If you’ve lived in New York as long as I have, you learn to love a steaming stone pot of Korean bibimbap as much as a comforting bowl of mashed potatoes. Bibimbap, which means “mixed rice” in Korean, is so much more than that. The steamy soft white rice is a comforting cushion for sautéed carrots, spinach, and kimchi, and for the grand finale, a fried egg, often tossed tableside with spicy red-pepper gochujang paste. This filling, flavorful meal is surprisingly easy to execute at home. With all the vegetables, there’s no reason not to make it a habit. Consider yourself armed with the best of both worlds—flavor and health. Bibimbap is vitality in a bowl, from your very own kitchen.
Click here to read the bottomless pot of bibimbap.
Rice Cooker Bibimbap With Salmon and Spinach
10 ounces leaf spinach, fresh or frozen
Roasted sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces salmon fillet, sliced 1/4 inch thick across the grain
1 cup rice, preferably medium- or short-grain, rinsed
1 long hot green pepper, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons kimchi, finely chopped
Kochuj ang or another Asian chili paste such as sambal or chili bean paste
Sesame seeds and finely chopped scallions, for garnish.
1. Using steamer function, steam spinach in rice cooker until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove to a kitchen towel, wring dry and thinly slice into a bowl. Season to taste with sesame oil, rice vinegar and salt. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and steam until just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Break into large flakes. (See Note.)
2. Clean out cooker and cook rice according to instructions. When done (or when cooker switches to “warm” function), quickly stir in sliced pepper and kimchi, making sure to scrape and scoop up bottom layer of rice. Smooth top.
3. Drizzle 2 teaspoons sesame oil over rice and gently break eggs on top, placing one on each side of cooker. Cover and put cooker on “cook” function for 5 minutes.
4. Switch cooker to “warm,” arrange salmon and spinach next to eggs, cover and let steam just until egg whites are opaque (yolks should be runny). Place a teaspoon of chili paste in center.
5. At table, stir dish together. (A toasty crust may have formed on bottom of your rice cooker: scrape this up and mix into dish.) Scoop into serving bowls, sprinkling each with sesame seeds and scallions. Pass sesame oil, rice vinegar and chili paste for seasoning.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings.
Note: Salmon and spinach can be steamed in a separate pot on stovetop. Cooked chicken or steak can be substituted for salmon. Bibimbap can also be made in a heavy round pot with at least a 3-quart capacity.