What is Bibimbap?
I have traveled to both of the Koreas a couple of times and have always been a big fan of Bibimbap. So I am very happy I got to prepare this vegan Bibimbap recipe to present on VeganEvergreens.
In Korean, bibim means something like hustled or mixed. Bap means rice. So Bibimbap pretty much sums it up, as it traditionally consists of rice with leftovers and those leftovers were mostly veggies. Therefore, the vegan Bibimbap recipe is the authentic one. Nowadays however, modern variations with meat and/or egg and even seafood occur.
Featuring leftovers basically means that any type of veggies (that exist on the Korean peninsula) can be used, but it’s hard to encounter a bibimbap without spinach and carrot. Beansprouts are a usual suspect as well. We chose to complete our vegan Bibimbap recipe with shiitake mushrooms and scallions.
Bibimbap gochujang sauce
So what is it that gives this dish its characteristic taste? Ofcourse the sesame oil and the short grain rice (sushi rice) gives it a typical East Asian touch. But it’s the gochujang sauce that – in my humble opinion – makes bibimbap stand out.
It’s a sauce made of fermented soy bean with glutinous rice, chili powder and some malt barley. The fermentation gives the sauce a unique taste.
As it is used for marinating as well, Korean households always have gochujang in stock. That is probably why it serves as a condiment for Bibimbap, Korean’s leftover rice dish.
But even outside of Korea you’ll be surprised at how many locations you will find gochujang. Even many regular (not specified) supermarkets sell small containers or bottles of this magic sauce.
How to serve this vegan Bibimbap recipe
Another secret of the increased popularity of Bibimbap is that it looks so colorful and thus teases the appetite. Ingredients are prepared sequentially so they can be presented side by side.
The mixing of the ingredients is often done by the chef at the table in front of the guest.
For 4 servings
- 350 grams (4 cups) of short grain (sushi) rice
- Optional: a handful of black and white sesame seeds
For the gochujang sauce
- 8 tablespoons (½ cup) of gochujang sauce
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of white sugar
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 ½ tablespoon of white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped up
For the veggies
- 1 big carrot, chopped julienne
- 6 stems of spinach (or 600 grams / 20 oz), stems cut julienne
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped up
- 4 handfuls of bean sprouts
- 4 stems of scallions
- 12 shiitake mushrooms
- 6 tablespoons of sesame oil\
- 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 leaf of nori (seaweed) optional
- Saucepan or wok
- Cooking pan or rice cooker
Step-by-step vegan Bibimbap recipe
Prep: 10 min. | Cook: 25 min. | Total: 35 min.
- Cook the rice as instructed on the package.
How to make the gochujang sauce
- Chop up 2 cloves of garlic.
- Mix 8 tablespoons (½ cup) of gochujang sauce with the garlic, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of white sugar, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of water and 1 ½ tablespoon of white sesame seeds.
- Stir well until the sugar is dissolved and set aside.
How to prepare the veggies
- Boil about half a liter of water in a kettle. This is for blanching the bean sprouts later on.
- Cut the carrot julienne.
- Chop up 3 cloves of garlic and cut the spinach stems julienne (if you bought spinach leaves, just wash them).
- Cut the green part of the scallions julienne and the white part in small chunks
- Wash the shiitake mushrooms and cut in chunks (I cut the ones on the photo in three).
- Heat in a wok or saucepan 6 tablespoons of sesame oil and 4 tablespoons of soy sauce.
- While your oil is getting hot, blanch the beansprouts by pouring the boiling water. After 2 minutes, rinse and set aside the beansprouts.
- When the oil is hot, add the carrots and stir fry. Optionally, season with a bit of black pepper. Stir well and take out the carrots when they are bright orange and a bit soft. Set aside the carrots and keep the oil in the pan.
Pro-tip: chopsticks are your mate when taking out these julienne veggies.
- In the same oil, add the 3 cloves of chopped up garlic together with all the spinach. Stir well and take out after a few minutes when the spinach is soft and has a fresh green color. Again, keep the oil in the pan and set the spinach aside. Add a bit extra if you think you have too little left.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms to the pan and let them dance (by shaking the pan) for about 3 minutes. And here again: set aside the mushrooms and keep the oil.
- It’s now the scallions’ turn. These only need to stir fry for about a minute so that they remain crispy.
For a nice presentation, take a bowl and add rice in the shape of a pyramid: the top is in the middle of the bowl leaving room on the side.
Place the veggies in groups such that the colors contrast. Put some nori (seaweed) in between the veggies if you like. Finally pour the gochujang sauce onto the rice. And last but not least: sprinkle with some black and white sesame seeds.
Serve and mix with a tablespoon after serving out. Add extra sauce to your liking — we did for sure!
What do you think of this vegan Bibimbap recipe?
We like to hear from you, so don’t be shy and leave a comment below! 🙂
Prep: 10 min.
Cook: 25 min.
Total: 35 min.
Ingredients: sushi rice, carrot, spinach, shiitake, scallion, sesame oil, bean sprouts, garlic, gochujang, nori (seaweed), soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds
Type of meal: main dish