It has been so fun to watch the Olympics this year, for some reason it has just warmed my soul. Seeing all the international competitors, such respect and collegiality all around. Despite any political melodrama, countries race side by side and people cheer for the 5-time winner and underdog alike. We even began to understand curling and cheered like crazy for the mixed doubles gold medal match between Canada and Switzerland! (Who knew there was so much strategy involved??)
Korea has hosted large international sporting events before, including F1. From 2010-2013, F1 raced at Korea International Circuit. DailyMail has a great article showing some of the memorable races and shares a number of amusing stories. I remember in 2012 the ever-memorable Psy teaching the RedBull boys how to dance some Gangnam style moves!
Back to present, as the closing ceremonies draw near I figured it was time to try my hand at a few Korean dishes! Bibimbap is the clear contender for most popular dish to come out of Korea. You'll see it atop every Korean restaurant menu, and really it is the quintessential "bowl" meal, which seems to be a Pinterest favorite these days. Along with the Bibimbap bowl I made some Korean Beef and finished it off with a Korean tea inspired cocktail.
Bibimbap, directly translated, means "mixed rice", it is a delicious melange of hot rice, just cooked veggies, crunchy fresh veg, tangy kimchi and runny-yolked egg served with spicy gochujong. Yum! In case you're wondering how to eat it (white girl talking here) I found an amusing and surprisingly informative video from Zagat which I'll include below :)
Hope you have enjoyed the Olympic festivities and that they have tided you over before the start of Formula 1 Pre-Season Testing next week and the real deal on March 25th!
A note on ingredients: Finding gochujong (Korean hot pepper paste) turned out to be an adventure of sorts. After driving around during rush hour to two different Asian markets and pulling up pictures on our phones and scouring aisles, and still not finding it... we were at the end of our rope. I was planning to just throw on some Sriracha and call it a day. But at the urging of my husband (who had driven through all the traffic to multiple Ranch 99s) I ended up reaching out to my good friend who told me, what I had suspected, that bibimbap just wouldn't taste the same without gochujong.
She did suggest that if we really couldn't find it we could make a combination of sesame /soy/ fish/ sauce/ oil with some red pepper flakes "but it wouldn't be the same", she even suggested if all else fails just to use some of the juice from kimchee!
Turns out we didn't need to resort to patchwork chili sauce... because she is also an expert Googler and found that Whole Foods highlighted gochujong as a "hot right now" ingredient. All I can say is thank goodness for my friend and her quick texting and googling, and Whole Foods, because honestly gochujong is DELICIOUS and totally did make the dish. If you haven't had it before it is spicy, tangy, a bit sweet, and has a completely unique taste.
Adapted from Budget Bytes
4 cups Jasmine rice (cooked)
2 tsp canola oil
2 bunches spinach, roughly chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
pinch of salt
2 tsp canola oil
4 cups mushrooms, sliced
pinch of salt
2-4 carrots, shredded
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
salt to taste
4 large eggs
1 cup kimchi
sesame seeds (optional)
gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), to taste
1. If not already cooked, begin by cooking rice in rice cooker or on stovetop. Prepare the rest of the bowl ingredients as the rice cooks.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium flame and add the cooking oil. Add the fresh spinach. Sauté the spinach for a few minutes, or just until it is wilted. Drizzle the sesame oil over top and season lightly with a pinch of salt. Remove the spinach from the skillet and set aside.
3. In another skillet (or same pan as spinach after you have finished preparing spinach), heat oil. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté on high heat until browned and tender. Lightly salt and set aside.
4. Prepare the fresh vegetables. Peel and grate the carrot. Thinly slice the cucumber – lightly salt. Slice the green onions. Set all ingredients aside.
6. Fry or soft boil 4 large eggs.
7. Build the bowls by adding 1 cup cooked rice to the bowl, followed by 1/4 of the cooked spinach, some sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, a cooked egg, and kimchi. Sprinkle sliced green onions and sesame seeds over top. Add gochujang paste to your spiciness preference.
Slow Cooker Korean Beef
From Damn Delicious
1 cup beef or chicken broth
1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha or gochujang, or more, to taste
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
3 pound boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1. In a large bowl, whisk together beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, Sriracha or gochujang, onion powder and white pepper.
2. Place chuck roast into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in beef broth mixture until well combined.
3. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Stir in mixture into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
5. Serve immediately, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.