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Tofu Bibimbap – Korean Food: By Jen Oliak

How do you feel about spicy food? If you like it and also want to eat healthy, you will LOVE Tofu Bibimbap.

Now that school has started again, I am trying to get back on a routine. I didn’t eat well this summer. Did you?  I need to adjust my habits! When I think about increasing my vegetable servings, I turn to Korean food since it is based heavily on veggies but still full of flavor. I also love spicy food. The Gochujang (hot chili paste) used in many Korean dishes satisfies my craving.

Guess what? All these ingredients below can be found at your local grocery store. The hot chili paste and sesame oil will be found in the Asian food section. You can make this tonight!

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Red chili paste (Gochujang), apple cider vinegar, spinach, zucchini, carrot, mushrooms, tofu, garlic, sesame oil, vegetable oil, rice.

I like to lay out my ingredients like this to show you (and me) that the recipe is manageable.  It’s like a little boost of encouragement to tell us we can handle it.

The hardest part about making this dish is the chopping. It takes time to cut the vegetables into “matchstick” sized pieces. Otherwise it’s so easy.

Tofu Bibimbap

Serves 4

  • 6 cups Cooked Rice (I like multigrain or brown best and short grain ideal but not required)
  • 2 Zucchini (medium)
  • 1lb Spinach (this will wilt to 1/6 size once blanched)
  • 3 Carrots (medium)
  • 10 Mushroom Caps (crimini, white, or shiitake)
  • 1lb Tofu Extra Firm (found in yogurt and cheese section)
  • 2 tsp Garlic (minced)
  • Sesame oil
  • Vegetable or Canola oil

Gochujang sauce 

  • 3 Tbs Gochujang or Korean Red Chili Paste
  • 3 Tbs Apple Cider vinegar (this ingredient thins out the paste and gives the sauce a great finish)

Instructions

Rice

If you don’t have a rice cooker, you may want to buy pre-cooked frozen rice to save time. If you do have a rice cooker, considering making multi-grain rice or brown rice to make this dish even more healthy. Use a little less water than usual so the rice is a bit dry, as bibimbap rice shouldn’t be too soft.

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Multi-grain rice

Vegetables

Cut the zucchini into match sticks. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to sweat out the liquid. Drain off liquid.

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It was a bit cumbersome when I cut into matchsticks, so the 2nd time I made this dish, I used the widest side blade on my grater. It was so fast! Shape is round but that is fine.  Key is to be fairly thin so it cooks quickly. If you want it in smaller pieces, you can cut it after grating.

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Took about 30 seconds to grate 1 zucchini.

Blanch the spinach in salted boiling water. Drain and shock in cold water. Squeeze out the water. Toss with 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

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cooked spinach

Heat a pan with a teaspoon of oil. Add the zucchini and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Sauté for 2 – 3 minutes over medium high heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Set aside.

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cooked zucchini

Grate the carrots long ways to make thin matchstick sized pieces. If you don’t have a grater, cut them- but this will take forever because carrots are hard to cut. Or… pick up a bag of already shredded carrots which will save you at least 10 minutes!

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Heat the pan again with a teaspoon of oil. Sauté the carrots for 1 – 2 minutes over medium high heat until slightly softened. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

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Remove the stems off the mushrooms and cut into 1/4-inch thin slices. Sauté in pan with 1/2 teaspoon of oil for 2 – 3 minutes over medium high heat.

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Cut the tofu into about 3/4-inch cubes, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Heat the pan with a tablespoon of oil and pan-fry the tofu until all sides are golden. Try not to flip until golden crust forms.

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Serve

Place a serving of rice in a bowl. Arrange a small amount of each prepared vegetable over the rice and top with tofu. Drizzle a 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.

Serve with the red pepper paste sauce.

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Can you believe how easy this bibimbap dish is and how healthy? If you want to make it for the family, you can choose the veggies the kids will eat and add steak (flank steak or rib-eye) to this dish in place of tofu! You can add chicken, seafood or eggs too but I think beef is the best complement for this dish. Many kids like edamame, so that could be a good option too. Let me know how it turns out for you! And if you like Korean food, you will LOVE my Kimchee Fried Rice Post.

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.