Monday, May 14, 2012

Bee Bim Bop

I try to take my kids to the library once a week.  I usually bring whatever book I am reading, settle in on a couch and give the kids free reign to play with the train table and pick out books.  I was pleasantly surprised when my daughter toddled over with the book Bee-bim Bop by Linda Sue Park.  

Bee-Bim Bop is a popular Korean dish consisting of rice, marinated beef, and vegetables, and this story combines adorable repetitive rhymes about cooking a meal from a child's point of view, with a kid-friendly recipe in the back.  Right up our alley.

Korean food is not as mainstream as other Asian cuisines, but it is just as good.  I am a more recent devotee, my husband has been eating Korean food since he was quite young. 

Thirty years ago, my father-in-law was studying Tae Kwon Do, the national sport of South Korea, and the friends he made at the do-jang led to a deep appreciation of Korean culture.  A love of Korean cuisine blossomed from there, and his young family, which included my husband, started eating it about as often as most American families eat Italian food. Along with spaghetti and meatballs, dishes like bulgogi, kalbi, and kimchee simply became part of their regular dinner rotation.

My first experience with Korean food came when I met my husband, and I was hooked. 

On him, and on Korean food.

Bulgogi (marinated and barbecued beef), Bibim Nengmyun (cold noodles in a chili paste), and kimchee (spicy pickled cabbage) are my favorites and we tend to order and make these dishes over and over.  Until our daughter randomly picked out Bee-bim Bop, we had never had this dish, but we were certainly excited to try.   

Here's how Linda Sue Park says to make it, with a few minor changes from me:

2 cups white rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, chopped
5 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb beef (sirloin tip) cut very thin
2 carrots, chopped julienne
1 can chopped spinach, drained
1 can Asian bean sprouts, drained
4 eggs
vegetable oil for frying
chili paste (optional)

Cook rice according to instructions on bag.

Meanwhile, for marinade, combine garlic, scallions, soy sauce, sugar, oil, sesame seeds, pepper in bowl.  Add meat to bowl, mix and massage for three minutes.

Whisk eggs together, pour a little oil into the pan and heat until hot.  Add enough egg to thinly cover the bottom.  Let egg sit until cooked through, flip in one piece, cook through on other side.  Finish off eggs in this manner, making and stacking pancakes.  Set eggs aside.  When cool, roll up the stack and slice into thin ribbons.

In the same pan, stir fry the carrots, spinach and bean sprouts over high heat until tender. Set aside.

Reheat the same pan over high heat, then add the meat and marinade in all at once.  Stir and spread out the meat, then let it sit for 3 minutes.  Stir until meat is brown and slightly caramelized.

To assemble, place the rice in a bowl, top with vegetables, egg strips, meat and juices, and chili paste (if desired), then mix the heck out of it!  Enjoy!

Hurry, Mama, hurry, Gotta chop chop chop, Hungry - very hungry for some Bee Bim Bop!