30-minute Bi Bim Bop
This 30-minute Bi Bim Bop has all of the flavors and textures that you crave with this iconic Korean dish, but comes together in only thirty minutes for the perfect weeknight meal.
In it’s simplest form, Bi Bim Bop is just “mixed up rice” (which happens to be a direct translation). But since it’s worldwide popularity has grown, it’s come to mean so much more.
When I was a little kid, my family often ate at a steak house down the street from our Tokyo home. I was always excited for the excuse to eat red meat, so, being the serious meat-eater that I was, I would get the biggest steak I could find on the menu. And my mom always ordered the bi bim bop. I would always look between my mammoth steak and her pitiable amount of meat and … what is this? Vegetables? How dare they waste precious beef space with vegetables! All of that led me to think I had definitely ordered the superior dish. But then I’d take a bite … oh you guys, the flavors. The textures. The contrast between cold cucumber and hot beef, creamy runny egg yolk and spicy kimchi. And as much as I enjoyed the steak, I envied her choice.
And now, it’s a dish I make quite often for my family. I made it at least weekly when I was pregnant with my youngest. Serious cravings, ya’ll. Don’t mess with a pregnant mama and her cravings. And during that pregnancy, I had a huge aversion to red meat, so I made it with sprouted extra firm tofu instead. The problem is that is can be a little laborious. You have to paper-thin-slice your beef and then marinate it and grill or sauté each indivial piece. All the while steaming and seasoning the spinach, boiling and seasoning the soy bean sprouts, cutting the carrots and cucumber into matchsticks, it’s all very time consuming. If you cook your rice on the stove instead of in a rice cooker, you have all of your burners going at once. Talk about multi-tasking! And as much as I love connecting to my food and slowing down the process of cooking, I also have evenings where I’m running kids to soccer practice and piano lessons and I’m tired and hangry and about to Darth Vader voice at my kids “what do you think I’m doing?!?!?!”
This is where my 30-minute version comes in. The biggest change I made to cut down on time was to use ground beef instead of a steak. And once the meat is browned, you add a very simple sauce right into the pan, which cuts down significantly on prep time. I also use baby spinach instead of mature spinach because it cooks lightning fast, and I completely omitted my beloved soy bean sprouts. Mainly because they aren’t always easy to find, the source is often a little sketchy when you do find them, and … well, it was just one more thing I felt didn’t need to be squeezed into my 30 minutes. And I don’t miss them, tbh. Shocking.
My favorite trick is the spiralizer for the cucumbers and carrots. Zippy fast, perfectly uniform pieces, and so fun! Ooooh, you could even make your kids do that part. They’ll think you’re the best mom ever, and one less thing you have to do! Might even take this meal down to 25 minutes! #momwin
If you don’t have a spiralizer, try using a mandoline fitted with a julienne blade (but watch your knuckles!) or a julienne peeler. If you don’t have any of those, you’ll be cutting your veg into matchsticks by hand and then adding one of those tools into your Amazon shopping cart 😉
Speaking of vegetables, unlike my younger self, I pile them on now. If piles of veg are not your thing,
first try it out before you turn your nose up at it, and then go ahead and adjust the amounts to your liking. I definitely am in the camp of more veg than rice or meat, so be warned.
And my recipe calls for short grain white rice simply because of the time constraints, but if you have the time to think ahead, try my brown rice cooking method. It’s the only way I eat brown rice because of the anti-nutrients in whole grains that prevent nutrient absorption. Read all about it here.
Last but not least, eggs. I personally lurv me some runny egg yolk. But if that makes you squirm like it does my sweetheart, then you can make egg crepes and slice them thinly and serve that instead. instructions in the recipe card.
Otherwise, enjoy making super fast, get-it-on-the-table-NOW bi bim bop. Your hangry family will thank you.
- 1 lb ground beef, preferably local, organic, and grassfed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons nuetral tasting oil such as avocado oil, seperated
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably non-GMO and organic
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 medium carrots, peeled, with both ends removed
- 4 small cucumber or 1~2 large, thin-skinned, seedless cucumber, both ends removed
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 4 eggs
- fine sea salt
- 2 green onions
- kimchi, for serving
- Sriracha, for serving, optional
- 2 cups short grain white rice, preferably organic
- Wash your rice in a fine mesh strainer suspended over a similar size bowl. Strain out the rice and wash 3 more times for a total of 4 times. Drain thoroughly. Place the rice back in the bowl and submerge in warm water and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Add to a medium sauce pan* and add 2 cups water. Bring the rice to a boil. Once boiling, drop it to a simmer. Continue to simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Let the rice rest, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the beef, breaking up large pieces** and spreading it evenly over the pan. Cook the beef until browned on the bottom, being careful not to move the meat around while it cooks, about 3 minutes. Once a good crust has formed on the bottom, stir the meat around and let it brown all around. Make a well in the middle of the meat and add 1 tablespoon of oil to the middle. Add the garlic and let cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Once the garlic is fragrant, stir the meat around and add the soy sauce, maple syrup, and water and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is mostly gone. Turn off the heat, drizzle with sesame oil, and set aside.
- Add about 1 inch of water to the bottom of a small sauce pan. Bring the pan to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the spinach and cook, covered, until the spinach wilts, about 1~2 minutes. Immediately drain the spinach and run under cool water. Squeeze out excess liquid and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cut the carrots and cucumber using the spaghetti blade of a spiralizer*** and set aside.
- Bring a sell-seasoned cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the surface of the pan. Carefully crack the eggs into the pan****, and season lightly with salt. Leave the eggs untouched until the whites are cooked through and crispy on the bottom, but the yolks are still runny. Immediately remove from the pan.
- To serve, put equal portions of rice in each bowl. Top with carrots, cucumber, scallions, spinach, kimchi, and beef in separate sections. Top with the eggs and a drizzle of sriracha, if using. Stir all of the ingredients together to eat.
- *Alternatively, use a rice cooker and follow machine's instructions
- **I like to use a potato masher for this
- ***You could also use a mandoline slicer fitted with a juilenne blade, a julienne peeler, or cut into matchsticks with a knife.
- ****Instead of sunny side up eggs, you can make egg crepes and slice them thinly. To make the crepes, take your 4 eggs and scramble them in a bowl. Season with a pinch of salt. Bring a large skillet to medium heat and pour in about 1/2 of the egg into the skillet, swirling to coat. Once the egg begins to set, cover with a lid and cook until set, about 2 minutes. Remove the lid and place the egg crepe on a large cutting board. Repeat with remaining egg. Once both are cooked, stack the two egg crepes and slice through the middle. Now stack all 4 half-moons and slice thinly to make ribbons. Serve the ribbons in the middle of the bowl in place of the fried egg.