This dinner has a lovely beginning. Before the sauteing, before the boiling, before the chopping…. before the garden and the grocery store. Before all that came the children’s book. My son and I stumbled on this lovely book in our neighborhood library when he was 5.
The book tells the tale of a little girl shopping with her mother to purchase the ingredients for a Korean dish called Bee Bim Bop. It rhymes and bounces along happily and on the very last page there awaits a recipe. My then 5 year old son wanted to try it. So we did and it has been a staple at our house in the 9 years since we read the book :-)
The recipe can be made with or without meat, although I do believe that the egg is a wonderful addition. I make it with veggies and egg now, but I used to use chicken.
Whichever way you try it, it’s delicious and if you have small children, this book is a great place to start to introduce them to something new. In fact, it would make a lovely time to read it and then cook it together. Nothing says try me like something you’ve cooked yourself!
This is my take on the recipe from the book – meatless and, in true Pantry style – with the veggies I had on hand.
2 cups brown rice
2 cloves of garlic
4 scallions, sliced, including most of the green
5 Tbsp soy sauce (I use Bragg’s liquid aminos)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used avocado)
1 Tbsp roasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon roasted (or raw) sesame seeds (optional)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
a head of broccoli cut into florets
2 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper
If you want to use meat, then cut down the amount of vegetables and mix the garlic, soy sauce, scallions, sugar and sesame oil and marinate while cutting veggies / doing other prep.
Set rice to cooking at the beginning so it will be done in time.
Scramble the eggs and set aside – get out small fry pan to cook a thin layer of egg 4 times. Oil the bottom as necessary for your pan.
For meatless version:
Mix soy sauce, sugar, sesame seeds, sesame oil and pepper.
Place vegetable oil in a frying pan and saute the minced or pressed garlic and the scallions.
Cook until translucent and fragrant. Add the chopped veggies.
While veggies cook (not too long – keep ‘em green and bright!) Pour 1/4 egg into pan at a time and cook about 1 minute each side.
When all 4 ‘omelettes’ are done, stack them and slice into ribbons. I usually cut into ribbons and ten cut the ribbons in half.
Turn off the heat on your veggies and add the spinach. Stir it in to wilt.
Serve over rice with egg strips on top – and a bit of tabasco makes a wonderful addition to this. If you want to be authentic you serve Kim Chee with it – a Korean spicy fermented cabbage that can be purchased ready made in many places.
Mix it all up – that’s what bee-bim means, ‘Mix mix’.
The original recipe encourages you to cook each item separately and then allow people to choose what they want. That’s a lovely way to do it but on most nights I’m thinking, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” But if you do it’s yet another way to engage hesitant eaters…. at least they have a little say on what goes in the bowl!
Nice alternative veggies would be cabbage, mung bean sprouts would be good on top, or other hearty greens.
However you do it – this is a wonderful alternative taste to stir-fry.
To serve, put bowls of all the different meal components on the table and allow each family member to serve themselves. Pile the meat and veggies on top of the rice and top with the egg. Add some of the “gravy” from the cooked meat. Finally, mix (remember, “bee-bim” means “mix”) everything together. And enjoy!