Healthy Eating Tips
I’m sick of pasta. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing more satisfying after a long day of work than grabbing a box of mac and cheese out of the cupboard. But I haven’t been at work. I have been at home trying to curb my inclination to snack on everything not hidden or tied down. Being stuck at home without my coworkers Family has put me into a bit of a rut; I know they would all want me, and us, to get back into healthy habits! So I want something different. Something full of vegetables– something just as satisfying as mac and cheese without the dairy coma at the far end of it. Maybe kneading bread or a home made pasta dough would also showcase my RMT abilities but I want to feel good physically and about my healthy choices at the end of this meal.
Korean food is here for us. One of the draws for me personally, is that no Korean recipe has ever told me to only use one clove of garlic. The amount of garlic in my heart is already in the recipe. On top of that, the pure volume of vegetables in any given dish is enormous and versatile.All of this culminates in a healthy meal that makes me feel great. All of this culminates with Bibimbap. Bibimbap is a veggie/rice/meat dish and at heart is a classic ‘whatever is in the fridge’ style food. Combined with the spicy sauce to go on top it hits all the boxes of healthy, delicious and easy to make.
My favourite rendition of Bibimbap uses beef as a protein and I make the sauce thick and very spicy. This is all up to personal preference, though! You can use tofu or mushrooms as your protein and make a few different topping sauces. I have never had a version of this that turned out poorly.
What you need for two people:
- 1 cup jasmine or short grain rice
- 1 carrot
- 4 nappa cabbage leaves
- 3 shiitake mushrooms (fresh or rehydrated)
- ½ pack of enoki mushrooms
- ½ red bell pepper
- 1 mini cucumber or ½ english cucumber
- Bok choy
- Mung bean or soy bean sprouts
- Green onion
Protein and Marinade:
- ½ lb beef
- 2tbsp soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic,minced
- ¼ inch ginger, minced
- 1 tsp honey or brown sugar
- 1tbsp sesame oil
- 5 tbsp gochujang pepper paste
- 1tsbp apple cider vinegar
- 1tbsp sesame oil
- 1 clove of garlic,minced
- 1tsp sugar (optional)
- 2 eggs
- Frying pan
- Rice cooker or pot
- A cool stone (dolsot) or clay (ttukbaegi) pot for crisping the rice (optional)
Not appearing in today’s dish:
Non-spicy sauce option:
- 5tbsp soy sauce
- 1tbsp sesame oil
- 2tsp korean miso paste (optional)
- 2tsp sugar
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Sesame seeds
Other good vegetable additions:
- Spinach (blanched)
- Gosari (bracken fern)
- Green cabbage
- Any other mushroom you like
Written out like this it looks like a lot, but it comes together quickly!
Step one if you are rehydrating shiitake mushrooms is to get them in warm water a few hours beforehand. If you’re doing this here, you might as well throw together your spicy topping sauce at this point because all sauces taste better after sitting for a bit. If mincing sucks use a microplane to grate the garlic– it’s fast!
Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar/honey, garlic and ginger. Cut the beef into ribbons against the grain and mix into the marinade. Cover and set aside.
Make the rice and set it aside.
Now it’s time to julienne your vegetables! Julienne sounds fancy but it means cut them into sticks. I make separate piles for each veggie; carrot matchsticks, sliced baby bok choy, red pepper matchsticks, sliced shiitake,enoki, sliced cabbage. Cut the cucumber into thin rounds.
Give yourself a nice break from chopping and make sure to do a forearm and hand stretch! I also tend to massage the meaty part of my forearm after a bit of chopping. We have to stay limber for the eating part, later!
Heat the frying pan on a medium heat and add a bit of oil. Add the veggies separately and once they are tender-crisp take them out. I like to add things in by order of what cooks slowest to fastest.
With the veggies I am using now I would put in and take out the carrots, shiitake, enoki, bok choy, red pepper, nappa cabbage, cucumber and finally the bean sprouts. The bok choy and bean sprouts are more delicate than some of the other vegetables so put a few tablespoons of water in to steam them in the pan instead of frying.
Now cook your beef!
To assemble the bibimbap without a stone or clay pot, put the rice in the bottom of the bowl and place the vegetables around the top with the beef in the centre.
Traditionally, the egg is put raw on top of the steaming rice bowl, but you can fry your egg and put it on top. Bring out the topping sauce and serve!
To crisp the rice in a stone or clay bowl, put the bowl and a bit of sesame oil on the stovetop on a medium heat. Add the rice and wait until it starts to crackle. Turn off the heat and add the veggies and beef on top. Add the egg raw/fried egg and serve! Don’t be afraid to mix all the ingredients together!
So you have a whole bag of bean sprouts and only needed a handful for this recipe.
Don’t worry! You can make a fast and delicious side dish with them! Fill a medium sized pot with water and a bit of salt and bring it to a boil. Dump the rest of the bag of bean sprouts in and stir so they are all submerged. Once the water is boiling, take the sprouts out and run under cold water until they are chilled. Drain them and pat off some of the excess water. Dress them with salt and sesame oil and you have a classic korean side dish!
Coming out of a rut like this makes me remember my own body awareness that I talk about with my clients. Knowing what kinds of foods make me feel overtired and sleepy and which make me feel good and energized is a similar skillset it is to recognizing when my body is in pain and how. If we have convinced you to try making Bibimbap, check in with yourself after your meal and figure out how it makes your body feel.
Nilou completed her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from UBC. She is registered Dietitian with 19 years’ experience, and is passionate about helping people with digestive and other chronic health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight management that can impact one’s life.
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