Food and Drink

The perfect post-holiday dish, bibimbap is both vessel for leftovers and a healthy new year meal

Bibimbap, which literally translates to “mixed rice,” is a bowl of rice that can be topped with almost anything. For home cooks, bibimbap usually means, “let’s get rid of all the leftovers.” It’s perfect for this time of year, when we want to lighten things up, maybe go a little more austere in the way of eating. If you’re into auspicious foods, add a combo of cooked and raw greens such as collard, spinach, mustard, kale and some black-eyed peas. Let your creative juices flow and try everything from leftover meatballs and smoked fish to leftover turkey, ham, and all types of vegetables. Serve with a gochujang vinaigrette or your favorite chile sauce. And top it off with a crispy-edged fried egg for a sunny side-up taste to the new year.

Rice bibimbap bowl

Makes 2 servings

4 dried shiitake or other favorite mushrooms, or fresh mushrooms

2 to 3 cups cooked rice, preferably short or medium grain

2 large eggs, cooked sunny side-up

Optional toppings: sautéed spinach topped with garlic and sesame oil; sautéed greens — kale, mustard, collard — and raw greens, thinly sliced; mushrooms; leftover roast meat, chicken; raw or leftover roasted or smoked fish; bean sprouts; radishes; and more.

For serving: gochujang vinaigrette — see recipe below; chile sauce; sliced green onion; drizzle sesame oil or extra-virgin olive oil; fresh lemon; low-sodium soy sauce; sesame oil; ponzu sauce.


• If using dried mushrooms, soak in hot water, top with a small plate or lid so they are fully submerged; let steep about 30 minutes. Drain and slice thinly; set aside. If using fresh, slice thinly; set aside. Season mushrooms with a dash of low-sodium soy sauce and sesame oil. Divide the cooked rice evenly among two bowls. Top with assorted vegetables, sunny side-up eggs, and serve with gochujang vinaigrette.

For the gochujang vinaigrette: Note: Look for red tubs of Korean gochujang paste in the Asian section of the grocery. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

1/2 cup gochujang — Korean pepper paste

1/2 cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar or 1 teaspoon if you prefer less sweetness, but a little is needed to balance the flavors

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced green onion

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, add gochujang paste and 1 tablespoon hot tap water; mix and press paste with back of a spoon against side of bowl to help “bloom” the gochujang. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Mixture should be similar to a thick syrup. Can be stored, in an airtight container, in fridge up to 2 weeks. If thick, stir in some hot water or fresh lemon juice or a bit of vinegar to loosen it up.

[This crisp Alaska cod sandwich is simple and delicious with a kimchi kick]

[Savory and smoky with a dash of sweetness, beef bulgogi is a Korean treat]

Kim Sunée

Kim Sunée is a bestselling author ("Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home," "A Mouthful of Stars," "Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks") and a former magazine food editor. She's based in Anchorage. For more food and travel, visit