Marinade for beef, chicken, seafood, or tofu:
¼ cup brown sugar
Half clove (more or less, to taste) minced garlic
2 Tbsp. minced ginger root
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. toasted white sesame seeds (Or 1 Tbsp. each white and black sesame seeds)
2 tbsp. sesame oil
¼ cup soy sauce (more or less, to taste)
¼ cup soju (Korean equivalent of sake (rice wine)
The Other Topping Stuff
4 oz. mung bean sprouts
8 oz. fresh baby leaf spinach
12 dried shiitake mushrooms
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 medium zucchini, 1 carrot, 1 finger-length chunk of daikon radish (optional, but nice to have. Canned sliced bamboo would be a reasonable option) Cut all veggies and reconstituted shiitake into matchstick-sized bits.
3 oz. dried gosari (wild bracken fern), cut into 3-inch pieces (optional)
2 whole eggs
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl, then add meat or tofu.
Note the first choice would be thin-sliced beef round, cut lengthwise into strips. I look for carne asada beef, then finish cutting it and store it for later use in various kinds of stir-fry recipes, for taco filler, or, of course, for bibimbap, in freezer bags. An alternative is to buy round steak, put it in the freezer to firm it, then cut it into strips. The same approach would apply to pork tenderloin, fish fillets, or skinless chicken breast. For tofu, use “momen” (Cotton), which is the firm kind, cut into quarter-inch chunks. Cover and set aside for at least an hour (less for seafood or tofu).
Cook rice (2 servings of short-grain, or Japonica). I use a rice cooker to make mine. Rince the rice at least twice, drain, and add fresh water to the 2-cup line, plus one shot of soju/rice wine This brings out the best of the rice flavor.
2. The bibimbap topping: Bring a 4-quart saucepan of water to a boil, and add sprouts; blanch (cook until crisptender), about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, then into a strainer to drain, and dry with paper towels; set aside. Repeat procedure with sthe pinach (Gently squeeze out as much liquid as possible when draining). When finished, pour boiling water into a bowl and add mushrooms; let soften for 30 minutes. Drain, remove stems, slice, and set aside.
Heat 2 Tbsp. canola and 1 Tbsp. sesame oil in a wok or fry pan over medium heat, cook the meat and its marinade, stirring gently. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Return the juice to the wok . Add the extra minced garlic and the shiitake mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 2 minutes. Set aside, and repeat the same procedure with the gosari, zucchini, carrots and daikon. Set aside. Sprinkle the additional sesame seed over the spinach.
Arrange the dolsot bowls (Be sure to follow the instructions for “seasoning” the dolsot beforehand.) Add 2 Tbsp. sesame oil to the bottom of each bowl, add the rice, then place the vegetable toppings in a ring around the bowl. Place the meat in the middle and break an egg over the meat. Sprinkle the chopped green onion over the toppings.
Drizzle an additional tablespoon or two of sesame oil around the inside of the dolsot. This will both add flavor and keep the rice from sticking.
(A nice optional touch of color and heat could be added before serving, using chili threads or a sprinkling of chili seeds to taste. Another option just before serving is a garnish of bib lettuce or chicory, with gochujang (spicy Korean miso paste).