This bibimbap recipe is going to take some time to prepare, especially if you are making it for the first time. It includes some key traditional components such as doraji, gosari and gaji namul which are time consuming. That said, all that work is totally worth it. Every single item in the bowl is absolutely delicious. But of course, you don’t need to incorporate all of the components into a single bowl, you can just pick a combination of ingredients that you feel like eating and reduce the prep time.
Doraji (bellflower root) and gosari (fernbrake) require soaking in water for up to 24 hours, so keep that in mind. I really like the slight bitterness of the doraji and the crunchy texture it brings. The earthy flavor of gosari is quite interesting and is a great addition to bibimbap. Both are totally worth the extra effort required to prepare them.
This recipe is adapted in part from the following sources:
- For the sauce:
- 3 Tbsp gochujang
- 2 Tbsp mirin
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- For the bibimbap (mixed rice):
- 1 large cucumber, thinly sliced or cut into matchsticks
- 1½ cups baby spinach, parboiled and excess liquid squeezed out
- 4 Tbsp plus ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1½ cups bean sprouts, parboiled and excess liquid squeezed out
- 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 4 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 large portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced or cut into matchsticks
- 5 cups cooked rice
- 4 eggs, fried sunny-side up
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil, for serving
- 4 tsp thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
- Sea or kosher salt
- For the doraji (bellflower root):
- 1 ounce dried doraji, soaked in water for 18 to 24 hours
- Kosher salt
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- For the gosari (fernbrake)
- ½ ounce dried gosari, soaked (typically 24 hours) and boiled as described on the packaging (typically boiled for 20 minutes then placed in cold water for 1-2 hours, then cut into pieces)
- ½ tsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- For the gaji namul (seasoned eggplant):
- 2 medium Asian eggplant
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp gochugaru
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- A pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- To prepare the sauce, in a small bowl, combine the gochujang, mirin, sugar, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside.
- To prepare bibimbap, make all or a combination of the ingredients below:
- Cucumbers: In a small bowl, mix 1½ tablespoons of kosher salt with 2 cups of ice water. Drop the cucumber slices/matchsticks in the salted water for 20 minutes and then drain and squeeze excess water out.
- Spinach: In a small bowl, season the parboiled spinach with 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a ¼ teaspoon of the sesame seeds. Set aside.
- Bean sprouts: In a small bowl, season the parboiled bean sprouts with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- Carrots: Heat 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and a dash of salt, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until the carrots are crisp-tender. Remove the carrots and set aside.
- Mushrooms: Add another teaspoon of the sesame oil to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and a dash of salt, and sauté the mushrooms for 1 to 2 minutes until tender. Remove the mushrooms and set aside.
- Zucchini: Add another teaspoon of the sesame oil to the skillet. Add the zucchini and a dash of salt, and sauté the zucchini for 1 to 2 minutes, until the slices are crisp-tender. Remove the zucchini and set aside.
- Doraji: Drain the bellflower root. Toss with 1 tablespoon salt, then rub the bellflower for a minute to wilt it slightly and release some of its bitterness. Transfer to a sieve and rinse well to remove the salt, then drain thoroughly. Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet over high heat. Turn down the heat to medium, add the bellflower root, stirring, and cook until wilted and softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the platter.
- Gosari: Cut the fernbrake into 2-inch lengths. Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fernbrake and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to the platter.
- Gaji namul: Wash and cut the eggplant, cut in quarters lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Put the eggplant in a steamer basket set over boiling water and steam until fork-tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, gochugaru, sesame seeds, and salt, and season with pepper. Cool to room temperature before serving. (See notes for an alternative preparation method)
- Assembly: Divide the cooked rice in 4 large bowls and arrange the vegetables on top. Place an egg on top of the vegetables and rice. Garnish each egg with a pinch of sesame seeds and a teaspoon of sliced scallions.
- Serve with the sauce and the remaining sesame oil. The final step is to drizzle some bibimbap sauce and ½ tablespoon of sesame oil over the vegetables and egg, then mix everything together with a spoon before enjoying.
After the eggplant is cut into pieces, place it into a microwave safe container, add enough water to cover the eggplant and zap it for 2 minutes on high. Remove from the microwave, drain, then saute with 2 teaspoons of sesame oil over medium-high heat for about a minute or two, until it starts to become golden brown. Add the scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, gochugaru, sesame seeds, and salt, and season with pepper. Mix well, remove from heat and transfer onto a plate to cool down.
You can also use the following tasty components in your bibimbap:
1-2 Tbsp of chopped Korean kimchi per bowl
2-3 Tbsp bulgogi (marinated beef) per bowl
1 Tbsp shredded Korean roasted laver seaweed (gim)