Have you ever had Bibimbap? If not, it is a Korean rice bowl with different vegetables, egg, some kind of meat or tofu, spices and kimchi. Sounds good, right?
I happen to love this dish and hadn’t prepared it at home until a couple of weeks ago. I have always lived in big cities with access to great Korean restaurants and even Bibimbap food trucks and just been too lazy to make all of the components myself. Really, I had always mistakenly assumed it was a difficult dish to make.
We are big (huge!) fans of the Seattle Public Library system and are constantly reserving and rotating through new books, especially for our son. I picked up a batch of toddler books a couple of weeks ago and one of them was Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park. If you have little kids and haven’t seen this book yet – it is adorable!
Something that is really important to me is encouraging my son to explore new foods, flavors and be open-minded about trying new things. If your child also learns through reading and hearing new ideas, I highly suggest starting to drill home Green Eggs and Ham - the message is so spot on and we have gotten to the point where our little one says, “I like Green Eggs and Ham.”, “I like to try new foods.”, and “Let me taste it”. This hasn’t been easy but is so worth it!
I always say, “You don’t have to eat anything you don’t like, but you do have to taste everything.” Yes, there is sometimes (less now than when he was younger) bribery involved but it’s for a good cause.
Anyway, back to Bee-bim Bop! – as soon as we brought this book home and began reading it, my son began asking if we could have Bibimbap for dinner. “When were we going to have Bibimbap for dinner?” “Tonight?”, “Where is the Bibimbap?”, “Is Bibimbap today?”, “We must have Bibimbap!”
So, as you can imagine, we headed out to the store and got all of the ingredients ASAP. I wanted to keep him as involved as possible in making all of the components. We set up the table so that everyone could build their own bowls. My just-turned-3-year-old really surprised me by trying every single thing on the table- some were more popular than others and while he didn’t eat all of it, I considered this dinner a major success!
- Korean Red Pepper Flakes come in coarse and fine ground and can usually be found in Asian supermarkets.
- I had trouble finding a natural Gochuchang Paste so I just used the Korean Red Pepper flakes in place of it. Not exactly authentic, but it worked for me. I just recently found this natural homemade gochuchang recipe. Wish I had found it a couple of weeks ago but I will be making it next time!
- I have talked about Coconut Palm Sugar a lot in the past and I still use it as my primary cooking sugar since it is low on the glycemic index, not refined and in my opinion, a better “sugar” choice. I also really love the flavor.
- My favorite brand of Kimchi is Kings Kimchi and I buy it at Whole Foods but there are lots of good options out there. Even Costco (at least here in Seattle) sells an MSG-Free Kimchi. Or, you could make it yourself.
- I made this with Beef, but you could easily substitute chicken, shrimp, pork or even tofu!
- I did not include the rice, kimchi or hot sauce when calculating the Points Plus since there are so many variables to include such as how much rice you use, subbing Cauliflower Rice (0 Points Plus!), etc.
In case you are interested, here are some of my other favorite foodie toddler books…
Bibimbop Recipe Adapted From: Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
Gochuchang Paste Recipe From: Bibimbap Recipe for Boy Meets Grill by Jen Lee
- 1¼ pound London Broil or Sirloin tip (Lean Beef), trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup reduced sodium Tamari (or Coconut Aminos)
- 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Korean Red Pepper flakes
- 1½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 3 to 4 medium carrots, cut into 2" long matchsticks
- ½ pound organic baby spinach
- 1 pound mushrooms, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 pound bean sprouts
- 11/2 tablespoons organic coconut oil, divided
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
- 4 tablespoons gochuchang
- 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- Begin by slicing the beef very thin. I like to pop the beef in the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes to harden it and make it easier to slice.
- Combine sliced beef with all ingredients listed above under "Beef Marinade". Toss until well coated, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. You can marinate this or up to 24 hours in advance.
- Trim mushrooms stems and thinly slice. Peel carrots and cut into 2" long matchsticks.
- Pull out baby spinach, bean sprouts and eggs. Beat eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
- Mix Gochuchang Paste by combining gochuchang, palm sugar, sesame seeds and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Many of these components can be made ahead of time and reheated (such as rice, cauliflower rice, carrots, spinach, beef).
- Add ½ cup water to a large frying pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in bean sprouts, cover and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain, toss bean sprouts with ½ teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and place on serving tray.
- Using the same frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil. Once melted, add in carrots. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until carrots are just tender, remove from heat, toss with ½ teaspoon of toasted sesame oil and place on serving tray.
- Using the same pan, heat another 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Add baby spinach and cook, stirring until wilted. Remove from pan,drain any liquid, toss with ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Now, add another 1 teaspoon coconut oil and mushrooms, a pinch salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are tender and released their moisture. Drain liquid, toss with remaining ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil and move to serving tray.
- Reduce heat to low, add last teaspoon of coconut oil. Once melted, add beaten eggs to frying pan. Allow eggs to set into a thin pancake. Once cooked through, remove eggs to a cutting board and allow to cool before slicing into thin strips.
- Finally, raise heat back up to medium high. Once hot, add beef and marinating liquid to frying pan, spreading out to a single layer.
- Cook beef, stirring, until no pink is showing and remove (along with liquid) to a serving bowl.
- Place a layer of cooked brown rice or cauliflower rice in the bottom of a bowl. Add each cooked component to a little section (carrots, spinach, mushrooms, bean sprouts, egg strips and beef). Top with a serving of kimchi and a bit of gochuchang paste. Mix together and eat while hot. Enjoy!