“Snakes. I hate snakes.” The 2013 Year of the Snake begins on February 10th. In celebration, I thought I’d prepare one of my favourite Asian dishes. It’s simple to make, very nutritious, and snakes are not included in the list of ingredients. Bibimbap (PEE-bim-pap) is a popular signature dish in Korea. The word literally means “mixed rice.” Bibimbap is served as a large bowl of warm white rice topped with cooked vegetables and Gochujang (chili paste). An egg, cooked over easy, and bulgogi (seasoned sliced beef) are common additions. The ingredients are mixed together just before eating. Serve with Kimchee (spicy fermented vegetables) and Sriracha (hot pepper sauce).

Prep time
Cook time
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Serves: 6
  • 2-4 cups steamed white rice
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 6 ounces bean sprouts, cooked in a little sesame oil
  • 1 pound spinach, cooked in a little sesame oil
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced and sauteed in peanut oil and seasoned with salt
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled, diced, and steamed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  1. Place steamed rice in a large bowl. Place meat and vegetables on top of rice but place separately so you can see each beautiful ingredient.
  2. Place egg on top.
  3. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce. Add more sesame oil, soy sauce, and gochuchang paste to taste.
I used these vegetables since I had them on hand, but you can use any type of vegetable you'd like. Be creative! Gochujang is available at most Asian markets. Kimchee is available in most Asian markets. For bulgogi, marinade ½ pound beef (sliced thin) in ½ cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, ½ onion, sliced, 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 1 tablespoon ground red pepper, 2 green onions, thinly sliced. Marinate overnight. Heat grill to high and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set aside until ready to compile bibimbap. Place beef in freezer for about 30 minutes so that it is easier to thinly slice.

plated bim

Pair this flavourful dish with Makgeolli (rice wine). It is an alcoholic beverage native to Korea. It has a milky, off-white colour, and sweetness. It was originally popular among farmers, however, it has recently started to become more popular in cities, especially with the younger generations. You may also want to keep a bottle of Hite (Korean beer) on hand for those not interested in trying the Makgeolli.

Movie Night suggestion: The possibilities are endless! Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones (he hates snakes). The archeologist and adventurer is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. Second suggestion on my list is King Kong (1933) where the snake of Skull Island had huevos big enough to attack a giant ape! Brilliant scene. Third film up is Snakes on a Plane (2006). An FBI agent (Samuel L. Jackson) takes on a plane full of deadly snakes deliberately released to kill a witness being flown from Honolulu to Los Angeles to testify against a mob boss. Hilarious, mothercusser!