I don’t know about you, but I am always hard-pressed not to order a colourful bowl of bibimbap when given a Korean menu. I always intend trying something different, but rarely do I get get past saying, “Bibimbap, please. Extra kimchi.”
Fun to say and fun to eat.
Meaning “mixed rice”, this sizzling, often stone bowl of sticky rice, finely cut veggies, seasoned meats or tofu, a fried egg and the tongue-tantalising, hot-yet-kinda-sweet red pepper sauce is my kind of comfort food. Not only does it deliver on the carb front, but the typical rainbow of veggies and tangy dollop of gochujang in a bibimpbap mean that comfort and healthy can be in the same sentence. Can we say that about mac and cheese or mashed potatoes and gravy?
Okay, this isn’t quite the same thing.;-)
Proper, restaurant-served bibimbap is made in a stone bowl (dolsot) giving the rice a gorgeous crunchy crust, but homestyle versions are just as delicious: cooked rice spooned into bowls and topped with all manner of vegetables – or even leftover vegetables from other dishes (think cooked green beans or leftover grated carrots) – is easier and more economical too. All you need to do is add in some spicy gochujang – or to be honest, sriracha mixed with honey and soy sauce is pretty good too – a bit of kimchi and a fried egg and you are winning at Korean comfort food!
My version ditches the usual thin strips of seasoned flank steak for gochujang-coated chickpeas. Make more than you need of these spicy protein bombs because you will be picking them from the pan before they make it to the table. I have also done a quick pickle with spiralised cucumber and carrots, sauteed up some spinach and shiitake mushrooms and fried a dinky little quail’s egg – all optional steps. Bibimbap reads as a long and tricky dish but I swear it isn’t. Think of it as side dishes on rice!
I will leave you for now, but I hope to soon share a traditional recipe from a country from which I have just returned with my bff. I ate some of it everyday for breakfast, and smuggled some back to try and “food to glow”. 🙂 If you follow me on Instagram you will know where I’ve been.
Jeg vil se dig snart!
Vegetarian Korean Bibimbap with Gochujang Chickpeas
The recipe for the spicy, umami and slightly sweet gochujang is in this recent post. Or buy a good brand from your local Asian supermarket.
Use whatever cooked rice you like. For ease I used a pouch of pre-cooked quinoa and brown basmati mix from Tilda, making this light supper or lunch dish even easier. This is easily scaled up of course. And don’t be daunted by the steps: they are very easy and nothing will spoil for a little sitting around, even if you take your time. xx
165 (2/3 cup) cooked rice or other grain/pseudo-grain (short grain rice is traditional) with 1/2 tsp of toasted sesame oil added; kept warm and moist
90g (1/2 cup) cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp gochujang (link is to my recipe for this Korean spicy red pepper paste)
1 small carrot (I used a rainbow carrot), spiralised, grated or julienned
2 inch piece of cucumber, spiralised or thinly sliced and pressed in a tea towel
1 & 1/2 tsp black vinegar or rice vinegar, divided use
Tiny pinch of sugar (about 1/16 tsp)
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil + a few drops for the chickpeas
1 tsp neutral oil, divided use (for shiitake and egg)
Two handfuls of baby spinach, washed but not dried
4-5 shiitake mushrooms
1 organic egg (I used a quail’s egg, but a hen or duck egg is more satisfying – if not as cute)
1/4 red pepper (bell/capsicum), sliced
Heaped tbsp chopped kimchi
Black sesame seeds, to garnish
Extra gochujang and sesame oil, to serve
1. Heat a small non-stick pan and add the chickpeas and gochujang, stirring occasionally until the chickpeas are sticky. Stir in a little bit of sesame oil to keep them from drying out. Put a lid on it and keep warm.
2. In two separate small bowls/ramekins add the cucumber and carrots; divide the 1 teaspoon of vinegar between each and add the pinch of sugar and a little salt to the cucumber. Set aside.
3. Heat the spinach in its water until wilted. Press of the water in a sieve and add to a small bowl; add the sesame oil and remaining vinegar. Set aside.
4. Heat a small pan and add 3/4 tsp of the neutral oil (I used organic Scottish rapeseed oil), add the shiitake and stir-fry until golden. Season with a little pepper and salt. I added a dash of yuzu juice too, but that’s perhaps a frippery too far for some. Set aside.
5. In the same pan, heat the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of oil and when hot crack in the egg, if using. Put on a lid (preferably clear so you can monitor progress) and cook until the white is set and the yolk is still wobbly – about two minutes.
6. Now it is time to assemble. Add the rice to a warmed bowl (I just pour in boiling water, pour out then dry the bowl), and top with everything. Aesthetically it is the done thing to place these as individual dollops, but if it is just you of course put it on any way you like. Remember to add the kimchi, red pepper slices, black sesame seeds and extra gochujang. Now, mix it all up to break the yolk, and dig in!
Other add-ins/variations: vegans why not add cubes of pan-fried tofu or tempeh instead of the egg; add blanched beansprouts; add leftover cooked shredded meat of choice. Add any interesting vegetables you like – mooli, jicama, courgette – but just try and keep it all the same thickness and size. This sounds pedantic, but it really makes a difference. 🙂
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44 thoughts on “Korean Rice Bowl with Gochujang Chickpeas Recipe (Bibimbap)”
Love this recipe! My family makes bibimbap all the time and next time, def trying the chickpeas xx
Hi Aziza. Yes, juicing is good but it needs to be clear juice. I have a couple of low fibre pages with more info. Just look in the Nutrition and Cancer tab at the top of this page
For links. Best wishes to you and your father.
This is fantastic with such bold flavors. I will have to find that chili sauce. My kind of dish!!
Hi Zeba. The sauce is pretty easy to make (I’ve given a link to my recipe), but if you have sriracha, honey and soy sauce you can do a decent-ish approximation. 🙂
Mouthwatering and cannot be improved, great job K 🙂 Having it this week, that’s a certainty, thank you!
Oh yay! Let me know how it is for you, Niki. “-)
FYI…Indian Vegetarian don’t even have an egg.:) Btw, i have it, so i love this dish.
I’m actually not sure I’ve ever had Korean food! But you’ve totally convinced me that I must. Healthy comfort food is the best.
This is deeply comforting. I do think you would like Korean food very much, Becca. Bibimbap is very much a “starter” dish in that it isn’t too wild with unfamiliar ingredients. Maybe you have a Korean restaurant or cafe somewhere near you to give it a try?
Hah – I never knew bibimbap meant mixed rice! But I do know that I’ve always loved saying it 😉 This looks glorious – such a riot of flavours and colours!
Thanks so much, Jeanne. I can’t believe I taught you something! I’m well chuffed about that! 🙂
Wish I had this bowl ready and waiting for me for dinner tonight. It’s a nice mix of cooked and raw/pickled elements, perfect for spring. And look forward to hearing more about that breakfast recipe!
Hi Katie. I think bibimbap crosses seasons so I would happily have it (and have done so) any time of year. I wish I could send you a bowl!
I love bibimbap! I make it about twice a month with leftovers. Will have to try this one, it looks delicious!
It is a perfect dish for tarting up leftovers, that’s for sure. Thanks for stopping by.
I love everything about this! It sounds amazing and looks so nourishing and delicious. Yum!
I adore bimbimbap! I was completely addicted to it when I used to work opposite a Korean lunch place. Your version looks amazing and has reminded me how much I want to make my own. I even have the stone bowl for it!
I would never get any work done if I was across from a Korean restaurant! Where I used to work now has a home-cooking Korean cafe as well as an outstanding Thai cafe. Thank goodness I live out in the sticks, and the closest thing of interest where I work is Waitrose. 🙂
this looks so good… I had an amazing time in Korea and the food was sensational, particularly the Bibimbap… I love the colours here too, as always, so well presented x
The dish looks lovely, particularly the chickpeas. Yum 🙂
Thanks so much, Anca. Make double the chickpeas so you can snack on them. 🙂
What a gorgeous blog! I am a healthy living blogger too so I am loving this-kimchi is supposed to be so good for you!
If you like kimchi,you’ve come to the right place, Jenna. Kimchi and I have history. Quite a few kimchi-related posts. And then there is my Instagram feed…. 😉 Thanks for taking the time to visit me and leave a comment.
I can’t wait to share this with my sister! We just got back from Korea and she’s vegetarian, so it’s perfect! Thank you for sharing!
Oh wow – goals! I would love to go to Korea but I think bibimbap is the closest I will get. What was your favourite dish there, Jenn?
My favourite is sundobu chigae. Soft tofu soup! It was cold when we went to it was perfect to get warm from the inside!
Ooh, that sounds like something I would LOVE. I am away to look that up and see what I can do about sorting out how to get that in my life short of flying to Seoul. Thanks for the tip Jenn! 🙂
Hope you’re able to find a place! 🙂 cheers.
I really like the Asian touch on food. Especially Japanese food!
I think Bibimbap is one of my favourite words and your version of this dish looks so tempting my tummy is actually rumbling!
Nice one! We are a paella catering company, but never get tired of rice dishes! Will try this delicious one at the weekend! 🙂
Thanks so much for the approval!
Love the sub of chick peas for steak, I am trying to eat more plant based meals so this one is a winner – Kat
I love Korean food especially due to it’s intense spices and Korean fried chicken tops the list for me! But Bibimap is my Korean comfort food , your bowl looks inviting, colourful and yum!
Thanks so much, Manjiri. Korean food is one of my favourites, and bibimbap is one of the dishes that I feel can be just as good made at home 🙂
Wow it looks so nice!! Putting chick peas in Bibimbap is good idea. I want to try to make your version next time~! Also, in your blog all of food photos look so delicious~!