Easy Weeknight Bibimbap

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Bibimbap, the flavorful and vibrant Korean rice bowl meal, gets its alluring sweet-and-sour flavor from a sauce called gochujang. The vinegary, mildly spicy sauce can now be found on many grocery store shelves, where it is positioned to become the new hot-sauce darling. (Look out, Sriracha!)

(Note: If your market does not yet carry gochujang, you can make a tasty substitute by combining 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons Asian chili garlic paste and 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar.)

To make bibimbap, you don’t need a lot of time — but you do need lots of small bowls! It is beautifully served as a composition of the separate ingredients, which are balanced to lend an assortment of flavors and textures, from grassy to sweet and chewy to crisp. The runny yolk on top, when pierced, serves as a rich sauce that unites the entire dish.

Bibimbap is healthful, satisfying and beautiful — a triple dinner winner.

Easy Weeknight Bibimbap
Makes 4 servings

We used quick-cooking brown rice in place of white to amp up the nutrients even more — and get the dish on the table even faster.

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup quick cooking brown rice
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 finely minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
1 pound top round, very thinly sliced (brasciole) and cut in 1/2-inch strips
3 scallions, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 cup preshredded julienne carrots
8 ounces zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut across in crescents
9 ounces baby spinach
4 ounces shiitake, stems removed and caps sliced
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons gochujang sauce

1. Place sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium high and toast until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
2. Cook brown rice according to package directions, omitting any fat. Once cooked, leave the rice covered in the pot (off the heat).
3. Combine the soy sauce sugar, garlic, ginger and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil. In separate bowls, combine the meat and scallions with 1/4 cup of the mixture; the cucumbers with 2 teaspoons; the carrots with 2 teaspoons; the zucchini with 2 teaspoons and the shiitakes with the remaining 1 teaspoon of the mixture.
4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, until it is slightly pink in the center. (It will continue cooking as it stands.) Use tongs to transfer the meat to a clean bowl, leaving the liquid in the pan.
5. Add the spinach to the pan and cook, tossing constantly to wilt, until it is soft and bright green, about 2 minutes; transfer to a clean bowl. Add the zucchini and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, until crisp-tender; transfer to a clean bowl. Add shiitake and stir-fry until the liquid is thick and the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs to the pan and cook until the white is just set.
6. Divide the rice evenly among four serving bowls; top with the beef, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, spinach and shiitake. Drizzle with gochujang and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Add an egg to the center of each bowl and drizzle with more gochujang. Serve immediately.

Per serving: Calories 454; Fat 16 g (Saturated 4 g); Sodium 755 mg; Carbohydrate 41 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 38 g

Marge Perry is an award-winning  food, nutrition and travel writer and teacher whose work appears regularly in Rachael Ray Every Day, AllRecipes, Newsday, and on her blog, A Sweet and Savory Life. In addition, Marge is a chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and an Adjunct at New York University, where she teaches food writing.

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