Recipe: Spicy Shrimp and Brown Rice Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish meaning “mixed rice” or “mixed meal”.  It is traditionally served as a bowl of warm rice topped with sautéed and seasoned vegetables, beef, a fried egg, and gochujang (chile pepper paste).  In my quest to come up with something lighter and healthier, I created this shrimp and brown rice version.  It is hands down one of my favorite meals and the meal I make most often.  Which is convenient considering it is easily the most requested dinner choice of my husband.

While making bibimbap may look difficult with its long list of ingredients, once you have the process down, you will be making it with your eyes closed.  Feel free to experiment with different vegetables or proteins and create your own version.

A variation of the dish, the dolsot bibimbap (“dolsot” meaning “stone pot”), is served in a heated stone bowl, in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl.  Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil, making the layer of the rice touching the bowl golden brown and crispy.  If you don’t have stone bowls, which most people don’t as they are very hard to find in America, you can use a cast iron skillet (see directions below).  Many rice cookers have a bibimbap setting on them as well, creating a nice crisp bottom layer of rice.

Benefits:

  • Since traditional Korean Gochujang chili paste is loaded with sugar, I came up with an alternative sauce that has a similar spicy, intense flavor without the added refined sugars.
  • Instead of using the traditional bibimbap bulgogi beef, I use shrimp.  When eaten in moderation, shrimp is a heart-smart choice given it’s so low in fat and calories and loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms provide high levels of protein, potassium, niacin and B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. They have natural antiviral and immunity-boosting properties and are used nutritionally to fight viruses, cancer, lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure.
  • Brown Rice is a slow digesting complex carbohydrate full of fiber and nutrients.
  • Swiss chard is an excellent source of bone-building vitamins and minerals; antioxidant rich vitamin A and C; heart-healthy potassium and dietary fiber; and energy-producing iron.

Spicy Shrimp and Brown Rice Bibimbap

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups short grain brown rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 ½ cups bean sprouts, trimmed
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (about ¾ lb.), stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into very thin strips
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb. peeled and de-veined shrimp
  • 4 eggs, cooked over easy
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds

Sambal Paste (approx yield: 1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons red miso
  • 6 tablespoons Sambal Oelek
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Preparation:

Combine Sambal paste ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Reserve half of paste for later and add shrimp to remaining paste in bowl.  Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In a large wok, heat sesame oil on medium-high.  Sauté bean sprouts, Swiss chard, carrots, and mushrooms, about 3-4 minutes until just cooked through.  Season with salt.  While vegetables are cooking, heat a large sauté pan.  Add Sambal marinated shrimp, cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Place a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil.  Heat the oil for 1 minute. Add the rice, in batches, and spread it around the bottom of the pot to form an even layer. Cook the rice for several minutes or until the rice begins to brown on the bottom. You’ll start to hear it sizzle.

Place cooked rice in large bowls, arrange vegetables on top.  Top with spicy shrimp and place egg in the center. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with dark sesame oil.  When ready to eat, mix all ingredients together with reserved Sambal paste, to taste.

Enjoy!
DK


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