Basic Bibimbap

I am calling this "Basic Bibimbap" because while there are many variations on what can be added to this dish, this combination uses veggies that compliment each other and are easy to find at any grocery store (although you may have to "stock up" with some of the basic dry ingredients elsewhere). Note that this is a vegetarian version, but one could add sauteed, flavored beef strips, although this is decidedly not my expertise!

There is a learning curve required here if you have never made bibimbap before, but once you have your process down, you can (amazingly!) make this in about 30 minutes.

If you make the following amount, you will, depending on the number of folks you feed, have enough for leftovers. It will not be as fresh-tasting, but I'm willing to sacrifice a little for convenience!

Korean Store Grocery List

  • Korean red pepper paste (gochujang, a thick deep red paste made up of red pepper powder and syrup, gochujang is both spicy and sweet)
  • Korean red pepper powder (coarse)
  • Korean rice
  • Rice vinegar
  • Dark sesame oil
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Roasted Korean sesame seeds


There is no substitute for this sauce! Without it one can at most make "bibimbap styled" dishes. This recipe is not set in stone; alter the amount of Korean red pepper paste you use to raise or lower the heat.

  • 4-6 T Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 2 T apple juice (optional)
  • 2 T dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 T honey
  • 1/2 T sugar, or to taste


  • 1 package spinach
  • 2 packages of soybean (not mung bean) sprouts
  • 5 carrots or 2 packs of julienned carrots
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated if dried
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 egg/person
  • roasted sesame seeds (buy at Korean store)
  • Korean rice or, if unavailable, sushi rice
  • Korean red pepper powder


  1. Prepare the rice according to package instructions.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the bibimbap sauce until well-blended and set on the table. The result should be deep red, thick, sweet, spicy, and smell slightly of apples and sesame.
  3. Boil the sprouts for 10 minutes in a large pot (no need to prep the sprouts; they're ready to go).
  4. In a large bowl, mix the cooked sprouts with sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, Korean red pepper powder, 2 chopped green onions, and salt to taste. It's hard to get this wrong; the sprouts are very bland and can take a lot of salt. I've noticed that adding too much red pepper powder can give the sprouts a bitter taste, though.
  5. Steam or boil washed spinach until bright. Gently squeeze or press out excess water.
  6. In a large bowl, mix the spinach with sesame oil, salt, 2 chopped green onions, and 1/2 T of the bibim sauce.
  7. Peel and julienne the carrots into 2 inch long matchsticks. This is painful, but try the method of slicing the carrot on the diagonal and then "hacking" at it (i.e., the diagonal slices will be in a sort of layered stack, and you can cut the stack horizontally). Just try it; don't think too hard. The resulting matchsticks need not be perfect. Thin enough to gobble up easily but thick enough to be substantial (not shredded). Set aside.
  8. Thinly slice the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and set aside.
  9. In a wok or frying pan, cook the eggs sunny side up in canola or sesame oil. Ideally the yolk should be in-tact and runny, but personally I cook it through. I also take a shortcut and cook all the eggs at once rather than individually and then separate them. This may be sacrilege, but I am not a restaurant! I've got things to do.
  10. Set the eggs aside. In the same pan, adding more sesame oil if necessary, stir-fry the carrots for 2 minutes and add salt to taste. Set aside.
  11. In the same pan, stir-fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes and add a little salt (a little goes a long way here).
  12. Add one heap of rice per person to the largest individual serving bowls in your house. (If using old rice or serving guests, you might toast part of the rice in the pan to make it crispy. To do this, heat sesame oil in your frying pan or wok after cooking the other ingredients. Smush a thin layer of rice along the pan. Your goal is maximum surface area. Cook on medium to high heat until slightly browned. You'll hear it making "crispy" noises. Proportion half crispy rice/half regular rice in the individual bowls.)
  13. Arrange the individual veggies (sprouts, spinach, carrots, mushrooms) around the sides of each individual bowl, or let your fellow diners do this themselves. Place the egg in the middle and drizzle with sesame oil. After adding a spoonful of the sauce (more or less depending on the taste of the person), each person should then thoroughly mix the veggies, egg, and rice. You could also mix this in the pot, but I find it both more fun and more appetizing do it individually. Eat with a large spoon. The result should be about 1/2 rice, 1/2 veggies, and all red. It won't look like fried rice.

There should be plenty of veggies and sauce left for another meal. Just heat each ingredient in the pan after cooking the eggs.




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