My favorite favorite favorite food while living in Korea was dolsot bibimbap. It’s a hot stone pot full of rice and an array of colorful vegetables. A raw egg is cracked on top so that when you stir it all together, the heat of the pot cooks the egg, and the rice and veg get all mixed together. You end up with crispy bits of rice on the bottom — my favorite part!

Chicago has a vibrant Korean community, so recreating my favorite dishes here has been easier than I thought. While I’ll never be able to make them exactly as I once remembered (really, who can find gosari here?), my American fusion version gives me that little taste of “home away from home” when I crave it most.

This is my vegan version. The vegetables are merely a suggestion. So long as you choose a rainbow of colors, you can get as creative with it as you want! It’s a must-try. Whether you’ve ever tried bibimbap or not, it makes for one beautifully presented healthy dish!

Recipe
Makes 1 large hot pot

2 heaping cups spinach
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/4 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1/3 14-oz. package of firm tofu, cubed
2 cups cooked brown or white rice

Seasonings to Taste
Read below and watch video for flavor combinations

Salt & Pepper
Garlic powder
Extra virgin olive oil
Sesame oil
Soy sauce or tamari
Toasted sesame seeds
Green onions or fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley
Sriracha or gochujang
Side of kimchi!

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Instructions

In a pan over a low flame, lightly drizzle olive oil. Add 2 big handfuls of spinach. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder and cook about 3-5 minutes, just until wilted. Remove from pan and set aside.

In same pan, drizzle olive oil again. Add 1 cup of mushrooms and a pinch of salt to draw out moisture. Lightly drizzle with sesame oil for flavor, about 1 teaspoon or less. Cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and drizzle about 1 teaspoon of soy sauce or tamari (adding the soy sauce over an active flame will only cause it to scorch). Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.

For peppers and carrots (or any other vegetables you choose), use either the same singular pan or separate pans, so long as the vegetables stay separate color-wise. Cook them the same as the mushrooms — olive oil and a medium low flame, add the vegetables, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes. When softened but not overcooked, remove from pan and set aside.

Over a medium high flame and a drizzle of olive oil, add the cubed tofu. The higher heat will give it a crisp on the edges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and set aside.

To assemble:

Place your stone pot directly on the stovetop at a medium-low temperature. Brush with sesame oil to both flavor the rice and prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Add 2 cups cooked rice and pat into a flat layer. Arrange your cooked vegetables in a circle around the pot. Create a well in the center for your tofu. If you prefer egg, this is the place to crack the raw egg into the middle. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes. When you hear the rice sizzling on the bottom, remove from heat and place on a potholder. Sprinkle with green onions or fresh herbs, sriracha or gochujang for heat. And of course, if you can find kimchi, serve it on the side!