[Eating Rainbow | Red | Red Rice]
In the world of grains, we’re not quite sure where this version of red rice, Riz Rouge from Provence, stands nutritionally. We assume that it’s better than plain old white rice, but since it’s different from Himalayan red rice we can’t be sure how it compares to brown rice (good, but not as good). And now that black rice has recently been found to contain vitamin E as well as anthocyanins, the same kind of antioxidants in blueberries and blackberries, possibly making black more nutritious than brown rice, we really don’t know.
(And Riz Rouge is not even distantly related to Chinese Red Yeast Rice, which is an herbal medicine!)
It’s all very confusing, isn’t it?
What is not confusing, though, is how awesomely delicious Bibimbap, Korean mixed vegetables and rice, is.
In Bibimbap — “bibim” = mixed”, “bap”=”rice” — it doesn’t matter what kind of rice you use because the rice is less important for its own nutritional value, and more important as the vehicle for all the other nutrilicious (nutritious + delicious) vegetables on top. Bibimbap historically has been based on white rice, we use brown rice ever since giving up white rice, but for Red week of Eating Rainbow, we choose red rice. But who’s to say you can’t use some other grain completely to make Bibim-Oats or Bibim-Quinoa?
No one’s to say anything, even regarding the vegetables (and/or meat) that top the bowl. Our version here is pretty close to the reasonably “traditional” versions of bibimbap we’ve eaten our whole lives — carrots, bean sprouts, zucchini and mushrooms. We switched out spinach for a different leafy green simply because we had red chard on had, and substituted for beef with sauteed tofu (If you want to add beef or chicken, just use the directions for those toppings on this recipe/guidelines). But we’ve seen everything on Bibimbap from other types of Korean vegetable bahn-chans (side dishes) like pickled daikon and mook (seasoned acorn jelly) to burrata cheese on a local (non-Korean) cafe’s bibim-farro. That one’s a little out there for us, but still, we love the creativity.
The one thing that is non-negotiable, however, is the Korean red pepper sauce called “goh-choo-jahng.” It’s not just any old hot sauce. Goh-choo-jahng is thick, spicy as expected, but with a deep earthy flavor that is sometimes accompanied by a sweetness. Of course, it’s not easy to find outside of a Korean grocery store, so if you’re in that situation, any Asian-y hot sauce will do. We’re partial to sriracha.
Korean Bibimbap/Bi Bim Bap
When we first started making bibimbap, we used to cook and season each individual vegetable topping separately. It took a long time.
We then realized that while there is probably some merit to flavoring each vegetable, they all end up not only in the same bowl, but mixed together so vigorously that you can’t possibly distinguish between the different ratios of what are actually the exact same seasoning ingredients of soy sauce and sesame oil.
So we don’t do much other than lightly steam or saute the vegetables, and then season them altogether as part of the entire bowl.
4 cup cooked rice (we cooked French Riz Rouge in a rice cooker, 1:2::rice:water)
For Bibimbap Toppings:
½ block firm or extra-firm tofu
½ tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic very finely minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 bunch of leafy green (we used red chard), washed, chopped, steamed, then squozen of all excess water
1 cup bean sprouts (we used the larger, yellow headed soybean sprouts), lightly steamed
½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (we used shiitake) and sauteed in about 2 tbsp olive oil with 1 tbsp soy sauce
1 zucchini, washed, cut lengthwise, and sliced into half moons then sauteed in about 1 tablespoon olive oil with salt to taste
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded, lightly steamed until pliable
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons goh-choo-jahng (or other Asian-y hot sauce), or more/less to taste
2 tablespoons sesame oil, or to taste
nori komi furikake for garnish
To cook tofu: Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium heat. Cook minced garlic until fragrant. Add tofu and crumble with back of wooden spoon. Fry until tofu turns golden brown. Remove from heat, add soy sauce to tofu in pan, stir to season. Set aside.
To assemble bowls: Place 1 cup hot, cooked rice in bottom of each of four large serving bowls.
Top each bowl with a small handful of each of the vegetables.
In a large frying pan (we used the one with which we fried the tofu), heat olive oil and fry 4 large eggs. We usually like the yolks runny so that the yolk breaks and mixes into the rice, but cooking the yolks until hard is fine.
Top rice, tofu and vegetables with fried egg. Drizzle each bowl with about ½ tablespoon of sesame oil, sprinkle with nori komi furikake, and pass goh-choo-jahng for each person to add to taste.
Each person mixes the rice and vegetables in the bowl him/herself and eats.