Bibimbop – A Savory Korean Dish with a Fun Name

Ample Bites publishes a lot of recipes for dishes that have American, Italian, French, Cajun and Caribbean roots but don’t be fooled by the Midwestern roots of Ample Bites. I also enjoy good Asian fare, especially Thai and Vietnamese cuisine and, of course sushi and sashimi.

There is a Korean dish that has always intrigued Ample Bites as much for its name as for its healthy and savory ingredients. It is the Korean dish Bibimbop, which can be pronounced in a number of different ways including: bee-bim-bahp, bee-bim-bop, bim-bim-bop or even bop-bop-bop. The pronunciation I have heard the most and one that I like to use is bip-bim-bop. This Korean word literally means “mixed meal” or “mixed rice”. When you see the recipe and the accompanying photo you will understand why it is call Bibimbop.

This meal, dating from the late 19th century (not really all that old, right) is listed at number 40 on the World’s Most Delicious Foods in a readers’ poll compiled by CNN in 2011. The dish can be prepared with a wide variety of vegetables. Those commonly used include cucumber, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, spinach and bean sprouts. The dish almost always includes tofu and toppings can include strips of chicken or beef, pieces of seafood, and or a raw or fried egg. My recipe is as follows:

Bibimbop

Serves 4

8 oz extra-firm tofu, drained
1/3 cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar, divided
2 tsp minced garlic, divided
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup julienne-cut carrot
2 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp, plus 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
3 cups hot cooked short-grain rice
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 (5-oz) package sliced shitake mushroom caps
1 (9-oz) package fresh baby spinach
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 tsp Korean chili paste, such as Annie Chun’s
¼ tsp Kosher salt

Cut tofu into ¾” thick slices. Place tofu in a single layer on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally.

Combine 1/3 cup water, vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon garlic, ½ teaspoon ginger, and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add carrot, and remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Drain.

Remove tofu from paper towels; cut into ¾” cubes. Place tofu in a medium bowl. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon ginger, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring with a whisk. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce mixture to tofu; toss gently. Let stand 15 minutes.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat for 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil; swirl to coat. Add rice to pan in a single layer; cook 1 minute (do not stir). Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil; swirl to coat. Add 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce mixture and bean sprouts to pan; sauté 1 minute. Remove sprouts from pan; keep warm. Add 1 teaspoon to pan; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce mixture; sauté 1 minute. Remove mushrooms from pan; keep warm. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add tofu to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove tofu from pan; keep warm. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce mixture; sauté 30 seconds. Add spinach to pan; sauté 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove spinach from pan; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium. Melt butter in pan. Crack eggs into pan; cook 4 minutes or until whites are set. Remove from heat.

Place ¾ cup rice in each of 4 shallow bowls. Top each serving evenly with carrots, sprouts, mushrooms, tofu, and spinach. Top each serving with 1 egg and 1 teaspoon chili paste. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Ample Bites Farm Update #3

Despite an extended drought and a string of high temperatures in the 90s the Ample Bites vegetable garden is in full bloom. The green beans have recovered from an early season infestation of some type of bug, probably an aphid of some sort. The garden has already yielded several meals worth of lettuce and spinach and a few zucchini – with many more to come soon.

The tomato plants look like they will produce a bounty of beautiful and delicious fruit.

Less than a month from juicy tomatoes

The mustard greens are the most recent harvest.

These beautiful, healthy greens were prepared using the following recipe:

Mustard Greens with Chipotle and Bacon

Serves 10

2 ¾ lb curly mustard greens (2-3 bunches), stems and coarse ribs discarded
4 bacon slices, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
3 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp minced canned chipotles in adobo
½ tsp salt

Coarsely chop greens, then cook in 2 batches in a 6-8 quart pot of boiling salted water uncovered, stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of cold water to stop cooking process. Drain greens in a colander, pressing gently to release excess moisture.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, 4-5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, reserving fat in skillet. Add oil, chipotle, greens and salt to fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with bacon.

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Grilled Ratatouille

During grilling season Ample Bites likes to make a ratatouille that starts on the grill and is finished on the stove top. Ratatouille is a very healthy dish that combines fresh vegetables including summer squash, zucchini, eggplant and peppers.

Grilled Ratatouille

Serves 4 to 6

2 summer squash, halved and sliced into 3/4″ thick pieces
2 zucchini, halved and sliced into 3/4″ thick pieces
1 large eggplant, sliced 3/4″ thick and then quartered
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 red pepper, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 yellow pepper, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all of the chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, season with salt and pepper and then toss to thoroughly coat the vegetables.

Heat the grill to medium (between 350 – 400F). Place the vegetables onto a tight mesh grilling plate or skewer the vegetables an place them directly on the grill grate. Cook the vegetables until lightly charred and softened, about 30 minutes.

In a heavy skillet, combine the remaining olive oil and tomato paste. Add the vegetables and stir to coat with the tomato paste. Add the parsley to the vegetable mixture and re-season with salt and pepper. Simmer the ratatouille for an addition 10 minutes before serving.

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