Monday, July 27, 2009

Bibimbap with Salmon and Spinach

This recipe for Bibimbap, rice with salmon and spinach, has been in heavy rotation in my kitchen for almost a year now, since a NY Times article on the joys of rice cookers. The article made rice cookers sound so tempting that I ran out and bought one. You can get them for very cheap at places like Target, though there are also fancy versions. I got a large, basic one, and it's really great-- does excellent rice every time, and also acts as a slow cooker. This can also be made without a rice cooker, and I've improvised on it and taken a few liberties, so it's not fully authentically Korean, but the essential ingredient is kimchi, pickled cabbage. Our grocery store has it and it can also be found at stores like Whole Foods and Asian supermarkets.

Rice Cooker Bibimbap with Salmon and Spinach

10 ounces leaf spinach, fresh or frozen
Roasted sesame oil
Rice vinegar
Salt & pepper
8 ounces salmon filet, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1 1/2 to 2 cups rice, medium or short grain, rinsed
5 Tblsp. kimchi, finely chopped
4 eggs
Sriracha (should be an authentic chili paste called Kochuj ang, but I don't like it as much)

Steam spinach in rice cooker steamer basket (with an inch of water below, boiling), or simply saute it until it just wilts. Drain and squeeze excess moisture out, season with salt, pepper, sesame oil and rice vinegar.

Seam salmon in top steamer basket of rice cooker, about 15 minutes. (Without a rice cooker, you could saute, quickly broil, or steam some other way).

Clean out cooker. Rinse rice a few times until water is no longer chalky. Add rice to cooker and cook with a bit of salt. (Here you could just make rice separately).

When timer goes off and rice is done, stir in kimchi, scraping bottom of rice cooker. Smooth top. Drizzle 4 tsp. sesame oil over rice, gently break eggs on top, one on each side of cooker. Cover, press "cook" on rice cooker again for 8-10 minutes. (Without a rice cooker, in a large pot, you could arrange everything and steam the eggs).

Switch rice cooker to warm, arrange salmon and spinach next to eggs, cover, and steam until egg whites turn white, yolks will still be runny. Place 2 tsps. chili paste in center, mix everything up. Serve.

I like to keep the rice cooker on because it makes a nice crust on the bottom of the rice. Serves 4.