Stuck in a food rut? Happens to the best of us. We cook what we know and if the ruts get too deep, we revert to the behavior we know and go to our favorite restaurant where we then order our favorite menu option. Same, same and more of the same. Boring!
Not only does this get boring, this is where nutrition problems start to pop up. First and foremost, food is supposed to taste good and nourish the body. If you're not enjoying your food, you're not getting everything you need from your food. True story.
Furthermore, if you're eating the same select foods nutritional deficiencies will start to pop up. This can even lead to further taste aversions that keep you stuck in your rut. Plus restaurant food is a sometimes treat, not an everyday fall back option. Restaurants make food to sell, not to keep you healthy - in other words, lots of calories, lots of salt, not always lots of nutrition.
Sometimes you may need a bit of a push or pull to get out of that rut. That's why it's a great idea to have new recipes delivered to you. Cook's Illustrated is a great avenue for this because not only do they include awesome recipes with beautiful pictures, there's thorough, step-by-step instructions, hints and tips to help you get a delicious recipe the first go. Trying out their recipes also leads to having exciting new ingredients in your cabinets that will further encourage you to continually try new things.
You're going to come across an ingredient called gochujang. Do NOT be scared. It's a delicious Korean chili paste and I've included an Amazon link for you below the recipe.
Push yourself out of your rut with this Korean rice bowl recipe. Gluten-free (if you watch make sure to purchase gluten free ingredients like gf soy sauce) and vegetarian. Loaded with protein and nutrition. Yum!
Korean Rice Bowl (Dolsot Bibimbap) from the May/June 2016 issue of
Cook’s Illustrated magazine
Why This Recipe Works: Simple rice bowls—individual portions of rice topped with vegetables, eggs, and spicy sauce—are popular across Asia, but the crisp crust on Korean dolsot bibimbap makes it the ultimate version. Unfortunately, making bibimbap requires special stone bowls, a lot of sautéing, and a lot of knife work.
We make a more approachable, family-style bibimbap by substituting one enameled cast-iron Dutch oven for a set of stone bowls, using just three easily prepared sautéed vegetable toppings instead of the usual six or more, and turning the pickles, sauce, and vegetables into make-ahead options. Skipping the traditional step of rinsing the rice before steaming it saves time and makes no discernible difference to the finished dish. A quickly pickled mixture of bean sprouts and cucumbers adds crisp brightness.
1 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin on bias
4 ounces (2 cups) bean sprouts
¼ cup gochujang
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ½ cups short-grain white rice
2 ½ cups water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
3 scallions, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 carrots, peeled and shredded (2 cups)
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced thin
1(10-ounce) bag curly-leaf spinach, stemmed and chopped coarse
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 large eggs
For a quick dinner, prepare the pickles, chile sauce, and vegetables a day ahead (warm the vegetables to room temperature in the microwave before adding them to the rice). You can also substitute storebought kimchi for the pickles to save time. The Korean chile paste gochujang is sold in Asian markets and some supermarkets. If you can’t find it, an equal amount of Sriracha can be substituted. But because Sriracha is more watery than gochujang, omit the water from the chile sauce and stir just 1 tablespoon of sauce into the rice in step 9. For a true bibimbap experience, bring the pot to the table before stirring the vegetables into the rice in step 9.
1. FOR THE PICKLES: Whisk vinegar, sugar, and salt together in medium bowl. Add cucumber and bean sprouts and toss to combine. Gently press on vegetables to submerge. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
2. FOR THE CHILE SAUCE: Whisk gochujang, water, oil, and sugar together in small bowl. Cover and set aside.
3. FOR THE RICE: Bring rice, water, and salt to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove rice from heat and let sit, covered, until tender, about 15 minutes.
4. FOR THE VEGETABLES: While rice cooks, stir together water, scallions, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add carrots and stir until coated. Add 1/3 cup scallion mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until carrots are slightly softened and moisture has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrots to small bowl.
5. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty pot until shimmering. Add mushrooms and stir until coated with oil. Add 1/3 cup scallion mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender and moisture has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to second small bowl.
6. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty pot until shimmering. Add spinach and remaining 1/3 cup scallion mixture and stir to coat spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until spinach is completely wilted but still bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer spinach to third small bowl. Discard any remaining liquid and wipe out pot with paper towel.
7. FOR THE BIBIMBAP: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and sesame oil in now-empty pot over high heat until shimmering. Carefully add cooked rice and gently press into even layer. Cook, without stirring, until rice begins to form crust on bottom of pot, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrots, spinach, and mushrooms to pot and arrange in piles that cover surface of rice. Reduce heat to low.
8. While crust forms, heat remaining 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over low heat for 5 minutes. Crack eggs into small bowl. Pour eggs into skillet; cover and cook (about 2 minutes for runny yolks, 2½ minutes for soft but set yolks, and 3 minutes for firmly set yolks). Slide eggs onto vegetables in pot.
9. Drizzle 2 tablespoons chile sauce over eggs. Without disturbing crust, use wooden spoon to stir rice, vegetables, and eggs until combined. Just before serving, scrape large pieces of crust from bottom of pot and stir into rice. Serve in individual bowls, passing pickles and extra chile sauce separately.
Order your gochujang and gluten free soy sauce by clicking on the pictures below.
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