Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bok Choy, Bi Bim Bap and Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit (1-year)No matter how many times I cease sending Bon Appetit money, forgoing the renewal of my subscription, they keep sending me a a magazine. "This is your last month! Really, now! We mean it!" And, sure enough, the next month will come, and along with it a new magazine. I am not complaining. When it stops coming, I'll start paying for it again. In the meantime, I'll happily receive it for free.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by a  recipe from said free magazine entitled "Korean Rice Bowl: inspired by bi bim bap." I figure this means our dinner was a least a third cousin twice removed from bi bim bap. The Bon Appetit version involved asparagus and rib eye with a sunny side up egg. I had some Bok Choy and Scallions that needed using, a large amount of Eye of Round leftover from Friday's Roast, and a good number of this week's eggs left. It was worth a shot, and in my humble opinion, the hunch paid off.

The first step was getting my boy choy to wake back up. It had become dried out in my fridge as the week went on. I cut off the bottoms and placed them stem down in 2-3 inches of water. Shortly, I had bok choy that instead of looking like this:

Looked like this:

Leaving the boy choy in the water for 2 hrs caused it to regain its crunch and bounce. In my mind, it was a very worthwhile step. I'll take it.

We were also concerned about using precooked meat. There was not a question about the Eye of Round needing to be eaten, but it was already more cooked than we would like. We cut it into thin strips, so that it would be chopstick friendly, and place it in the marinade from the Bon Appetit Recipe.

There was an added a twist here and there of course, using sherry instead of rice wine vinegar (I still have to buy some), leaving out the sesame oil (as we were out of that, too). A nice benefit of the meat not being raw when it went in was the marinade could easily double as a sauce, without risk of cross contamination. We quickly cooked it down at high heat, reheating the meat while reducing the sauce.

The bok choy was sliced, then sautéed, beginning with the stems. I added a little garlic, salt and the apple cider vinegar. Once the meat and veg were done, we fried the eggs in the same pan. I removed mine and David's first while assembling the plates, so our yolks would be suitably runny while leaving Nomi's yolk suitably firm.

We served all components over simple enriched white rice, with a drizzle of the sauce. The balance of the salty sweet beef against the bright crisp flavor of the boy choy was complemented further by the creaminess of the egg. I am not a huge fan of runny eggs, but they turn out to be a necessary component for this dish. In traditional bi bim bap, the egg is broken raw over the hot rice, with all components then mixed together when served.

It's Korean Pasta Carbonara. I love discovering cross cultural common comfort foods. It's wild to think of mothers around the world choosing similar tastes and textures to feed their families, and using them in the vocabulary of their own cuisine. Huzzah for the melting pot that is the American Kitchen!

Leah's Semi Bi Bim Bap
Inspired by Bon Appetit's "Korean Rice Bowl," April 2010

6 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 lbs Protein of choice, sliced thin (we used our left over eye of round. Tofu marinated and seared would work well, as would most other slices of beef. If using raw meat, DO NOT serve the raw marinade with the dish.)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 T sherry or sake (we used sherry)
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 T sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 lbs bok choy
2 T apple cider or rice wine vinegar
olive oil
6 eggs

1. Combine salt, chili powder, soy, sherry, scallions and sugar. Place protein in marinade.

2. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Rinse and chop boy choy. Add olive oil to the pan. Add boy choy stems to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Add remained of boy choy and garlic clove. Stir. Add vinegar. Cover pan and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, until bok choy is bright green and stems are tender crisp. Remove from pan. Lightly tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

3. Add protein with marinade to the pan. Cook until heated through. Remove and tent.

4. Add olive oil to pan. Crack eggs and fry. While eggs are frying, add rice to individual serving bowls. Add protein and veg to the bowl. As eggs reach desired level (sunny side up, over easy, etc), add them to the bowls. Serve alone, or with sides of kimchi and sriracha. Share and enjoy!


  1. we bought stone bowls after we had "authentic" bi-bim-bap for the first time... one day, we will actually use them, but in the meantime, we're going to have to try this recipe!

  2. I was reading about the stone bowls! Those are the ones you're supposed to heat up before hand, right? Apparently, the egg and rice gets golden crisp all along the sides of the bowl - it's got to be a great texture contrast. Let me know how it turns out!