Bi bim bap is the national dish of Korea.

Bibimbop, Korean Hot Pot

I always wanted to make Bibimbop at home (Korean hot pots – rice topped with a mix of pickled and cooked vegetables and usually a fried egg as well), because eating it out was always so much fun. But I wanted my own version, and one without sugar. Below is what we did for our cooking show, Eat Well Be Happy, which we all loved. This Bibimbop is vegetarian, and, yes, we did use the dolsot pots from Crazy Korean Living (yep, we’ve got them in the store; they’re lead and cadmium-free, non-porous and good for so many other dishes as well), but you can, of course, use your own individual serving bowls.

1 C organic sushi or sweet brown rice 1 5-oz pk Hodo Soy Yuba tofu skins or other tofu, or 4 fried eggs.
2 C water ½ C toasted sesame oil, from Eden bottle
lots of Eden toasted sesame oil 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced finely
1 English cucumber 2 tsp grated ginger, or 1 tsp dry
1 Tbsp rice vinegar 2 tsp grated turmeric, or 1 tsp dry
2 tsp grated ginger, or 1tsp dry 2 tsp good soy sauce, your favorite
1-2 tsp good salt a squeeze of lemon or lime, optional
about a pound of shiitake mushrooms 4 scallions, sliced (use white and green)
¼ C extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced 1 big bunch of your favorite greens, or
  a few bunches of baby bok choy
¼ C miso, any, your favorite 2 Tbsp good soy sauce, your favorite again
a little water, if needed 4 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, from Eden bottle
1 jar kimchi, any, your favorite
1 jar CKC Wholly gochujang sauce

Put rice and water into a pot with a tight-fitting cover. Bring water to a boil, lower heat, cover pot, and cook until water is absorbed (20 minutes for white, 35-40 for brown). Remove from heat, let stand five minutes. Fluff with fork.

To get a crisp, crusty rice, spoon 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil into each, single-serve dolsot Bibimbop pot, divide rice between the 4 pots (about ¾ C per), and place each on top of a burner turned to medium low for about 5 minutes. If not using dolsot pots, put toasted sesame oil in a skillet, pat the rice in an even, thin layer and put onto top of a burner as above, then when a crispy crust has formed, scoop rice into individual bowls or onto plates. Keep them warm in the oven until time to serve. (You can prepare them a day ahead and then warm when you’re ready to serve.)

Slice cuke thinly, mix with rice vinegar, grated ginger and salt. Toss, put aside in serving bowl.

Slice shiitake mushrooms (use stems as well). Gently warm EVOO in a skillet; sauté mushrooms with garlic, miso and a little salt, if you like. You might need a little water. Place mushrooms onto a platter. Scoot them to one side, make room for two rows of more toppings.

Slice Yuba tofu skin thinly (Yuba is the thin layer that forms on the surface as the “cream” rises in heated soymilk. Yuba, according to Hodo Soy, a US soy company, is “a delicacy, often referred to as the sashimi of tofu”). In same skillet, warm ½ C sesame oil, sauté Yuba with garlic, ginger, turmeric, soy sauce, a squeeze of lemon or lime, at the end. Place next to shiitakes on platter. Garnish Yuba with sliced scallions.

In the same skillet, gently warm EVOO. Add your choice of a bunch of greens, chopped into bite-sized pieces. Stir until wilted. Toss with soy sauce, drizzle with toasted sesame oil and add to platter next to Yuba.

Spoon Crazy Korean Cooking (CKC) Wholly gochujang sauce (tastes like a mixture of spicy ketchup and miso) into a small bowl and put that next to platter of mix ins. CKC Wholly gochujang sauce is the only one I’ve found without white sugar, sweetened, instead, with rice syrup. CKC products are gluten-free, GMO-free too. Yep, we’ve got it along with their dolsot pots.

Put out a bowl of your favorite kimchi (we’ve got two local companies that make great ones, for instance). Add a plate of fried eggs to go on top of each hot pot, if you like. Or not. I like!

Bring dolsot rice bowls (or your own bowls or plates) to the table. Invite everyone to top their rice with the dishes above, invite everyone to dollop on gochujang and kimchi, slide on a fried egg, mix it all up and go to town! This is interactive food theatre. Despite all the moving parts, Bibimbop is simple to make. Really. Can you top with some seaweed crisps? Yes. Can you top with a spicy watercress salad or some sautéed shredded red cabbage? Black sesame seeds? Of course. Want chicken or shrimp or beef in yours? Sauté and offer those too.

*I keep my ginger and turmeric in the freezer because that way I don’t worry about spoilage. I buy a bunch when I see it, because turmeric is not always available fresh. Then, when I need some, I have it and I can take it out of the freezer, grate it unpeeled and frozen, using a fine, hand-held mandolin microplane grater. Like many of you, I use ginger and turmeric more frequently because of all those wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. … Debra

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