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People have fond memories of friends and families, trips they’ve taken, places they’ve been, I do the same with food. Every place I’ve been, I recall reservable food items I’ve had there. I think food memory adds an extra dimension of remembrance about a place or event. My first memory of Dolsot Bibimbap, a Korean dish consisting of rice mixed with seasoned vegetables, egg, and beef over a hot stone pot, was in Dallas.

Dallas has a huge Korean population, mainly students that went to local colleges like UNT, and in northwest Dallas, there is an area that’s deemed as K-town, where there are Korean BBQ places, Korean groceries, and Korean Spas. The food in K-town Dallas is very authentic, and is just as good as Korean food I’ve had in Seoul.

Bibimbap means “mixed rice”, and Dolsot means ” stone pot”. The stone pot acts both as a cooking pot as well as a serving dish for the Bibimbap. The pot is heated up with all the cooked vegetable and rice arranged nicely, and at some point, the rice on the bottom will start getting browned and crackly, which is when you will take the pot off from heat, and stir the ingredients vigorously to mix. Traditionally, a raw egg is stirred in so that the hot stone pot will cook it while its being stirred. The mixture is also topped with gochujang, a spicy red soy bean and chili paste. The browned bits of rice in the bottom adds a crunchy texture to the dish. It’s such a fun dish to eat.

The components in this dish are adaptable to your tastes and diet, add a little meat if you want, or skip it and make the dish vegetarian, or skip the egg if you want it to be vegan. You can also add additional vegetables that you like, but in most Bibimbaps I’ve had, spinach, carrots, zucchini, bean sprouts, and gosari ( bracken fern). Gosari can be found in Asian groceries, some are packed in resealable bags in water in the refrigerated section, others are dehydrated and can be found in the dry goods aisle.

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Everything is cooked before they are placed in the stone pot. The leftover vegetables can also be used as Namul, which are small plates of sides or condiments that are present in everyday Korean dinner, usually served at room temperature. When I make the vegetable for the Bibimbap, I make extras of my favorites and use them as Namul.

All the vegetables are cooked basically the same way. The vegetables are washed and cut, then they are either sautéed or flash boiled ( spinach). Then they are seasoned with salt, pepper and sesame seeds. The vegetables can be made ahead of time and kept at room temperature until they are ready to be used.

For the squash, I sliced them and sprinkled salt over the pieces and let it stood for 5 minutes to get rid of extra moisture.

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The squash slices are squeezed of excess water, and sautéed in a pan on medium heat with a little bit of sesame oil, and some chopped garlic.

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Cook until the squash is tender about 3-4 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

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For bean sprouts, a pot of water is brought to a boil, then the sprouts are added to the pot, and cooked until tender, about 2 minutes.

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Remove the sprouts with a slotted spoon and let cool. Keep the water boiling for the spinach. Season the sprouts with salt, pepper, sesame seeds, chopped garlic, and minced scallions.

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Place spinach into the boiling water, and cook for about 30-40 seconds.

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Drain the spinach and squeeze the spinach to get rid of excess water. Chop into 1 inch segment, and season with sesame oil, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds.

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For the Gosari, sauté in a pan over medium heat with a little sesame oil, chopped garlic, and a teaspoonful of light soy sauce for about 4 minutes until heated through.

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I did the same for julienned carrots, but I didn’t take any photos.

I also made a pickled daikon dish. Daikon is Asian white turnip, but it’s got a very distinct flavor, kind of like horseradish, but without the punch.

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I peeled the daikon and julienned it, then sprinkled salt over it to extract water. After about 15 minutes, quite a lot of water had collected on the bottom of the bowl.

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Squeeze the daikon to get rid of excess water, then season with salt, pepper, Korean chili flakes, and minced scallions.

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For the beef, usually you can use minced beef, but I had some short rib meat left, which I marinaded in sesame oil, soy sauce, chili flakes, salt, pepper, scallions and garlic.

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I cooked the beef in a hot pan, searing both sides slightly. Remove from heat and set aside u til ready to be used.

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To assemble the Bibimbap, place a few cups of cooked short grain rice in the bottom of the stone pot.

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Place the vegetables and meat neatly in a circle in the bowl atop the rice, I like to alternate the colors of the vegetables. Place the bowl on top of the stove and cook on high heat until you start hearing the rice on the bottom pop, 8-10 minutes. Carefully remove from heat.

Place a cooked sunny side up egg, or a raw whole egg on top of the hot bowl, and season with seaweed flakes.

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Serve with Namul and Korean hot pepper chili paste ( gochujang). To eat, stir the hot rice, the vegetables, the meat, and the eggs together, season to taste with gochujang. If using a raw egg, the hot stone pot will scramble it as you stir. You will get little bits of everything, including crunchy bits of browned rice on the bottom. And if you want more of one type of ingredient, there is always extra Namul.

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