Do you ever think of this one dish that you had years ago that was so good that you can’t forget it, but at the same time cannot figure out what it actually is. That happened to me during my China trip almost 3 years ago.
My Chinese colleague Chris took me to this basement restaurant in Shanghai and the place was kind of smoky, but packed with people for lunch. There were a number of counters with different cuisine being cooked at each counter, like Chinese, Korean, and Japanese etc. My colleague seated me at a table (with couple of strangers already having their lunch) and went to order food. She came back with this hot (and heavy) stone bowl with some rice, veggies and egg in it. I don’t remember anymore details about the dish, but I do remember saying that it was really really good (I had a strange feeling that it was not vegetarian, but I trusted Chris).
The rice was crunchy in the bottom and once the veggies and egg got mixed with the spice mixture on the top, there was an explosion of flavors in the mouth. That’s what I remembered, explosion of flavors, but never was able to know what it was. Until PJ announced A.W.E.D-Korean and I started to look around for recipes, that’s when I found Dolsot Bi Bim Bap from Susan’s Fat free Vegan blog. A.W.E.D is a monthly event started by DK @ Culinary Bazaar.
I bought gochu jang from the Korean market that I already used in Japchae before. You might get away without using it in Japchae, but you really need it in this dish, that is the ingredient that creates the explosion. This recipe is a combination of 2-3 recipes and I cannot vouch for the authenticity of it, but DH and I really enjoyed the dish. The dish requires quite a bit of prep work, so plan accordingly.
Mix all the sauce ingredients with little water to get a pourable sauce.
Cook rice and keep aside.
In a large sauté pan, add 1tsp peanut oil and sauté Chinese broccoli until just wilted. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper (S+S+S+P). Remove onto a plate.
In the same pan, sauté zucchini till tender; season with S+S+S+P. Remove onto a plate.
Boil 5-6 cups water in a sauce pan; add the sprouts and boil for 2 minutes. Completely drain water; season with S+S+S+P, keep aside. Steam broccoli and season with S… (you get the idea, just steam/saute/boil any veggie and season with S+S+S+P and keep aside).
In the meantime, make an omelet and keep aside.
When ready to serve, place some rice in the bottom of the serving bowl, add all the toppings so they cascade down from the center. Also make sure that same colored toppings are not put next to each other. Then put a dollop of spicy sauce and your omelet. To eat, mix everything together and enjoy the burst of flavors.