This tasty Korean classic is the perfect clean-out-the-fridge meal. Sesame & soy marinated beef in a giant bowl of flavoursome veggies- it’s a long list of ingredients that’s deceptively simple and boldly flavoured.
The Bulgogi component- it’s typically tender, marinated, thinly shaved beef cooked over hot coals or over a barbecue- this DIY version is quick and easy and you can capture all of the amazing flavours at home using a large skillet over a stovetop. I would recommend a good, tender cut of beef (rib-eye, tenderloin, sirloin or chuck) that you can thinly slice at home.
The secret ingredient to the perfect bulgogi marinade is the nashi pear– the enzymes in the fruit really helps to make the meat more tender, and adds a touch of sweetness without over-doing the sugar content. Combine this with soy sauce, sesame oil and tonnes of garlic- and marinade overnight to really let the flavours seep through.
For perfectly smokey, charred bulgogi- add the beef in small batches (leaving the marinade juice behind) to a smoking hot cast-iron skillet. Don’t overcrowd the pan, and avoid adding any excess moisture- this will help the bulgogi char instead of steam. You may need to cook the beef in batches- but I promise it’ll all be worth it- delicious, caramelised, tender bulgogi! Drool!!
You will probably be left with a bit of extra marinade juice left in the bowl- waste not, we’ll simmer this down and use this to saute our enoki mushrooms and kale for extra flavour.
As for my choice of vegetables– use this recipe as a suggestion rather than a prescription. I usually use whatever bits and pieces I have left in the fridge- any capsicums, bean sprouts or cucumbers would fit right in! Snappy beans can add nice texture, you can replace the kale with spinach or the enoki mushrooms with shiitake- anything goes! I like to make sure I use a good mix of cooked and fresh veggies, include a big fibrous component (kale) and a mushroom (enoki) for lots of flavour.
A bibimbap bowl is never complete without some spicy pickles on the side- I’ve added some spicy radish kimchi to my bowl (purchased from an Asian grocer), but cabbage kimchi is another fave.
Some other serving suggestions:
Rice: I prefer my bowl without rice, the abundance of fibrous vegetables makes this a substantial and satisfying meal, but Bibimbap is traditionally served over steamed rice- so add this is you desire
Egg: If you’d like some extra protein goodness, a fried egg or soft-boiled egg over the top is a perfectly authentic addition to top up your bowl
Gochujang Sauce: if you need some added heat, drizzle with some gochujang sauce (made from Korean red chilli paste)
Bulgogi Bibimbap Bowl
- 800 grams beef- chuck, ribeye, tenderloin or sirloin thinly sliced
- 2 brown onions- thinly sliced
- 1 nashi pear substitute with asian pear or red apple
- 12 tbsp Korean soy sauce substitute with regular soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 30 g brown sugar
- 12 garlic cloves- crushed
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp black or white sesame seeds- roasted
- 1 bunch enoki mushrooms shiitake mushrooms, or any other cup mushrooms also work
- 1 bunch kale- de-stemmed and shredded into smaller chunks
- 3 carrots- peeled and shredded
- 3 zucchini- peeled and shredded
- 2 tbsp gochujang sauce (Korean chilli paste)
- 1 tbsp warm water
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar substitute with apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 fried or soft boiled egg
- kimchi or pickles of choice
- steamed rice
- Thinly slice your beef and chop your onions, and add to a large mixing bowl
- Dice the pear and add it to a blender, along with the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and crushed garlic cloves. Whizz until smooth. Pour the marinade over the beef, and combine until the marinade is evenly distributed.
- Cover and leave in the fridge overnight (or at least 4 hours if you're short on time)
- Take the beef out 20 minutes prior to cooking. Heat a skillet or barbecue on medium-high heat and add the cooking oil.
- Add the beef and onions in a single layer and quickly sear until cooked to your liking. Do not overcrowd the pan or add any excess liquid from the marinade- the beef will go soggy rather than caramelising. You may need to cook the beef in several batches
- Once the beef is cooked, set aside and sprinkle over with the toasted sesame seeds, tossing until the beef is evenly coated
- Add the remainder of the marinade to a clean skillet on medium heat. Heat until lightly simmering, then add the enoki mushrooms and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until lightly wilted. Remove enoki mushrooms and set aside
- Add torn kale leaves onto the pan of simmering sauce and lightly toss until leaves are evenly coated. Saute for 3 minutes or until lightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside
- Shred the zucchini and carrots
Assembling the Bibimbap Bowl
- If you'd prefer this served on steamed rice, lay down a layer of rice as the base
- Arrange the vegetables and bulgogi beef over the top. Add some kimchi or pickled vegetables to the side.
- Optional: if adding an egg, fry or soft-boil an egg and add over the top
- Add the ingredients for the Gochujang Sauce in a small bowl, add the warm water and whisk until dissolved
- Drizzle the sauce over the top when ready to serve