New York chef Ji Cha grew up in her father’s theater-district Korean restaurant and always knew she wanted to be a chef. She recently appeared on the current season of Hell’s Kitchen, and was one of the most talented members of the woman’s team, before an injury forced her to leave the show.
Today, she shares the recipe for her Bibimbap. Cha likes to use Korean stone bowls (available in Asian markets) to prepare the dish and make the rice extra crispy, but you can also use a cast-iron bowl or skillet. The recipe is after the jump.
Chef Ji Cha’s Bibimbap
2 cups brown rice
12 ounces lean beef fillet, cut into strips
2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
Marinade for the beef and mushrooms
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 green onions, only the green part, sliced into thin rings
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces summer squash, julienned
12 ounces cucumber, cut into thin disks and marinated in the following:
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes
1 Korean red pepper, deseeded and sliced diagonally
Sprouts and Spinach
12 ounces soybean sprouts, washed and soaked in cold water (10 minutes, this is just to clean)
1 pound fresh spinach, leafy part only, washed
Marinade for Sprouts and Spinach
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 green onions, sliced into thin rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Korean red pepper sauce
1 tablespoon red pepper paste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar or corn syrup
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish
1. Combine ingredients for beef marinade. Pour over beef. Set aside.
2. Wash the brown rice until water is clear. Cook in rice cooker or follow directions on package.
3. Combine the ingredients for the Korean red pepper sauce to the consistency of a thick cream soup, and set aside.
4. Place the squash, cucumber, Korean pepper, and sprouts into separate bowls. Sprinkle a little bit of salt into both the squash and cucumber so you extract excess water. Squeeze the water out of both vegetables using a cloth or in the palm of your gloved hands. Repeat if necessary.
5. Blanch the spinach until bright green, about 30 seconds. Shock in ice water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out excess water and set aside.
6. Combine cucumber marinade ingredients and pour over cucumber. Set aside. Combine ingredients for the sprouts and spinach marinade. Pour half the marinade over sprouts and half over spinach.
7. Place four Korean stone bowls or cast-iron skillet on an open flame until hot. Be very careful.
8. Sauté sprouts in 1 tsp soy sauce and a drizzle of vegetable oil (just enough to lightly coat the pan) until tender, about one minute. Set aside.
9. Saute spinach for about 30 seconds. Set aside.
10. Sauté the beef until desired doneness and set aside on a plate. Sauté mushrooms in same skillet.
11. Sauté the squash for about two minutes. Set aside.
12. Saute Korean red pepper for one minute. Careful the pepper might have a very spicy aroma. Set aside.
13. Cook a sunny-side egg, or you can crack open an egg on top of the dish as a garnish. (The egg will cook due to the very hot stone bowls) Set aside.
14. Using oven mitts, remove the stone bowls from the flame onto the safe plate, which usually comes with the bowl when purchased. Place about a cup of brown rice into each of the stone bowls. Arrange the vegetables on the rice, alternating dark colors with light ones if you like for visual appeal. Place the beef in the center with a tablespoon of Korean red pepper sauce. Place the egg on top of the sauce. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds for garnish.