I love saying “bibimbap”, that wonderful Korean soup like thing with kind of a hipster sounding name. The first time I tasted it must have been twenty years ago in a Korean restaurant in Tempe, AZ named Arisoo. The chef owner was another LA homeboy. He grew up in LA’s Korea Town. LA guys and girls kind of recognize each other on sight when they are away from home. Anyway, the chef showed me how to mix the egg into my bibimbap, and was it ever good! This recipe is kind of the deconstructionist version in tribute to my Korean American heroes, David Chang, Roy Choi and Sang Yoon.
Where I’m deviating (and I am a deviant) is that I’m turning won ton skins into pappardelle noodles---the “pap” and it really does work. The traditional bibimbap calls for a fried runny egg. I prefer to poach the egg. Bibimbap is served in a screaming hot stone bowl. If you don’t have a supply of screaming hot stone bowls don’t worry this still works in warmed bowls. Note; to prepare this does take some nimble synchronization.
2 but can be expanded
1 bunch fresh spinach (not the pre-washed and bagged stuff unless you would like to get friendly with E-coli)
About ten won ton wrappers (save the rest)
About 5 ounces packaged firm tofu, cubed
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon gochujang*, or substitute sambal olek if you must
Sesame chile oil
1 tablespoon sesame seed
Gochugaru (Korean meth)** or substitute Spanish pimenton or other aromatic pepper
Start a large pot of water boiling for your won ton pappardelle
Wash and then blanch spinach for no more than a minute. Drain and dry in paper towel. Chop.
Take your won ton wrappers out and carefully separate. Roll them loosely and then using a sharp knife cut across the roll so that you have pappardelle that are about 1 inch in width. It’s a broad noodle.
In a wok or cast iron pan heat up the peanut oil and chile oil. Saute the carrots and garlic but don’t allow to burn.
Add the tofu cubes and stir together along with the gochujang.
Add some gochugaru to taste along with the sesame seeds.
Add the chopped spinach and a good splash of soy sauce.
Meanwhile---yes, here comes the dreaded “meanwhile” step---warm your bowls and poach the eggs according to your preferred method.
Add the pappardelle to your now boiling water. They will cook up in about one minute.
Spoon out the spinach and tofu mix into bowls and add drained noodles. Everything should be hot. Top each bowl with a poached egg. Each diner then stirs the egg into their own portion.
*Note to cook gochujang can be hard to find; essentially it’s a soy bean paste cranked up with hot pepper. As per instructions, sambal can be substituted. There are other Chinese style pepper garlic mixtures as well.
**Gochugaru is even harder to find if you are not hanging out with Koreans. It has a wonderful fragrance. I was delighted when I first opened a package sent to me by a Korean friend.
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.