Korean Vegetable-Rice Bowls
Called bibimbap, which means “mixed rice” in Korean, this dish uses short-grain rice as a stage for colorful mounds of blanched vegetables and kimchi, which can be found not only in Korean markets, but increasingly at many grocers. A fried egg on top of each bowl provides protein and richness. When making short-grain rice, count on the fact that it triples in volume when cooked. For the amount of rice called for here, start with 2 2/3 cups (about 19 oz./590 g) uncooked rice.
- 1 large cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeded
- Sea salt
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 10 oz. (315 g) baby spinach
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
- 4 eggs
- 8 cups (40 oz./1.25 kg) warm steamed short-grain rice
- 2 cups (2 oz./60 g) bean sprouts
- 1 sheet nori seaweed, cut with scissors into thin strips
- 1 1/4 cups (5 oz./155 g) Napa cabbage kimchi
- Hot sauce for serving
Cut the cucumber halves crosswise into 1/8-inch (3-mm) slices and place in a colander. Toss with 1 tsp. salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Rinse the cucumbers well, gather them in a clean dish towel and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a small bowl and toss with 1 tsp. of the sesame oil, 1 1/2 tsp. of the vinegar and 1 tsp. of the sesame seeds; set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until just tender, 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the carrots from the water, rinse with cold water, drain and transfer to a bowl. Toss with the remaining 1⁄2 tsp. vinegar and 1⁄4 tsp. salt. Repeat the process cooking with the spinach, cooking until the leaves are just wilted, 1 minute. Squeeze all the liquid from the leaves, place them in a bowl, and toss with the remaining 1 tsp. sesame oil, 1 tsp. sesame seeds and the soy sauce.
Warm a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Add the oil and crack the eggs into the pan, spacing them evenly. Fry until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, 3 to 5 minutes.
Divide the rice among 4 large bowls. Place small mounds of the cucumber, carrots, spinach and sprouts around the rice. Place an egg in the center of each bowl. Sprinkle with the nori strips. Pass the kimchi and hot sauce at the table. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian, by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, 2014)