A delicious combination of rice and vegetables, this signature Korean dish is worth the effort. As you prepare each component, place hot food on a jelly-roll pan and keep in a warm oven.
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup julienne-cut carrot
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
3 cups hot cooked short-grain rice
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 (5-ounce) package sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 (9-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons gochujang (Korean chili paste, such as Annie Chun's)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
How to Make It
Cut tofu into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Place tofu in a single layer on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally.
Combine 1/3 cup water, vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add carrot, and remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Drain.
Remove tofu from paper towels; cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Place tofu in a medium bowl. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon ginger, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring with a whisk. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce mixture to tofu; toss gently. Let stand 15 minutes.
Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat for 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil; swirl to coat. Add rice to pan in a single layer; cook 1 minute (do not stir). Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil; swirl to coat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce mixture and bean sprouts to pan; sauté 1 minute. Remove sprouts from pan; keep warm. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce mixture; sauté 1 minute. Remove mushrooms from pan; keep warm. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add tofu to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove tofu from pan; keep warm. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce mixture; sauté 30 seconds. Add spinach to pan; sauté 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove spinach from pan; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium. Melt butter in pan. Crack eggs into pan; cook 4 minutes or until whites are set. Remove from heat.
Place 3/4 cup rice in each of 4 shallow bowls. Top each serving evenly with carrots, sprouts, mushrooms, tofu, and spinach. Top each serving with 1 egg and 1 teaspoon chili paste. Sprinkle evenly with salt.
As a vegetarian, I have always coveted bibimbop, so I was very excited to see a vegetarian version. All the individual components looked so great that we thought the dish would be excellent, but really it was just so-so. Not a bad recipe, just not spectacular for the amount of work and ingredients.