Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bee-bim Bop

This is Swiss chard.

It is not, as I mistakenly believed last year, rhubarb. Although, in my defense, rhubarb looks suspiciously like Swiss chard. The purple stalks! The broad green leaves!

Thinking it was rhubarb, one year ago I tossed the (perfectly edible!) leaves and used the stalks to make "rhubarb" crisp. Which tasted like it was made from celery. Ugh.

Aside from learning what chard actually looks like, the most useful thing I've learned about it since then is that its leaves can be substituted for spinach in pretty much any recipe. It's not too tough and  has a very mild flavor.

We used some of our first chard of this summer in bee-bim bop. I always enjoy this meal, even with all the pots and pans it dirties.

Believe it or not, this recipe came from a children's book.  One day The Boy picked up Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park at the library. It's a bouncy, rhyming tale of a little girl happily helping make her family's dinner of bee-bim bop (which the book translates as "mix-mix bowl"), a Korean mixed dish of marinated beef, vegetables and fried egg.

A recipe follows the story, with instructions divided up for "you" (the child" and the "grown-up". After many, many readings of the book, The Boy was excited to taste bee-bim bop himself. It was a huge success! Love the marinade for the meat.

It is a time-consuming, multi-pan recipe. And I make no claims that I'm doing authentic Korean cooking here. But bee-bim bop has easily slipped its way into our regular stable of meals.

Recipe below; printable version here. Check out the book for a kid-inclusive version!

Photo credit (rhubarb): Sandy Austin


2 cups white rice

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions (scallions), chopped
5 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame seeds, roasted (optional)
1 Tbs sesame oil (optional)
1/8 tsp black pepper

1 lb. tender, lean beef (such as sirloin tip)
2 carrots (or more), julienned
2  pkgs. frozen spinach, defrosted, or 1 lb. fresh spinach or other greens (such as Swiss chard), washed
1 lb. mung bean sprouts
4 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for frying
ko-chee-chang (Korean hot-pepper paste, optional)
kimchee (Korean pickled cabbage, optional)

Rice: Bring 4 cups water to boil in saucepan. Add rice. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed.

Meat: Mix marinade ingredients in large bowl. Slice the beef across the grain into very thin slices. Add beef to marinade bowl and stir. With your hands, grab handfuls of beef and squish all of it around for 2-3 minutes to tenderize. Set beef aside.

Greens: If using frozen spinach, squeeze some of the water out of it. If using fresh greens, cook for 2 minutes in a pot of boiling water, drain, and let cool for a few minutes, then squeeze some of the water out. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the frying pan and stir fry the greens for 2-3 minutes until tender. Empty the greens into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Sprouts: Boil one cup water in a large saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. When water boils, put bean sprouts into the pan. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and empty sprouts into a bowl.

Meat: Heat frying pan or wok over high heat for about 30 seconds. Add marinade and beef to pan all at once. Spread beef out in the pan and stir for 2-3 minutes until meat turns brown. Remove from heat.

To serve, put a pile of rice in the middle of a soup bowl or plate and some meat and vegetables on top. Be sure to pour a couple of spoonfuls of meat juice on your rice. Top with egg ribbons. Add ko-chee-chang (hot-pepper paste), if desired. Now "bee-bim"--mix everything together. It's ready to eat, with some kimchee on the side, if you wish!

1 comment:

  1. That's so great! We love that book too and I have been meaning to cook that recipe in the back. Thanks for sharing.


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