Mixed rice with vegetables and beef

“It is hard not to fall in love with bibimbap. The bed of pearly white rice adorned with a ring of colourful vegetables and beef, and a bright yellow egg the shining star in the centre. It is almost hypnotic.

Like a lot of Korean dishes, individual ingredients are plated up beautifully so you can fully appreciate each one, and then, with gleeful abandon, you madly mix everything together. The possibilities for toppings are endless, so feel free to use your favourite ingredients — spinach and onion also work very well.”

Serves 4

400g short-grain white rice

For the marinated beef
300g beef sirloin, very thinly sliced
2½ tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp roasted sesame seed oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 spring onions, very finely chopped
½ tsp ground black pepper

150g carrots, cut into very thin strips
300g courgette, quartered lengthways and thinly sliced
150g cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and thinly sliced
150g daikon radish, peeled and cut into thin strips
150g bean sprouts
200g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
300g spinach
4 eggs
Roasted sesame seed oil, to season
Soy sauce, to season
Sunflower or vegetable oil, to fry
Toasted sesame seeds, to serve
Few leaves of salad cress, to serve

Gochujang sauce
3 tbsp gochujang chilli paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup

In a bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, mix the ingredients for the beef marinade, add the sliced beef, cover and set aside for 30-60 min.

2. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions or as the recipe. Keep warm. Meanwhile, fill a large pan with water and bring it to a rolling boil. One by one, blanch the carrots, courgette, cucumber and radish for 1 min and the bean sprouts for 2½ min. Use a slotted spoon or sieve to remove them from the water and drain fully. Season each vegetable with ½ a tsp of roasted sesame seed oil and soy sauce, keeping the vegetables separate at all times.

3. Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a pan. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry over a high heat for 4-5 min until softened. Remove from the pan and season with ½ a tsp of roasted sesame seed oil and soy sauce.

4. In the same pan, add the spinach and sprinkle over 2 tsp of water. Fry over a high heat for a few min, stirring all the time, until the spinach has wilted. Remove the spinach, squeeze out excess water and season as before with the ½ tsp of roasted sesame seed oil and soy sauce. In Korea, these vegetables are served at room temperature so don’t worry about keeping them warm.

5. In the same pan, add the marinated beef. Stir-fry over a high heat for 3-5 min, until the sauce has reduced and the meat is cooked through. In a clean frying pan, fry the eggs to your liking.

6. Serve the hot rice in 4 individual bowls. Place 1 egg on to the centre of the rice, then arrange the vegetables and meat around it. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds and salad cress and serve with the gochujang sauce. Start with a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce and mix everything well. Add more gochujang sauce to taste.