In the novel, The Island of the Sea Women, the haeyno on Jeju were famous for their ability to catch abalone and octopus. Since I don’t care for either of those foods, I decided to try a Korean dish that can use a variety of meats. Bibimbap, pronounced BEE-bim-bap, is a Korean rice bowl mixed with vegetables, meat, an egg, and Gochujang sauce. There are dozens of ways to make this. While short-grain white rice is traditional, brown rice could be substituted. The vegetables can include sprouts, spinach, zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, kimchi, and red bell pepper. The meats can be ground beef, sirloin, ribeye, pork shoulder, or chicken. Seafood or tofu can also be substituted for meat. The eggs are traditionally fried sunny side up but can be scrambled or cooked to your preference.
The Bibimbap ingredients are all cooked individually, then arranged on top of cooked white rice. This is topped with a dollop or two of Gochujang sauce. The egg is added last, then sprinkled with sesame seeds. The dish is stirred together thoroughly just before eating. It can be served hot or at room temperature. I found the marinade recipe on RecipeTinEats.com. I loved the addition of the Granny Smith Apples, giving it a unique sweetness.
For vegetables, I used a broccoli and carrot slaw mix that I already had on hand, plus red bell pepper, cucumber, and shiitake mushrooms. The top sirloin is a great cut and takes on the marinade nicely. The Gochujang sauce can be purchased at Whole Foods or in the Asian section of many grocery stores. I use a traditional warmed Korean stone bowl to keep the dish warm, but a soup bowl works as well.