Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quick Bi Bim Bop Bowl

Ross and I used to live in Uptown, and some days when we'd ride the train home together, we'd get off at the Sheridan red line stop (our stop) and have a quick, healthy Korean dinner at BBop, which is practically underneath the train tracks.

I never quite understood the name BBop until I began to look into making my own Korean food - namely, Bi Bim Bop, a simple rice, egg, meat, and veggie concoction. Then one day it hit me - BBop is a cutesy abbrevation of Bi Bim Bop, one of Korea's most famous and most popular dishes.

I was always struck by how simple the dish is - it's rice, marinated meat (chicken or steak), sprouts, cucumbers, carrots, and spinach, simply placed into a bowl - not mixed up, just placed side-by-side, Salade Nicoise style. You douse it with hot sauce or top it with kimchi, and there you have it: a Korean dinner.

The idea to create my own version of Bi Bim Bop struck me last night, when I found myself with not much more than a few eggs, a couple carrots, and some leftover brown rice in the fridge. Eggs and rice topped with Sriracha is one of my favorite quick-and-lazy meals, but I wanted to punch up the nutritional content. And it hit me - I was only a few veggies away from Bi Bim Bop.

I did change a few things (what did you expect?). I opted for fresh broccolini over spinach; I kept it meatless but added some protein with some shelled, ready-to-eat edamame (sticking with the Asian theme); I left out the sprouts because I'm not a sprouts fan; and I improvised an Asian-flavored sauce that tasted remarkably like the Korean sauce from BBop - a lucky coincidence, believe me.



~1 cup cooked brown rice (or you could use white)
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 c. cucumber, sliced into half moons
handful cooked, ready-eat, shelled edamame
1 bunch broccolini, quickly boiled or steamed until crisp-tender, tough stems removed
1 egg
butter for frying the egg, or oil or pan spray


1 T. Sriracha (if you don't like things spicy, start with about a tsp.)
2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
a couple dashes rice wine vinegar
drizzle of honey
1 clove garlic, minced


Arrange the rice and all the veggies on a plate or in a bowl (traditionally, they are placed side-by-side in little piles, not mixed together). Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Fry the egg until the whites are cooked and the yolk is still runny.


Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce. Place the egg on top of the rice and drizzle the sauce over the rice, egg, and veggies. Enjoy!

Bi Bim Bop is great with chicken; if you wanted to add chicken to this dish, I'd marinate diced chicken breast in the sauce, then just quickly saute it until it's cooked through.

The Bi Bim Bop came out great! I absolutely love how the sauce came out, and I will definitely be making it again for future Asian cooking needs (beware: if you've never used Sriracha, it is very spicy. My mouth was on fire for 10 minutes after I was finished eating). It's so great to be able to cook something in your very own kitchen that people on the other side of the world love to cook in theirs.

Thanks for reading! More soon...

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