The July Daring Cooks' Challenge took us to Korea, where Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado taught us to make bibimbap. This colorful rice dish can be customized to meet any taste, and is as much fun to eat as it is to say!
Two posts in one day?? That's what happens every few months when the second Monday of the month (SRC posting day) happens to fall on the 14th of that month (Daring Cooks' posting day).
And, yes, that means that I had two challenges in flux while preparing to move. Whee!
But I couldn't not participate in this awesome challenge, hosted by the even more awesome Renata. Renata is from Brazil, but spent the last few years in Korea, so has such amazing influences in her cooking. She is always an inspiration and I just had to cook along with her.
This month she challenged us to make bibimbap, a Korean rice dish that usually involves a variety of vegetables, some sort of protein and, in most cases, an egg - usually added to the dish raw!
The dish is usually a bit spicy, thanks in part to a red pepper sauce that is served alongside the main dish.
Preparing to move, I didn't want to add another jar to my pantry, so I decided to forgo the red pepper paste and create my own sauce, inspired by the given recipe. Many Asian dishes use peanut sauces, so I went with a nut-allergy-friendly version, and made a Sunbutter sauce, made with Sunbutter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and minced garlic.
It was super thick, even though I added quite a bit of extra soy sauce, but I decided to just go with it.
Sauce resting in the fridge, it was time to consider the main dish. Bibimbap is a rice dish, but the rice is the hidden part of the dish, being placed in the bowl under a variety of sauteed vegetables. The possibilities are endless, so I just went with what I had on hand.
The longest part of the process is prepping all those veggies. They all had to be sliced into relatively similar matchstick sized pieces.
Then each veggie is sauteed, separately, in sesame oil.
But the result is a really pretty plate of deliciousness.
The final aspect is the egg. Now, the traditional dish is served in a stone bow, which is heated prior to serving. What does this have to do with the egg? Well, when using that traditional, heated dish, the egg is added just prior to serving - and is cracked right into the bowl, over the finished dish. When served, one simply starts stirring things together, which results in the egg cooking right in the bowl. Pretty cool.
Except I don't have any stone bowls.
So I had to cook my egg prior to serving. So I whipped up an egg and cooked it nice and flat...
...then sliced it up into matchstick sized pieces comparable to the veggie pieces.
Then it was time to construct the meal!
It starts with a layer of rice...
...then all of those veggies and the egg strips, arranged as artistically as you can manage. Not so much for me, but hey.
For the finishing touches, add a protein of your choice (I chose chicken tenderloins, sauteed in sesame oil and seasoned with salt, garlic powder and soy sauce), and serve with a side of the previously prepared sauce.
I know it seems like a lot of work and a lot of steps. But it actually isn't so bad, and the results? Totally worth it! This was interesting to prepare and actually really fun to eat.
Renata, thank you so much for this fun challenge - I can't wait to try other versions of this rice dish inspired by the recipe that you chose.
To see the challenge as Renata presented it to us, check it out here.
2 days ago