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Asian, Food

Korean Classics: Bee-Bim Bop, Bulgogi and Cucumber Kim Chee

My little Rosie competed in her very first gymnastics meet yesterday and she did so well!  We were so proud.   And to reward her, we decided to make the food that she has been talking about all week—Bee -Bim Bop!

Why has a five year old  girl been obsessing over a staple Korean dish, you may ask?

Her teacher has been reading the class, Linda Sue Park’s picture book–Bee-Bim Bop–which is a catchy rhyme about a young girl begging her mom to make the popular dish.  We borrowed the book from the teacher with the promise that I would bring some for her to sample.

Since the Project Food Blog challenge #2 is to make a Classic dish from another culture—I thought that Bee-Bim Bop would be the perfect dish.  It is relatively simple, so tasty, and can be easily modified to suit individual tastes. And it would make my gymnast happy……

Bee-Bim Bop, according to Park’s book, means “Rice Mix Mix” and is a popular and easy dish in Korea that consists of rice, vegetables, maybe some meat, and an egg.

For our Bee-Bim Bop, I decided to be adventurous and make Chicken Bulgogi, another Korean dish–to add to the Bee Bim Bop.  Bulgogi is traditionally made with beef, like rib-eye—but ,  I didn’t want to make a special trip to the store and the kids had steak the night before.  I also made sauteed spinach and green beans, quick cucumber kim chee, and, of course, fried eggs.

Yum!  To top it all off, I made “Butter Mochi”, a special treat that we love from Hawaii–and you will too.

Follow along for the recipes and the steps for our delicious Korean Saturday night.  (Apologies for such a long post—but it was a long night of cooking!)

Chicken Bulgogi

1) For the chicken bulgogi marinade, I used:

Marinade:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 apple, grated with juices (the recipe called for Asian pear–but I didn’t have one.)

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1/2 small white onion, grated or sliced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (This is an essential kitchen staple in our household and should be in yours too–it adds so much flavor.)

1 tablespoon Sriracha Asian hot sauce ( You can find it almost any store–but definitely an Asian market.  This is good to always have on hand.)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 (20-ounce) bottle lemon-lime soda

1/2 cup orange juice

1) Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow, plastic container with a lid.  I used a great one that I “borrowed” from my sister-in -law about 5 years ago.  I really should return that one of these days……

2) Add your chicken (or beef, if you so desire).  I used 4 chicken breasts that I split down the middle.

3) Let marinade for at least an hour–but overnight would be ideal.

4)  After it has sat in the marinade, grill them outside (or inside, if you have to).  I enlisted Aaron to help as outdoor cooking is his specialty, not mine.

Quick Cucumber Kim Chee

While the bulgogi was resting, I worked on the Quick Cucumber Kim Chee.  If I had store-bought Kim Chee at home, I would have skipped this step-but I didn’t.  I felt that we needed a crunchy, spicy addition to our Bee-Bim Bop and I had just bought some great looking cucumbers.  The ginger in this was a great combination with the other flavors in the Bee-Bim Bop.  Definately worth the extra steps.

I followed a recipe by David Chang I had found on the Food&Wine website and modified it slightly.

If you wanna make it, you will need:

2 cucumbers

2 1/4 T of sugar

1 T salt

1 T of Ginger (cut into small toothpick-like pieces)

1 T of Soy Sauce

1 T of Fish Sauce

1 small onion, sliced very thinly

3 cloves of garlic (which I almost forgot!  That would have been awful–you can’t have Kim Chee without garlic.)

1 green onion

1 tsp Sriracha sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1) Cut cucumbers into thin slices.

2) Toss cucumbers in  a colander with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of sugar.  Let sit for ten minutes.

3) Mix the rest of the salt, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, Sriracha sauce into a paste.  Add the onion and garlic.

4) Add the cucumbers and toss well.  Set aside in the refrigerator.  You will love this later!

Rice

You will need some nice white rice to enjoy this meal in its traditional form.   I am addicted to Japanese rice ( Kokuho Rose) and we buy it in 20 pound bags.  I am sure you could use brown rice for a less traditional take on Bee-Bim Bop but I don’t think it would taste as good.

Follow the directions in your rice cooker and make up a nice big pot of hot and steamy rice.

What?  You don’t have a rice cooker?  You need to get one.  They make your life so easy.  And, you can get your kids to make the rice–one less job for you!

Sauteed Spinach and Green Beans


This was the easiest part of the meal and I had  never thought to do this before.

1) Add 1 tsp of sesame oil  to a cast iron pan on medium heat.

2) Once it has warmed up a bit, add a bunch of spinach and toss it around to absorb the oil.

3)  Cover.  Let sit until wilted.

4) That’s it!  Do the same thing with the green beans–but add a little bit of water before you cover them.

Fried Eggs

Each dish of Bee Bim Bop will need one fried egg.  I made four over hard eggs as I am a little weird about over easy eggs–but if that is what you like–that is what you should make.

Assembling your Bee Bim Bop


Once you have prepared all of your ingredients, it is time to begin assembly.  Each person can serve themselves so the get exactly what they want.

1) Assemble your Bee-Bim Bop in this order:

Rice on the bottom

Veggies (sauteed spinach, green beans and cucumber kim chee)

Chicken Bulgogi

Fried Egg

To eat:

Mix, mix, mix. Mix everything together and add extra soy sauce or Sriracha sauce or Kim Chee to taste.

Enjoy!

BONUS!!!!  If you have read all the way to this point, I will reveal the recipe for a delcious but so not nutritious Hawaiian treat—-Butter Mochi


If you are feeling up to it, make this delicious treat you can find in Hawaii.  It is the perfect compliment to the Bee Bim Bop  and very easy to make.

You will need:

1/2 cup butter (softened)

3 cups of sugar

2 cups milk (whole or 2%—you need the fat)

1 can of coconut milk

1 box of Mochiko flour (In most big cities, you can find this in the Asian section of most grocery stores.  In Sarasota, we had to make a special trip to the Asian market.)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

1) Mix together the butter and the sugar.

2) Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, coconut milk, baking powder and Mochiko flour.

3) Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

4) When you take it out of the oven, it will be crispy on top and so good.  Aaron loves it the most right out of the oven.  I prefer it cold–the next day.  Yummy!

Project Food Blog Challenge #2:  This blog post is my submission to the FoodBuzz Project Food Blog Challenge #2.  Please go here and vote for me.  It would so great to move on to the next challenge.  This is a lot of fun!