how to make bibimbap

by Stacy

My friend James is rad. How rad, you ask? Some examples:

  • He moved to Mississippi to work for a non-profit that is rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina (yeah, they’re not done yet).
  • He makes up epic party games.
  • He is always supportive no matter what is going on in your life, good or bad.
  • His middle name is “AwesomeSauce.”
  • His middle-middle name is “Danger.”

He is one of my favorite people ever. If you’ve met him, he is probably one of your favorite people, too. If you haven’t met him, you should — he rocks. Sadly, he lives far away from us and we do not get to see him nearly often enough.

A dig through the archives yielded this classic shot circa 2007 — possibly one of my favorite pictures ever. Note: I was not drinking at that party. Seriously.

best picture ever

When James asked if he could request a recipe, of course I said yes. In honor of our shared heritage from the western suburbs of Minneapolis, he asked for bibimbap.

Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish which literally means “mixed meal.” Whether this refers to the assortment of ingredients, or the actual act of mixing it together before eating, I don’t know. What I do know is that it is visually stunning and tastes amazing.

vegetarian bibimbap

Various vegetables are prepared and arranged by color on top of hot rice, then (like kimchi fried rice) topped with an egg and stirred together before eating. The centerpiece is often beef, so I subbed out some tasty shiitake mushrooms.

The rice is hot and crispy, and the other vegetables are in turn spicy, tangy, crunchy, and chewy. Each bite is different and delicious. The egg adds a creamy binder to the bowl, and the chili paste gives it kick. Hungry yet?

I thought it might be fun to mix up the presentation a bit, so I made a little video for you. There was definitely a learning curve, and looking back, I would have taken more pictures, but I’m still amused by it and hope you are, too. Special thanks to James for assistance with the music selection.

That is two minutes of your life that you’ll never have back, but I hope it was an investment in a future meal. Let me know what you think! I’m working my way up to actual video footage — baby steps.

The various toppings do take a little time to prepare, but everything can be made in advance and assembled before eating. No single item takes very long, so don’t be scared by the length of the recipe.

Vegetarian Bibimbap

Adapted from Rasa Malaysia
Serves 4 (or yourself for 4 awesome meals)

Toppings are listed first, followed by assembly instructions for the dish. Just leave the sesame oil, sesame seeds, and salt out on the counter. I recommend adding half the amount of oil to start, tossing, and adding more if needed. I used the same pan for the sprouts and spinach, and for the carrots and mushrooms (and the rice).

Spicy Cucumber Salad

The pepper powder, vinegar, honey, and oil make a great dollop of dressing on top of this dish.

  • 1 cup sliced cucumber (about 4 mini-cukes or 1/2 of one large)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder or gochujang pepper paste
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. Toss cucumbers and salt in a bowl or colander. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Combine red pepper powder, vinegar, honey, and sesame oil. Whisk until smooth. Add up to a tablespoon of water if needed.
  3. Gently squeeze excess water from cucumbers. Toss with red pepper dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Seasoned Spinach

  • 1 pound (about 4 cups) spinach, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spinach and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out excess water.
  3. Use a knife or kitchen shears to cut spinach into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Toss spinach with sesame oil, seeds, and salt.

Sprouts and Scallions

  • 1 teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt
  • 12-ounces bean sprouts (preferably soybean — I used sunflower sprouts)
  • 2 scallions (green onions), minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. In a medium lidded pan, mix 1/2 cup water with the salt and sprouts. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steam sprouts for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain sprouts and toss them with scallions, oil, and sesame seeds.

Seasoned Sauteed Carrots

  • 1 cup peeled, matchstick-cut carrots (about 4 carrots)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  1. Heat sesame oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add carrots and saute 1 minute. Add salt and saute 1 more minute.

Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms

  • 2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, diced, stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes until reduced in size and reddish-brown.
  2. Add garlic and saute 1 minute until garlic is fragrant but not brown.


  • 3 cups cooked rice (I used brown basmati)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 cup Spicy Cucumber Salad
  • 1 cup Seasoned Spinach
  • 1 cup Sprouts and Scallions
  • 1 cup Seasoned Sauteed Carrots
  • 1 cup Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 4 eggs, fried


  1. Heat cast iron pan or heavy pot over medium heat. Add sesame oil. Heat until oil shimmers.
  2. Add rice to pan in an even layer. Cook until rice sizzles and turns brown on the bottom.
  3. Divide rice into servings bowls, making sure each bowl has some of the browned, crispy rice. Arrange prepared vegetables on the rice, like the spokes of a wheel. Top each bowl with a fried egg and more chili paste, if desired.
  4. Stir all ingredients together before eating.

vegetarian bibimbap

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill May 27, 2011 at 5:36 am

Your video is really fun! This looks like a great meal. I think the prep work would definitely pay off – I love lots of different veggies!
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Stacy May 27, 2011 at 9:30 am

Thanks, Jill! It’s so flavorful because of the different seasoning methods, but still tastes fresh and light. I hope you make it, because everyone should eat something so delicious.


Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum May 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm

This is awesome! That video was very enjoyable! Vlogs are hard – I’ve done one, and only one, and I’m inspired now to do another.


Stacy May 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Thanks, Lindsay! Someday I hope to advance to “real” video, but this was a big step for me. Glad you liked it, and can’t wait to see what you come up with. 😀


Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator May 28, 2011 at 8:11 am

I actually LOVE this video style! So fun, informative, and also sassy, just like you. Recipes look amazing. Will have to try soon. :)
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Stacy May 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

Thank you! I’d never had bibimbap before (because it’s usually beef) and was amazed at how flavorful this is. My pea sprouts might go into this.

That cracked me up. Before we were married, my initials were SAD, and my husband was fairly smug that because I changed my name, my initials are now SAS. 😉


amee May 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm

i’ve been meaning to stop by aaaall week and i’m just now getting to this. very impressive, stacy!!! LOVE the video…how cool are you? so colorful and healthy and flavorful (it seems…i’m not licking the monitor)


Stacy May 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Ha! Thanks, Amee!


nancy rose eisman May 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm

The recipe looks really delicious and congrats on the video. The 1st of many I’m sure!
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Stacy May 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Thank you, Nancy! Baby steps, right? :-)


Anni May 30, 2011 at 6:29 am

this looks and sounds delicious! and i love the video. :) how do you pronounce “bibimbap?”
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Stacy May 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Thank you!

It’s pronounced just like it looks 😉 BEE-beem-bahp. The faster you can say it, the more authentic it sounds, because no one will dare to ask what you have just said with such authority.


mangocheeks May 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Hay that’s so funny, I made a Veggie Bibimbap a few days ago too – must be something in the air.

I liked the video too. Thanks for introducing me to the song, now I can’t get it outta my head ‘my baby got sauce’ :)
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Stacy May 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Too funny!

Oh man, the video editing (new to me) took a loooong time, and the song was stuck in my head for days! Glad you enjoyed it. 😀


Sandy May 31, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Bibimbap? From Minneapolis? Fantastic!
Your video is so fun! Great production value!
I have sent links to everyone I know. I can’t wait for your second video :)


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