sprouts
1 sheet of toasted nori snipped into thin strips (you can buy a pkg of sheets at most health food stores)
1-2 tsp Asian Chili paste
2 tsp dark sesame oil
Dash of sea salt
Prepare your rice according to package directions. Immerse dried mushrooms in boiling water, cover and set aside for 20 minutes until soft.
Blanch green beans in boiling water for 4 minutes and then drain well. In a skillet or a wok, heat olive oil on medium heat and then stir fry the beans for 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet, place on a platter, cover and set aside.
Stir fry the carrots, bell peppers , zucchini and onion separately until just tender, adding a tsp of oil after each veggie if necessary. (carrots approx 4 min, peppers approx 3 minutes, zucchini approx 2-3 minutes and onion approx 2 min). Place each vegetable in a separate pile on the platter and keep covered. Quickly stir fry tofu for 1 minute to warm and add to platter.
Drain the mushrooms, trim off any hard stems and thinly slice. Blanch the sprouts in boiling water for 1 minute and drain.
Oil the bottom of a casserole dish and scoop the rice into the bottom. On top, arrange the mushrooms, tofu, nori, green beans, carrots, zucchini, onion, peppers and sprouts in attractive mounds or circles around the perimeter and in the center.
Stir together chili paste and sesame oil and drizzle over top. Season with salt. Cover with a tight lid.
Place the dish on the stove top over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the rice sizzles and everything is piping hot. Enjoy!