The other day while I was waiting for my takeaway coffee, I spent a few minutes flicking through the café’s copy of Happy & Whole – the first book by meteorologist, television presenter, journalist and now author (and Byron Bay local) Magdalena Roze. The book is a collection of Magdalena’s recipes for her family along with ideas for nourishing the body, soul and home. As I flicked through the beautifully designed pages and inspiring food photography, it was the photo of Magdalena’s Byron Bibimbap recipe that made me stop and sigh.
Being a bit of a foodie, I am almost ashamed to admit that I was only introduced to the Korean dish Bibimbap a few years ago while on a visit to Seoul. In fact, until that trip to South Korea, I had never dined in a Korean restaurant. So much time wasted! But from that trip forward, I was a true disciple of Korean food, and of Bibimbap in particular (Make sure you watch John Torode’s Korean Food Tour if you ever get the chance). I adore this simple but satisfying one bowl dish for its warming, earthy flavours and for its nutritious ingredients. Now, when visiting ‘the big smoke’, Mr GFAF and I will often track down a Korean restaurant just to get our fix.
The Korean word Bibimbap translates to ‘mixed rice’. This is partly in reference to the dish’s mixture of ingredients, but also in reference to the action of eating the dish. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm rice that is topped with sautéed vegetables, a delicious Korean fermented chilli paste known as gochujang, soy sauce, fermented soybean paste known as doenjang with perhaps some beef strips or tofu.
Like Magdalena, my favourite version of the dish is Hot Stone Bibimbap. For this version, the dish is served in scorching hot stone pot to which a splash of sesame oil is added before the rice. The sizzling oil gives the rice a crispy crust, a bit like paella. The regular ingredients are then added to the top of the rice along with a cracked raw egg. The idea is to use your chopsticks to mix the egg into the rice so as to cook it against the inside of the hot stone bowl.
Magdalena’s Byron Bibimbap recipe is a variation of the hot stone version served with a fried egg on top. The recipe has the option of replacing the beef strips with tempeh and calls for brown rice in place of regular white rice. The dish is served with a sauce based on gochujang with the very Korean flavours of sesame oil and sesame seeds served with a side of kimchi. Yum.
Many thanks to Magdalena for sharing her Byron Bibimbap recipe below. Now Mr GFAF and I (and you!) can get our Bibimbap fix any old time.