Bibimbap: You Need to Try this Infinitely Customizable Korean Dish!

Written by: FreshJax Team



Time to read 5 min

A popular dish inĀ Korean cuisine, bibimbap has become loved by food enthusiasts globally. Bibimbap combines a harmonious blend of rice, assorted vegetables, protein, and a delectable sauce, which you can augment withĀ organic spices,Ā to create a truly exceptional culinary experience.

With its enticing aromas, vibrant colors, and balanced flavors, bibimbap has been winning hearts, one bowl at a time, for its ability to cater to individual preferences and dietary requirements.

As infinitely customizable as it is delicious, each component of bibimbap can be tailored to create a unique and personalized version. Whether youā€™re a vegetarian, a spice lover, or a meat aficionado, there's a bibimbap variation perfect for you.

Get ready to discover a new dish that may become one of your favorite recipes. We're sharing the ingredients for authentic bibimbap and how to take these basics to make your versions. Ā 

What is bibimbap?

Bibimbap, pronounced "bee-bum-bop," is a beloved Korean dish with a delicious blend of flavors and textures causing each bite to become a delightful surprise.

"Bibimbap" translates to "mixed rice" in Korean, which perfectly describes its essence. As such, bibimbap consists of a bowl of steamed rice topped with colorful and meticulously arranged vegetables, a choice of protein, and a spicy chili sauce known as "gochujang."

Topped with a fried egg, the final presentation creates a visually stunning mosaic of colors and textures for a truly aesthetically pleasing culinary experience. Before indulging, it's customary to mix everything thoroughly, coating the rice with the vibrant flavors of the toppings.

The magic of bibimbap lies in its customizability. You can choose your favorite ingredients and adjust the spiciness to suit your palate.

These ingredients are almost always present:

  • Rice
  • Marinated Beef
  • SautĆ©edĀ Vegetables
  • Fried Egg
  • Topped with a sweet and savory sauce (made with Gochujang)
  • Topped with Sesame Seeds or Togarashi Seasoning
Bibimbap with Korean Fried Chicken
From K-Bop: Our favorite local bibimbap restaurant. This bowl has KFC (Korean Fried Chicken), but they also make them with spicy shrimp, katsu , or bulgogiĀ 

How to Make Bibimbap

The manyĀ ingredients in BibimbapĀ may seem complex, but once you have the basics, it's pretty easy to assemble. We'll guide you through each step so you can create delicious Bibimbap at home.

Steam the Rice

Rinse the rice in cold water and soak for about 30 minutes. If you have a rice cooker, follow the manufacturer's instructions. If using a saucepan, bring the rice and water to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.

Prepare the Marinated Beef

Choose thinly sliced beef, such as ribeye or sirloin. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, and sesame oil in a bowl. Add the beef and marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Combine the Bibimbap Sauce

Create the authentic sauce by mixing gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), sesame oil, sugar, water, roasted sesame seeds, apple cider vinegar, and minced garlic in a small bowl.

Cook the Vegetables

Select spinach, bean sprouts, carrots, zucchini, and shiitake mushrooms. Blanch the spinach and bean sprouts separately, then sautƩ the rest of the vegetables individually with a bit of sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Set them aside.

Make Sunny-Side-Up Fried Eggs

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, add a touch of oil, and crack your eggs into the pan. Cook until the whites are set, but the yolks remain runny.

Assemble the Bibimbap

Place a generous serving of steamed rice in a large bowl. Next, arrange the marinated beef and sautƩed vegetables in colorful sections atop the rice. Drizzle with bimbap sauce and place the sunny-side-up fried egg in the center.

Mix it Up and Enjoy

Now, for the fun part, your homemade Bibimbap is ready to enjoy! Mix everything thoroughly until all the ingredients are combined. Or, as oneĀ food bloggerĀ describes it, "turn it into a delicious mess," and dig in!

non-Traditional Bibimbap Bowl with quinoa and beans
Our Non-Traditional Bibimbap bowl with Quinoa base and beans for protein

How to Make Bibimbap Your Own

It's time to get creative and turn bibimbap into your own culinary masterpiece. Here are some exciting ways to put your unique spin on this Korean classic.

Switch Up Your Choice of Rice

Try nutty and nutritious brown rice for a hearty, earthy dimension to your bibimbap. Or consider using quinoa for a gluten-free, protein-packed alternative that pairs wonderfully with bibimbap's vibrant toppings.

Here at FreshJax we also love to "riff on" our favorites. While researching this article we tried this dish with several types of rice, glass noodles and even quinoa (really, we try every thing with quinoa!)

Choose Alternative Meat Options

Substitute marinated chicken, seafood, or tofu for the meat. Each of these protein variations complements the spicy Bibimbap sauce beautifully.

Experiment with the Bibimbap Sauce

For those who prefer a milder option, a soy sauce-based sauce can also be used. Also, you can add a dash of honey or maple syrup to your sauce for a sweeter note that balances the heat of the gochujang. Or mix mayonnaise or Greek yogurt into the sauce to create a creamy texture that mellows out the spiciness.

Want a little variety or just prefer to DIY? The blog My Korean Kitchen (amazing blog, by the way!) has a great article with 4 different types of bibimbap sauces (Classic Gochujang Bibimbap Sauce, Funky Doenjang Bibimbap Sauce, Meaty Gochujang Bibimbap Sauce, and kid-friendly Soy Sauce Bibimbap sauce). We tried them all... Huge Thumbs Up!

Select Other Vegetable Options

Enhance the flavor profile with pickled radishes, cucumbers, or kimchi for a tangy crunch to your Bibimbap. Or slice up some creamy avocado to introduce a buttery richness to your dish.

One other thing we liked is that it is super easy in this dish to work around picky eaters.

Prepare Your Egg Your Way

Swap the sunny-side-up fried egg for a poached or fully cooked fried egg. For a different texture, scramble the eggs before placing them on top.

Eat primarily plant-based? We have you covered! Hillary's Tofu Scramble makes a great substitute for the eggs.

Experiment with Your Preferred Style of Eating It

Traditionally served in a bowl and combined before eating, you can choose your individual method of attacking this medley of ingredients. If you prefer to start with the egg and work your way down without mixing the ingredients, go for it! Or you can think outside the bowl and create a wrap using a sheet of seaweed or lettuce to contain your bibimbap ingredients.

Use Organic Spices

Elevate the flavors in your bibimbap with organic spices from FreshJax. Our high-quality, organic spices and blends can add a new dimension of taste to this delightful Korean dish. Explore our extensive selection of organic spices to compliment your bibimbap, like our Organic Garlic Granules and Organic Galangal. Or spice it up with a dash of our Organic Gochugaru Chili Flakes.

Not Sure which blends to try? We can help!

When we tested it in our kitchen at the shop, we tried Shichimi Togarashi (our newest blend) as well as Brunch Life (because it is big on the sesame seeds) and Thai Seasoning. Togarashi was our favorite followed by Thai.Ā 

One Last Tip for Trying Bibimbap

Have fun experimenting with different ingredients and flavor combinations. Once you have the basics down, you can let your creativity and preferences guide you. Whether you're a fan of Korean cuisine or simply looking to try something new, bibimbap is a must-try dish that will undoubtedly leave you satisfied and delighted.

By the way, if you do make your own, we'd love to see pictures!