Imagine a foreigner going into Walmart and feeling like there are too many choices for cereal. Well, that is exactly how I felt in the Asian market in DC except this time it was with all sort of rice products. Totally overwhelming. People everywhere. Foreign sights and sounds. Totally cool, and totally different than the small Asian groceries I was used to in Florida!
After some searching we found the veggies we needed in the prepared food section and were on our way (after browsing every aisle as a novelty). Among the assortment of veggies we picked up were mung bean sprouts, mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, and others. My favorite was this spicy number that was a mystery vegetable.
We set off for home to make our hot pots, and I watched intensely documenting with my iPhone every step of the way (in between sips of wine!).
Below is my journey into hot pots.
After some digging to get to the bottom of this ‘hot pot’ talk, I’ve uncovered the real name of this dish – Bimbimbap. Learn more about it from Wikipedia. Bimbimbap is known for the crispy rice bottom and veggies cooked in a small pot (hence my friends calling the dish ‘hot pots’). Learn more about cooking in the hot pot (or commonly referred to as dol sot stone bowls) here.
For now, I’ll leave with with a recipe adapted from Yum Yum Asia to satisfy your vegan tastes.
Bibimbap (adapted from Yum Yum Asia)
2 small carrots
1 small white radish
2 small zucchini
1 bunch spinach
1 bunch yellow bean sprouts
1 cup of dried mushrooms
Korean chilli paste*
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper
4 cups hot cooked white or brown rice (short grain)* (see method at Step 1)
4 dol sot stone bowls*
* All these items are readily available at any Korean grocery store.
1. Wash and drain rice with cold water three times. Put into saucepan and place your right hand on top of the rice. Fill with cold water until the water just covers the top of your hand. Place on stove with lid on and on high heat leave for approx 20 minutes.
2. Soak the dried mushrooms in water until they become soft. Slice thinly and mix with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and pepper.
4. Cut the carrots, radish and zucchini into matchstick sized slices. Heat sesame oil in a large pan and sauté the carrots with a teaspoon of garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper, remove from pan and place carrots into a bowl. Repeat the above process with the radish and zucchini as well. Set aside.
5. Bring water to the boil and blanch spinach for approx 15 seconds, repeat with the yellow bean sprouts. Combine with salt, crushed garlic and sesame oil. Set aside.
6. Pour a teaspoon of sesame oil in the base of each stone bowl. Divide rice between the 4 stone bowls. Arrange all ingredients on top of the rice side by side around the bowl. Put a teaspoon (or more depending on taste) of the Korean chilli paste on top of the vegetables. Pour a tablespoon of sesame seed oil around the edge of the bowl
7. Place stone bowl on top of stove and on high heat leave for approx 5 minutes or until you can hear the rice popping and crackling.
8. Remove from heat and serve. Be very careful as the stone bowl will be extremely hot.