This month, Minnesota Spoon’s Steve Hoffman joined Eddie Wu of Cook St. Paul in the gardens of Urban Roots. After picking fresh vegetables, Wu assembled his version of bibimbap, the classic Korean “mix-rice” bowl.
Read this month’s Minnesota Spoon story here.
Here, Eddie’s gives us his Bi Bim Bop recipe. It’s a fusion of hot and cold bibimbap topped with marinated, fried tofu.
Eddie Wu’s Bi Bim Bop
2 packs extra firm tofu
4 cups chopped romaine hearts
4 rice balls, deep fried (see instructions below)
4 eggs, poached
Selection of seasonal veggies, chopped
Tofu marinade, below
Toasted sesame seeds
Hot sauce (optional)
Makes 1 cup
1 ounce sesame oil
3 ounces tamari
1 ounce honey (Wu prefers wildflower)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 ounces granulated sugar
1 ounce Korean pepper flakes (gochugaru)
3 ounces green onions (chopped into ¼-inch pieces)
Dash of Vietnamese pepper powder, or similar, to desired heat level.
Mix marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
Cut plastic off tofu packs and drain out liquid. Cut each tofu block into 10 evenly sized batons. Set aside to allow further draining. (Wu suggests a standard dinner plate, propped at a slight angle with a towel underneath to catch the draining liquid.)
Heat oil in a pan to 350 degrees, enough to cover the tofu about ¾ of the way (any neutral cooking oil will work). Put as much tofu as you can fit in the pan. Let tofu fry until you can see it start to brown about a ¼ of the way up the side (maybe 3–5 minutes). Flip the tofu over and let it fry until it looks like it has totally browned (it is all right if it is a lighter hue in the middle). The tofu should be slightly crisp, not crunchy.
Pull tofu out and set it on a paper towel to allow some of the oil to drain off. Fry any remaining tofu. (Leftover tofu can be stored in the fridge for about a week.)
Make a bed of chopped romaine hearts in the bottom of the bowls, about 1 cup each.
Place a fried ball of rice on top of the romaine. (Wu uses six ounces of rice with toasted sesame seeds mixed in, formed into a ball, then deep fried for 3–5 minutes.)
Place 4–6 different veggie options evenly spaced inside the bowl around the rice ball. (Wu: “The idea is that you can have several different ingredients that will create one flavor profile when mixed together. So we make sure that our veggie selection is balanced with sweet, spicy, savory, and funky—kimchi—in order to not have the flavor unbalanced when it is mixed together.)
Toss tofu batons in the marinade, and place five batons in each bowl.
Place a lightly poached egg on top of the rice ball.
Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, and add Cook St. Paul Korean hot sauce as liberally as desired.