Hangul Day Celebratory Bibimbap! 비빔밥!

Today is the Korean national holiday Hangul Day. It is a celebration of one of the greatest achievements of mankind; the creation of the finest writing system ever, Hangul (한글)! (Jason is a bit of a language geek, so please excuse his enthusiasm if you think it’s too much.)

To celebrate this, we have decided to make what is probably the best and most well-known Korean dish: bibimbap. Bibimbap is a fairly simple dish to make but packs a lot of flavour.

Last year we spent two weeks in Korea, and tried a lot of different dishes. Jason predominantly ate bibimbap though, as it was always a guaranteed vegetarian dish. We used to make bibimbap before going to Korea, but after trying the real thing, our old recipes didn’t compare. We have since then, spent a lot of time making our bibimbap more like the ones we ate in Korea. We think this recipe is perfect!

Eating bibimbap after a long day hiking Bukhansan mountain.

Eating bibimbap after a long day hiking Bukhansan mountain.

Jason eating bibimbap in a more traditional restaurant, seated on the floor.

Jason eating bibimbap in a more traditional restaurant, seated on the floor.

As you can see, Korean meals are served with lots of small side dishes, the most famous of which is kimchi – fermented cabbage (or radish). In the second picture, you can see the bibimbap served in a stone bowl – this is called dolsot bibimbap, which is very hot and makes the rice nice and crispy.

The ingredients to a bibimbap are entirely up to you. We are making three traditional side dishes (namul) that form part of the bibimbap, as well as tofu, and usually some fried vegetables.

Ingredients Serves 2
Cooking time: 1 hour

  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Ättiksprit 12% (vinegar essence)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Chili flakes
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cucumber
  • 100 g fresh spinach
  • 75 g bean sprout
  • 2 spring onions
  • 150 ml rice
  • 150 g tofu
  • Korean hot chili paste (gochujang) – available from most Asian stores
  • 2 eggs

Bibimbap ingredients

Prepare the namul:

  1. Set aside three bowls.
  2. Make the pickled cucumber:
    1. Finely slice the cucumber, with a knife or food processor.
    2. Slice one spring onion.
    3. Mix 1 tsp ättiksprit, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsk salt, 2 tsp chili flakes, and the sliced spring onion in one of the bowls.
    4. Mix the cucumber in with the mixture.
    5. Place a heavy bowl on top, and put in the fridge.
      Cucumber weighted
  3. Make the marinated spinach:
    1. Put the spinach in a sieve and pour 1 l of boiling water over the leaves.
    2. Rinse with cold water.
    3. Squeeze out all the liquid, and put in one of the bowls.
    4. Slice one spring onion.
    5. Add 1.5 tsp soy, 1.5 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp roasted sesame seeds, and the sliced spring onion, and mix thoroughly. (Place in the fridge if wanted.)
  4. Make the marinated bean sprouts:
    1. Place the beansprouts in a sieve and rinse them in cold water, and take off any green skins from the beans.
    2. Pour 1 l of boiling water over the bean sprouts.
    3. Rinse with cold water.
    4. Put the bean sprouts in the final bowl.
    5. Add 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, and mix thoroughly. (Place in the fridge if wanted.)


You should leave the cucumber in the fridge to pickle for at least 25 mins. So you can leave it for longer or if you want to be quick, make the cucumber first and start boiling your rice once you are done with the other namul.

Make the bibimbap:

  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Cut the tofu and fry it in some sesame oil in a hot pan.
  3. Chop your vegetables (thin slices work well with bibimbap), and fry them separately in sesame oil in a hot pan.
  4. Once everything is ready, fry four eggs sunny-side up. (A runny yolk is best.)
  5. Serve the rice into four bowls.
  6. Put 0.5-1.5 tsp Korean chili paste on top of the rice (in the hole).
    Note: The chili paste is very hot so start with a little bit and add more while you eat if needed.
  7. Pour out any excess liquid from the pickled cucumbers.
  8. Place the namul, tofu, and any fried vegetables neatly on top of the rice, leaving a hole in the middle of them. Keep each thing separate.
  9. Place the egg on top, in the centre of the bowl.
  10. Enjoy!

Jason, bibimbap

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