Tomorrow is grocery day, which means tonight is clean out the fridge time. There is no better dish to do that with, than bibimbop! I always have rice in the pantry, so this is a great go-to meal, to get rid of extra veggies that you want to use up before they go bad. In my weekly dreaded dig through the fridge, I found an English Roast that was supposed to be a pot roast and never happened, I find the end of a bag of spinach, a carrot, half a head of purple cabbage from my shrimp taco post, a red pepper, and some sad green onions. Alone they are a feeble crudités or destined for the compost pile, together they can all be turned into a fabulous spicy and sweet dish that feels gourmet and not at all like left-overs.
Let’s tackle the beef first. Like I mentioned above, I am using an English Roast, you can use any cut of semi-lean beef for this recipe. Just make sure you cut your meat into small pieces, approximately 1/2″ in size. It is essential to keep the pieces small, for three reasons:
1.) If left larger, you can end up with very chewy hunks of beef.
2.) The marinade will work its magic faster- in minutes, not hours.
3.) With the smaller pieces, you can get more than just a chunk of meat in a bite. The idea behind this dish is to eat it all together: a little bit of veg, rice, and meat with every bite.
When I am shopping for a large piece meat, I try to find a piece with thin web-like veins of fat spaced throughout the beef. This fat helps to break up the connective tissue that makes meat tough. If you find a piece with this thin marbling, you know you will have a tender piece of meat.
Now on to the marinade. The marinade I am using is very simple, but it does have a couple specialty ingredients: specifically the sesame oil and gochujang pepper paste. These ingredients are essential to this dish and to skip them would be a mistake. I have seen both of these ingredients in my grocery store international isle, but they can also be found online, or in an Asian market. Also, both of these items keep very well for a long period of time. If you have to buy them just for this recipe, don’t worry- you will have time to use them up before they expire. Sesame oil is fairly common enough- like its name suggests it is an oil made with sesame seeds- it is very potent and a little goes a long way, and a lot can ruin a dish. Gochujang is a spicy fermented paste that embodies everything that is Korean food, it’s made with peppers and rice, and is pretty much Korea’s ketchup. For the marinade you can either use fresh pears or canned, I happened to have canned on hand so that is what I used tonight. I used all the juice from the can and 1/4 cup of the pears (smashed). Combine the pear with grated or pressed garlic, soy sauce, gochujang paste, peeled and grated ginger, brown sugar, and sesame oil. For the ginger, I buy mine in bulk and then keep it in a ziplock in the freezer, it freezes beautifully. To peel the ginger, simply break off the amount you need and then with the edge of a spoon scrape the skin from the flesh. Once the ingredients are all combined add the chopped beef and allow the mixture to marinate on the counter for 30 minutes.
For the vegetables, you can use pretty much any veggies you have hanging around. Tonight I’m using what I had on hand: purple cabbage, green onion, pepper, spinach, and carrot. You could also use mushrooms, peas, beans, corn, broccoli, zucchini, squash, the options are endless. I like to stir-fry everything separately to make sure it has the perfect cook and it makes for a pretty bowl to serve, but if you’re in a time crunch, by all means, cook it all together. To make sure you get an even cook on your vegetables try to make sure all the veggies are cut the same size. As this dish is meant to be eaten with chopsticks (not an absolute requirement) the vegetables work best when julienned, or with long thin cuts. By definition julienne is 1/8″ x 1/8″ x 1 to 2″, do the best you can. For the cook, I love to use my wok, if you are cooking in a wok make sure you heat your wok dry before adding anything, next heat the oil, and then finally add the vegetable. The idea behind wok cooking is to cook in small batches and pull the vegetables up the side of the bowl. You don’t want everything bunched at the bottom boiling in its own juices. Spreading the vegetables up the sides allow for the moisture to run towards the bottom of the bowl and evaporate while the vegetables are fried crispy and not boiled floppy. If you are cooking each vegetable separately make sure to salt each batch and add a little oil each time, if you wok is properly seasoned you won’t need much oil at all. To learn how to season a wok you can read my post here.
Once the vegetables are cooked, set them aside and proceed to the beef. When you are ready to cook the beef, remove the beef from the marinade and try to press out as much liquid marinade as possible. Remember to get the wok nice and hot, add the oil, allow that to get hot, and then add the beef in 1 cup portions. Do not attempt to cook all the beef at once, it will steam/boil and become chewy. Pull the meat up the sides of the wok, to allow the residual liquid to boil off at the bottom. Once the liquid is mostly gone begin to fry up the beef, stirring it occasionally to cook all sides. You are going to want to cook the beef until the sugars in the marinade begin to caramelize onto the meat. The beef will turn to a dark brown and bits of the beef will begin to get crunchy. Once this happens, add the sesame seeds and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat this process, with 1 cup increments, until you have cooked all of the meat. Once the meat is finished you may test a piece of beef and see if you would like more spice. To add more spice- simply stir in some more pepper paste until you reach your desired heat level.
To assemble this dish, you plate them individually. Add a cup of rice to the bottom of a bowl, add a handful of each of the vegetable and a scoop of the beef, and serve. To eat, mix all of the ingredients together and dig in. Again, if you find you are still craving more heat, add another teaspoon of two or the pepper paste into your bowl. Enjoy!
- 1/4 cup of canned pear and juice from can (smashed)
- 2 garlic cloves (grated)
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon gochujang pepper paste
- 1 Tablespoon ginger (peeled and grated)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 lb English beef roast
- 4 cups cooked jasmine rice
- 1/4 head of purple cabbage (grated)
- 1 large carrot (julienned)
- 2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach
- 1 red pepper (julienned)
- 5-6 green onions (julienned)
- 1-2 Tablespoons cooking oil
- 4 Tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
- Kosher Salt
- Combine all the juice from the can of pears and 1/4 cup of smashed pears, the grated garlic cloves, soy sauce, gochujang pepper paste, grated ginger, the brown sugar and sesame oil.
- Mix well and add the 1/2" pieces of beef.
- Marinate for 30 minutes.
- Julienne the carrot, green onion and red pepper into 1/8"x1/8"x1" pieces.
- Thinly shave the cabbage and cut into 1" long pieces.
- Stir-fry each of the vegetables in a bit of oil separately in small batches, cooking until still a little al dente.
- Season with a pinch of salt and set aside.
- Remove from marinade and drain liquid from meat. Press with spatula to remove any extra liquid.
- Cook meat in small 1 cup batches in hot wok.
- Cook meat until meat is a dark brown and marinade has caramelized on the meat.
- Add roasted sesame seeds and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- Set aside and continue with uncooked meat portions.
- If the meat is not to your desired spice level, more pepper paste can be stirred into cooked beef.
- Place 1 cup of cooked rice into bottom of bowl.
- Add a handful of each cooked vegetable.
- Add a scoop of beef.
- Serve and enjoy!