Deuki Hong's Bibimbap

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 to 3

Outside of barbecue and kimchi, bibimbap is quite possibly the best-known Korean dish in America. And what’s not to love? Mixing warm rice with a bunch of vegetables, grilled meat and fried egg simply blankets your soul, according to Chef Deuki Hong, who insists that this is more of an “anti-recipe,” because it should only serve as a basic guideline. Rice, he says, is the dish’s only constant. Whatever meat or vegetables you have on hand, from leftover mushrooms to that half package of fish cakes you found in the back of your freezer, will work. Here we include some of Deuki’s favorite toppings, such as sesame bean sprouts, kimchi and spinach. If you don’t have time to marinate the bulgogi, simply sear some thinly sliced sirloin instead. Any leftover bean sprouts or spinach will keep, refrigerated, for up to a week.


For the bulgogi:

  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) soy sauce
  • 1/2 white onion, grated
  • 1 green onion, white and light green portions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. mirin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) rib eye or sirloin steak, very thinly sliced
  • Olive oil for the pan

For the sesame bean sprouts

  • 1 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small red chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (4 oz./125 g) bean sprouts
  • 1 Tbs. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 green onion, white and light green portions, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the soy and sesame spinach:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. (500 g) baby spinach
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) gochujang
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. Korean apple vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. lemon-lime soda

To assemble:

  • 2 cups (10 oz./310 g) hot cooked rice
  • 1/2 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) kimchi, at room temperature
  • 2 or 3 fried eggs
  • 2 or 3 small sheets of toasted seaweed, cut into thin strips
  • Sesame seeds for sprinkling


To make the bulgogi, in a bowl, stir together the soy sauce, white onion, green onion, garlic, sugar, mirin, sesame oil, sesame seeds and pepper. Put the beef in a sealable plastic bag and pour the marinade on top. Compress the bag to remove the excess air, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

To make the sesame bean sprouts, in a wok or large sauté pan over high heat, warm the sesame oil. Add the garlic and sauté until very fragrant but still a shade of white, about 20 seconds. Add the chile, bean sprouts, oyster sauce, sugar and green onion and sauté, tossing frequently, until the bean sprouts are slightly wilted but still a little crunchy, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the soy and sesame spinach, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a bowl with ice water and set it nearby. Add the spinach to the pot and blanch until tender, about 30 seconds. Drain the spinach, then immediately transfer it to the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the spinach again. In a bowl, stir together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, pepper and garlic. Add the spinach and toss to coat thoroughly.

To make the sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the gochujang, sesame oil, honey, sugar, vinegar and lemon-lime soda. Set aside.

To cook the bulgogi, remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry. Rub the surface of a cast-iron fry pan or grill pan with olive oil and heat over high heat until smoking. Add the beef and sear, turning frequently, until the meat begins to caramelize on the outside and is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

To assemble the bibimbap, divide the rice among 2 or 3 individual bowls and top with 1/2 cup of the bean sprouts and 1/2 cup of the spinach, dividing them evenly. Divide the bulgogi, carrot, kimchi, fried eggs and seaweed among the bowls, and sprinkle each with sesame seeds. Add sauce to taste to each bowl. (Start with 2 Tbs. for each serving—just enough to turn the rice a light red when mixed in—then add more if you like.)

Mix well with a spoon, integrating the vegetables, meat, sauce and egg into a gooey, crunchy, amazing ball of goodness, and serve immediately. Serves 2 to 3.

Recipe adapted from Koreatown: A Cookbook, by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard (Clarkson Potter, 2016)

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