I ve basically become addicted to asian food. Its true, if it has rice or noodles and some obscure asian ingredients….I am on board! We are lucky enough in Boston to be surrounded by great Japanese, Korean and Thai restaurants. From Bibimbap to Thai larb, there is little I have found that I haven’t enjoyed! We are still searching for good Indian food so any input on that front will be most welcome.
I have always thought that asian food was complicated to prepare at home, mostly due to the fact that the list of ingredients is always expansive. It turns out, once you have the right ingredients in stock, assembly can be a piece of cake. Since leaving Ballymaloe, I have made more curries than I can count. Now its time to up my game – Korean is my current adventure. I recently bought the wonderful “Our Korean Kitchen” by fellow Ballymaloe Baby Jordan Bourke and his wife Regina.
It is very important to track down authentic ingredients – gochujang chili paste is key in korean cuisine. It is available online or in most asian supermarkets. There are a number of great asian supermarkets in Boston. Of course, Chinatown will have nearly every food imaginable however, H-Mart in Cambridge and Burlington are fantastic. Hong Kong Supermarket in Allston, while slightly dodgy looking, stocks all the sauces and pastes you might need (although I am not sure I would buy the seafood or meat they stock!)
Rice bowls are delicous, easy to prepare and supremely satisfying. I tend to always cook too much rice these days specifically for the purpose of using the leftovers for this! This can be eaten vegetarian or with a small amount of your preferred meat. Traditionally it is beef but I have made it with chicken and pork. Stock your fridge with a myriad colorful vegetables and you have the makings of a delicous feast at your fingertips. While this may sound laborious, once you have the components prepared and ready, it is mostly just a case of assembly. I assure you, this is the perfect leftover rice meal that is full of goodness and will make you smile! The only tedious part is chopping!
Bibimbap – Korean Rice Bowls:
Adapted from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Regina Pyo
To Marinate Meat:
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 spring onion
- Beef, chicken, pork or tofu – traditionally only a very small amount will be used
For the rice bowl:
- 200g rice – I use brown rice but basmati or other white works just as well.
- 1 medium carrot, grated or sliced into julienne
- 1 small daikon radish, grated or sliced into julienne
- 75g bean sprouts
- 150g spinach
- 75g cucumber halved lengthways and thinly sliced
- Spring onions, thinly sliced
- 2 eggs.
- Some kimchi to serve (optional)
- Sesame seeds, to garnish
For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp gochujang chilli paste (available in asian supermarkets and some larger chains)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Firstly, marinate your protein in the marinade mixture, ideally for 60 mins
- Meanwhile cook the rice according to package instructions.
- Once the rice is cooked, set aside but reserve the cooking water.
- Blanch the carrot in the rice cooking water, 1 minute max. Drain fully. Repeat with the Daikon and cucumber. Keep the vegetables separate.
- Blanch the spinach until wilted. Drain and squeeze out excess water.
- Heat a frying pan to a high heat. Add the meat and cook 3-5 mins, until cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Last but not least, fry the eggs over a medium to high heat. I like to keep them sunny side up so that the yolk blends into the rice.
- Finally, serve the rice in individual bowls. Place egg on top of the rice and arrange vegetables and meat around the yolk.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds, serve with gochujang sauce and kimchi to taste.