Bibimbop, which roughly translates to “mix it up,” is essentially a rice bowl that you can adorn with whatever toppings you like. It’s a great vehicle for leftovers—a veritable ‘kitchen sink’ kind-of meal. The key is the Spicy Miso Sauce, which ties all the various parts together.

    Serves: 4
    Time: Anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, depending on what you have available.

    • 4 cups cooked short grain brown rice
    • Spicy Miso Sauce (see recipe below)
    • Burdock & Carrot Kinpira (see recipe above)
    • about 4 cups of various cooked vegetables (we used: sautéed zucchini and beans sprouts with ginger and garlic blanched broccolini; blanched baby bok choy; and sautéed shitake mushrooms with sesame oil, ginger and garlic)
    • 1 block firm tofu, drained, sliced and lightly fried (or prepare it anyway you like)
    • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds
    • 1 large sheet nori seaweed, shredded
    • 1 cup prepared kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage)

    Distribute the rice amongst four bowls. Allow everyone to add whatever toppings they like and then bibimbop it—mix it all up!

    Burdock & Carrot Kinpira

    Kinpira refers to a Japanese cooking style of braising vegetables, typically root vegetables, and often a combination of carrot and burdock. Burdock is a tenacious root that’s especially good for your liver and blood. It’s often available in farmers’ markets in the fall. If you can’t find burdock, any combination of hearty vegetables will work—try carrots, parsnips and onions, or even carrots and beets.

    Serves: 4
    Time: 20 minutes

    • 2 tablespoons of avocado, unrefined sesame or vegetable oil, plus more if necessary
    • 1 burdock root, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks (thinly slice on the bias, line up the pieces like soldiers and cut crosswise), kept in a bowl of cold water if you’re not cooking it immediately
    • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks as per the burdock
    • about 2/3 cup prepared dashi or water
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
    • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or sugar)
    • one 1" knob of ginger, peeled and grated
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

    Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Drain the burdock and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Adjust the heat so that it’s high enough for the burdock to sizzle, but not so high that it scorches. Add a bit of oil, if necessary, to keep the burdock from sticking. After 5 minutes of stir-frying, add the carrot and enough dashi or water to come half way up the vegetables (about 2/3 cup, depending on the size of your pan). Bring the mixture to a boil, stir in the soy, mirin and agave, cover with a drop lid (a lid that’s slightly smaller than the pan so that it sits directly on top of the vegetables), and turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the lid, turn the heat to high and cook until the vegetables are glazed, about 2 minutes. Put the kinpira on a plate and squeeze over the grated ginger—essentially you are ‘seasoning’ the kinpira with the ginger juice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Spicy Miso Sauce

    This versatile sauce is also great with roasted duck or chicken, or even spread on top of a salmon or tuna burger.

    Serves: Makes about a cup of sauce
    Time: About 5 minutes

    • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
    • 1/2 cup red miso
    • 1/2 cup real Vermont maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
    • hot pepper sesame oil to taste

    Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and five-spice powder and cook for about 30 seconds or until wonderfully fragrant. Whisk in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil and cook, whisking or stirring constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Season to taste with hot pepper sesame oil—go as spicy as you like! Let the sauce cool before using. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.

    Video by Mary Wigmore
    Music by John Gold

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