It is said that bibimbop was originally served after ceremonies to honor one's ancestors. when bits and pieces from ritual offerings would be mixed with freshly cooked hot rice. This vegetarian version comes from the city of Chonju in southwest Korea, and it can be prepared with or without the eggs.
Have all the ingredients prepared and assembled by the time the rice finishes cooking. if the rice does cool down, cover it with plastic wrap and reheat it in a microwave oven for 3 to 4 minutes.
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One 8-inch-square nori (dried seaweed), cut into thin strips with scissors
2 large eggs (optional)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Korean Chili Sauce
How to Make It
Steam the spinach until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain, squeeze dry and chop coarsely.
In a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the bean sprouts for 30 seconds. Drain and refresh the bean sprouts under cold running water; pat dry.
Put the bean sprouts, spinach, carrot, zucchini and shiitakes in separate small bowls; toss each vegetable with 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
In a small skillet, stir-fry each vegetable separately (except the spinach) over moderate heat; the carrot, zucchini and bean sprouts should stay crisp and the shiitakes should be tender. Decoratively arrange the cooked vegetables, lettuce, scallions and nori in small bowls or in piles on a platter.
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Crack in the eggs and fry them, sunny side up. Meanwhile, reheat the rice if necessary.
Bring the rice to the table with the vegetables and the fried eggs. Toss the rice with the eggs first, to break them up, then add all of the vegetables and the toasted sesame seeds. Stir in about 2 tablespoons of Korean Chili Sauce and mix lightly but thoroughly. Season with salt and serve at once.
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