Summer Vegetable Bibimbap | Food & Wine

2022-06-25 15:27:10 By : Mr. Wenjie Wang

Chef Ji Hye Kim's bibimbap technique centers on cooking vegetables simply to showcase and preserve their natural colors and flavors. A 2021 F&W Best New Chef, Kim prepares each separately: salting and sautéing sturdy vegetables like squash and eggplant and blanching leafy greens. A robust yak gochujang, a sauce made with ground beef and Korean chile paste, gives the dish a sensational level of umami. For a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner, make the bibimbap toppings ahead of time, and then add them—and, if you like, a sunny-side-up egg—to freshly cooked rice, then stir them all together, and enjoy.

Place rice in a medium bowl; rinse under cool water, using your fingers to gently stir. Drain. Repeat rinsing and draining until water runs clear, 5 to 6 times. If cooking on the stove, stir together rinsed rice, 1 2/3 cups water, salt, and sesame oil in a large saucepan; let stand 30 minutes. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high. Boil, undisturbed, 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until rice starts to smell faintly toasty, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let rest, covered, 10 minutes. Gently fluff rice using a rice paddle or fork. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve. Alternatively, if using a rice cooker, combine rinsed rice, 1 2/3 cups water, salt, and sesame oil in rice cooker; let stand 30 minutes. Close lid, and cook rice according to manufacturer's instructions. Once timer signals rice is done, do not open lid; let rest 10 minutes. Gently fluff rice using a rice paddle or fork. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

While uncooked rice soaks, prepare the leafy greens: Remove thick stems from leaves; discard. Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Add greens; cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green but not completely soft, 15 to 30 seconds. Using a spider or tongs, transfer greens to prepared ice water; let cool 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Pat greens dry with paper towels. If leaves are large, cut into 2-inch pieces. Combine greens, sesame oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; toss well. Add black pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cut each vegetable in half lengthwise; using a mandoline, thinly slice into half-moons (about 1/8 inch thick). Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Arrange about 1 cup of the vegetable slices in a single layer on paper towels. (Keep each type of vegetable separate.) Sprinkle slices on paper towel with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top with a layer of paper towels. Repeat process on separate baking sheets with remaining vegetables and salt. Alternatively, stack layers of salted vegetables on a single baking sheet with paper towels between layers. Let stand 10 minutes. Press firmly to remove excess moisture.

Working in 3 batches, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil (or 2 tablespoons oil, if using eggplant) in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add 1 type of vegetable slices; cook, stirring constantly, until just beginning to soften, 10 to 15 seconds. Add 1/2 teaspoon garlic, and sprinkle with salt to taste (or add 1 teaspoon soy sauce for eggplant). Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant and vegetables are crisp-tender, 10 to 15 seconds. Immediately spread sautéed vegetables in a thin layer on a baking sheet to cool quickly. Set aside. Repeat cooking process with remaining neutral oil, vegetables, garlic, and salt, keeping each type of vegetable separate and wiping skillet clean after each batch.

Remove stems from poblano and Fresno chiles. Cut chiles in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and cut crosswise into thin slices. Heat neutral oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add poblano and Fresno slices, and sprinkle with salt to taste. Cook, stirring constantly, until chile skins are lightly blistered and chiles are crisp-tender, 20 to 30 seconds. Spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet to cool quickly. Set aside.

Combine ground beef, scallion, garlic, and 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil in a small bowl. Using your hands, mix until well combined. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add beef mixture; cook, stirring often, until mostly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in gochujang, sugar, honey, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil. Cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup water. Cook, stirring often, until mixture has reduced to about 1 1/2 cups and is thicker than gravy but thinner than peanut butter, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside, and let cool 10 minutes. Yak gochujang can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days. 

Divide rice evenly among the centers of 4 large serving bowls (about 1 cup each). Arrange about 1/4 cup leafy greens, 1/4 cup hardy vegetables, and 1/4 cup chiles in a circle around rice in each bowl. Spoon about 1/4 cup yak gochujang in center of each bowl. (Reserve remaining yak gochujang for another use.) If desired, top each bowl with 1 sunny-side-up egg. Gently stir contents of each bowl with chopsticks, and serve with a spoon.

Yak gochujang can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. Warm over low heat before serving. Leafy greens, hardy vegetables, and chiles can be prepared up to 1 day in advance and stored in separate airtight containers in refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Source firm Japanese eggplant to make slicing on the mandoline easier. Gochujang, a sweet and spicy fermented red chile paste, is available at most Asian grocery stores.

Citrusy, unoaked Chardonnay: Balletto Teresa's