I absolutely adore Korean food. I love the BBQs, the rice, the stews, the kimchi, the banchan… you get the drift. Basically everything and anything on the menu. But ever since I have gone plant strong, the only thing I order at a Korean restaurant is Bimbimbap (without the meat and egg).
However, with the heavy hand of sesame oil and large serving of white rice, sometimes even having a plant strong meal like Bimbimbap leaves me wondering if I can make it healthier. Without compromising on the taste, of course.
And that is how this oil-free, grain-free Bimbimbap was born. Without the use of sesame oil, this oil-free vegan Bimbimbap may seem and look bland. But I assure you that it isn’t, thanks to the Korean chili paste.
The best thing about this vegan oil and grain free Bimbimbap is that it is not only tasty, but it will also have you eating all your vegetables without you realising it!
Vegan Bimbimbap (Grain and Oil free)
Like the original non-vegan Bimbimbap, this recipe is a little tedious in the sense that the ingredients are to be cooked separately. If you have a large frying pan, you can dry fry the vegetables at the same time in the same pan, without letting them mix. Same goes for the steamed vegetables.
This taste best with a generous dollop of hot paste, but if you don’t take spicy well (this is mildly spicy), go lighter on the chili paste and add more garlic and sesame seeds to compensate for the taste. You can also add a drop or two of sesame oil for extra fragrance if you wish.
1 string of long bean (30 grams), chopped into 1/5″ or 0.5cm pieces
1 small handful of spinach leaves and stems, cut into 3-4″ or 10cm in length
1/2 medium carrot, julienned
1½ cups (150g or 12-15 pieces) grey oyster mushroom, minced* + 3 medium (30grams) grey oyster mushroom, sliced
3 fresh wood ear fungus, core removed and thinly sliced**
1 chickpea omelet, sliced (recipe below)
1/4 cup or 50g marinated tofu, cubed (recipe here)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ - 1 tsp soy sauce (use less if your soy sauce is very salty, mine isn’t)
½ – 1 tbsp Korean hot chili paste
sesame seeds, for garnish (black or white, toasted, if preferred)
1. Steam the long beans, spinach and carrots separately until just cooked. Or you can leave the carrots raw if you wish, as I did. (It provides more crunch and texture)
2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Saute the 1½ cups of minced oyster mushrooms and garlic for about 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms soften and most of the moisture has been absorbed. Set aside. This will be your “rice”.
3. Using the same pan, saute the remaining grey oyster mushrooms. When the mushrooms start to sweat, add 1/4 tsp of soy sauce and continue to saute for another minute. Set aside.
4. Again using the same pan, saute the wood ear fungus. When the fungus softens, add 1/4 tsp of soy sauce and continue to cook for another minute. Set aside.
5. To serve, place the minced oyster mushroom “rice” in a bowl. Place the long beans, spinach, carrots, sliced grey oyster mushrooms, wood ear fungus, chickpea omelet and cubed tofu in a circle over the “rice”. Put the Korean chili paste in the middle of the vegetable circle and garnish with some sesame seeds.
6. To eat, mix the hell out of everything and dig in with a spoon!
For the chickpea omelet:
2 tbsp chickpea (gram) flour
2 tbsp water
a pinch of black salt
a generous pinch of turmeric powder and garlic powder (approx. slightly <1/8 tsp each)
1. Place the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add the water and mix thoroughly.
2. Heat a non-stick pan or lightly oiled pan over medium heat. Spoon the mixture onto the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the middle of the omelet is quite set. Flip and cook for another 4 minutes on the other side. Set aside.
*If you wish to use rice, replace the minced mushrooms with 1 cup of cooked rice. Skip step 2 and add the garlic when sauteing the oyster mushrooms and wood ear fungus instead.
** You can use re-hydrated dried wood ear fungus if you can’t find fresh ones. You can also substitute this with bean sprouts – but try not overcook the bean sprouts when sauteing to leave a bit of bite and texture.