Korean bibimbap bento lunch box recipe

I love looking at bento boxes on Pinterest and Instagram. Photos of delicious and creative bento always make me want to create my own. So during my chemo days, I decided to give it a try and made this simple Korean bibimbap bento box. Surprisingly it turned out to be one of Mr. Chau’s favourite dishes!

If you’re not familiar with bibmibap, it’s a Korean rice bowl dish where steamed rice is topped with various sautéed and seasoned vegetables and/or protein. Usually, hot pepper paste or hot sauce is added, but you can omit this if you don’t like spicy food. Before you eat, you’re supposed to mix all everything together. So every bite will have a little bit of everything. Yum!

Korean bibimbap bento lunch box recipe - Ingredients

Ingredients for the Bibimbap Bento

I believe the foundation of a delicious bibimbap bento is the vegetables! It provides colour, flavour, and texture. For my bibimbap bento recipe, I used 3 different vegetables: shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and spinach. Other vegetables you could try are bean sprouts, cabbage, kimchi, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peppers, and zucchini.

For protein, I used beef. You can substitute it chicken, pork, tofu or other plant-based proteins. If you order bibimbap at restaurants, it will usually come with a fried egg on top. Because fried eggs could potentially explode when re-heated in the microwave, I usually leave omit it or use shredded eggs instead.

If you choose to use vegetables with different colours, you will get a very colourful lunch box! I’m not sure about you but colourful food increases my appetite! So when I introduced this dish to Mr. Chau, I called it “5 Colours Bento” (五色便當)!

Korean bibimbap bento lunch box recipe

Making the Bibimbap Bento

Cooking the bibimbap bento can be time-consuming since each ingredient or topping is cooked separately. That’s why prep work is so important, especially for this recipe. Chop all your ingredients and prepare the marinade before you start will allow you to streamline the cooking process. If you are doing a meal plan and want to maximize your prep time further, double the recipe. I use the same ingredients from this bibimbap recipe for making my gimbap and onigirazu. This means you can cook one set of ingredients once and make 3 different dishes!

Ready to start cooking? Let’s go!

Korean bibimbap bento lunch box recipe
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Simple Korean Bibimbap Bento Lunch Box

With assorted vegetables, beef and gochujang sauce, this simple bibimbap bento is a tasty and colourful meal!

Course: Main
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 3 people
Author: Jan Chan
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large carrot, julienned
  • 350g beef, sliced (buy pre-sliced beef for shabu shabu or bulgogi)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3-4 servings of cooked rice
Seasoning for Beef:
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ground pepper, to taste
Seasoning for Shiitake Mushrooms:
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ground pepper, to taste
Seasoning for Spinach:
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
Gochujang Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp gochujang
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Marinate the beef using the beef seasoning ingredients. Let marinate for 15 - 20 minutes.

  2. Marinate the mushroom using the mushroom seasoning ingredients. Let marinate for 10 - 15 minutes.

  3. Blanch spinach in a pot of boiling water. Immediately add them to an ice bath (or bowl of cold water) to stop the cooking process. If using cold water, you'll need to change the water several times to bring the temperature down. Once cooled, squeeze out as much water as you can from the spinach and add it to a bowl. Add in the spinach seasoning ingredients and mix well.

  4. In a nonstick pan, cook beaten eggs into a large omelet. Let cool to room temperature then slice into thin strips.

  5. In the same pan, saute the carrots until soft, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  6. In the same pan, cook the mushrooms. Set aside.

  7. In the same pan, cook the beef, in batches if necessary. Set aside.

Assemble the Bento or Bibimbap:
  1. To assemble the bibimbap, put rice in a bowl and top it with spinach, mushrooms, eggs, carrots, and beef. Add some gochujang sauce to taste.

Recipe Notes

Check out my recipe for gimbap or onigirasu which uses the same ingredients!

 

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