As promised, I give you the saga of my first ever cooking of dolsot bibimpap for Lintilla’s birthday. I took photos as I could, although you’ll have to use your imagination on a couple of steps. At the end, I’ll review what worked, and lessons learned (this WAS my first time, after all).
First off, here are most of the ingredients, laid out on my stove. The stone bowls (dolsots) were available at K&S World Market in Nashville ($4.99) . As with much of Asian cooking, most of the work is in the preparation for cooking. The carrots and zucchini were julienned, although I cheated and shredded half the carrots with the food processor:
The meat is sirloin (good ole lean meat). At K&S they have it thin sliced, so all we had to do was cut the slices into little strips. Lintilla got her bulgogi recipe from a Korean friend, and she won’t let me divulge the whole recipe for the marinade, but I can tell you it involves sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, and some certain spices. Here’s the meat getting ready to marinade:
The first thing you want to do when the cooking starts, is put on the rice. I use that wonderful smelling Jasmine rice, and I cheat and cook it in an all-purpose kettle (remember, don’t stir till it’s done!):
While that is going on, cook the bulgogi (this dish is actually supposed to be made with leftovers, so next time we’ll cook the bulgogi the day before). Bulgogi, the way we make it, is a sweet meat. It is also quite lean:
While all of this is going on, heat your stone pots (which have been basted with sesame oil). More on this later. The step I can’t show you, because it was far too hectic, is the quick stir-frying of the veggies. All I did was a quick fry of the bean sprouts, carrots, and zucchini, separately, in a sesame oil, garlic mixture. I made a mistake with the bean sprouts (more on that later). Lintilla also made her patented Korean spinach at this time.
Anyway, once all the veggies are done, take the bowls out of the oven, and immediately put about a cup of rice in the bottom. It sizzles and smells wonderful! Notice the eggs in the background:
Both bowls with the rice base:
Almost there! now, the fun part. Each veggie and meat is arranged on top of the rice, making an absolutely beautiful presentation:
Now, you’d think we’d stop there, but tradition Korean Dolsot bibimbap involves cracking an egg over the whole thing. Everything is so hot, it cooks right there. However, Lintilla is not one for yolks, so I cheated a little and fried some over medium, and placed those right on top:
Now at this point, Lintilla’s was done. But I have bibimbap the traditional way, with chili sauce poured over the top. This was just the cheap stuff you can get a Kroger, but it was still great!
It must then be stirred and eaten immediately.
So, there you have it. All in all, it was wonderful, tasted great, and most importantly, Lintilla enjoyed it immensely. It cost about a third of what it would cost to have two orders of dolsot bibimbap and two orders of bulgogi for the kids at a good Korean restaurant.
I made two mistakes: 1) I put soy sauce in the fry mixture of the bean sprouts (only works on VERY high heat, which I didn’t have), and 2) I didn’t quite get the bowls hot enough. They are actually made to be warmed on a stove-top (preferably gas) but my stove-top was pretty full, so I used the oven. This would have been OK, but I was too cautious with the heat, I did 375 when I should have made it 450. The heat in the bowl is supposed to make the outer rice crispy (yum!), and that never happened with my bibimbap. Next time I’ll know better.
Anyway, believe it or not, this isn’t too hard of a dish to make, if you prepare the ingredients ahead of time. Next time, we’ll make the bulgogi the day before, and the spinach before we start cooking anything else. For a very short amount of time, you have to do many things at once, but you can cut that down with some preparation.
All in all, a great meal (the kids even want some next time!).