Food is an important part of our culture and individual identities. It is something wonderful that can remind us of home and bring us together in unexpected places. For Asian-Pacific Heritage Month this June, we’d like to highlight one of the many dishes in Asian-Pacific cuisine for you to make in your own kitchen. Bibimbap is a Korean dish consisting of rice with meat, vegetables, and sometimes an egg on top. I first encountered this dish at one of my favorite restaurants in Downtown Harrisonburg in my late teens, and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since. Eating bibimbap for the first time felt as though someone was reaching across the table to me, opening up my kitchen to new perspectives.
While I love this recipe, it is not a perfect recreation of a traditional Bibimbap. There are many other vegetables and sauces typically served with it that you may not have access to at your local grocery stores. For that reason, I decided to keep it simple, but I recommend you do some research on the dish if you’d like to try a more authentic version.
2 cups dry white rice (I recommend short grain)
1 lb. strip steak or ribeye steak
¼ cup soy sauce (low sodium works in this recipe)
2 T sesame oil (and more for frying)
1 T honey
1 T minced garlic
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
Cut your steak into ½ inch strips.
In a medium bowl, add your soy sauce, honey, garlic, sesame oil, and steak strips. Stir to combine and cover in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare your vegetable toppings. Wash all your vegetables and after you’ve prepared them, set them into a large bowl as you go.
Peel your carrots. I recommend using the vegetable peeler to get the carrots into thin strips as shown in the photo, as they cook faster. Finely slice your cucumbers. Cut your green and red pepper into strips. Set them aside while you continue to prepare your dish.
Prepare your rice. If you’re using a rice cooker, you will still want to wash your rice but you can disregard the cooking instructions.
Rinse your rice in cold water until the water runs mostly clear. This usually takes about 3 to 4 rinses.
In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add your rice and reduce to medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes. Keep it covered and stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom.
Lower the heat and cook it for another 10 minutes, covered, until the rice is cooked through. Fluff the rice with a spoon to help release some steam. Keep it covered until you’re ready to serve.
While your rice is cooking, you can cook your steak strips.
Pour your steak strips into a skillet, with the marinade, and cook on medium heat until it’s cooked all the way through. Cover to keep it warm while you prepare your vegetables.
In a large pan, add enough sesame oil to coat the bottom of the pan. On low heat, add all your veggies. Stir to combine with the oil and cook on medium heat until they begin to break down and the cucumbers become translucent. Cover to keep them warm until you’re ready to serve.
In a small pan, fry an egg in a thin layer of sesame oil until the white is set and the yolk is cooked to your liking.
Assemble your bowl by adding rice as the base and topping it with the steak strips, vegetables and egg. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and even add your favorite hot sauce if you like it spicy. Enjoy!