Saturday, September 24, 2016

Korean Rice Bowls

Last Year's Post:  Healthy Baked Apples
Two Years Ago:   Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Korean rice bowls with mixed vegetables are also called Bibimbap, which is fun to say  (BEE-beem-bop) but I figured most people wouldn't know what it meant, plus this recipe isn't completely authentic Bibimbap because I substituted hard-cooked eggs for the runny-egg-thing that manages to find its way onto everything these days.  If you like runny eggs, go for it.  (Some Bibimbap recipes actually use raw eggs that are mixed with the rest of the ingredients, ugh.)

The only unusual ingredient in the recipe is Gochujang hot pepper paste, which is a staple in Korean cooking.  You'll find it at your local Asian market.  It's pretty spicy so you only use a small amount, but it adds wonderful flavor and a little heat to the roasted squash.  If you can't find it or don't want to buy it just for this recipe, don't worry - just substitute harissa or sambal olelek or another hot sauce instead.  After all, it's just one component in the sauce for the squash, which in turn is just one part of the rice bowl.

The squash roasts along side the shiitake mushrooms for depth of flavor, then everything gets assembled on top of the rice.  Lime juice, soy sauce and more hot sauce are added at everyone's discretion so your own bowl can be as mild or hot as you like.  And very healthy!

Korean Rice Bowls
Serves 4

1 teaspoon Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) or sambal oelek, plus more for the table
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into bite-sized pieces
Sea salt
7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut in half if large
2 tablespoons soy sauce plus more for the table
2 cups frozen edamame, cooked according to package directions
5 cups hot cooked white or brown rice
4 radishes, trimmed and sliced
2 cups Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
Black or white sesame seeds, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk Gochujang, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and sesame seeds in a medium bowl.  Add squash and toss to coat.  Spread in a single layer on one half of a large rimmed baking sheet.  In a second bowl, mix the shiitake mushrooms, remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce.  Spread in a single layer on the other half of the baking sheet.  Roast for 15 minutes until the mushrooms are juicy and slightly shrunken, then remove them from the baking sheet and place it back in the oven until the squash is tender and browned on the edges, about 5 more minutes.  Sprinkle both with salt.

To serve, divide the rice between 4 bowls.  Top with squash, mushrooms, edamame, radishes, cabbage, and sliced egg.  Garnish with sesame seeds, lime wedges and green onions.  Serve, passing soy sauce and Gochujang (or sambal oelek) at the table.

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