• 19-06-19 10:05
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An Egyptian's vegetarian version of bibimbap

By Honorary Reporter Yostina Wasef from Egypt

Photos = Yostina Wasef

The first time I tasted Korean food was when I made bibimbap at home. Crazy, I know, but I had no choice as my city has no Korean restaurants. I also had to make it without the three main ingredients -- soybean sprouts, gosari (fernbrake) and doraji (dried bellflower roots) --because they weren't sold in my city, either. 

At first, I thought I couldn't make bibimbap and that it would turn out distorted without these three ingredients, but the vegetables in this dish looked so delicious that I decided to try making it without them. What I really like about the dish is its variety of vegetables and the way they're cooked. In Egypt, we usually cook vegetables as stews, which made me a bit bored of vegetables, so the stir-fried veggies of bibimbap looked irresistibly delicious and made me try making it.

This is my vegetarian and halal-friendly version of bibimbap. I basically followed the recipe from the YouTuber Maangchi, with a few adjustments to match my vegetarian preferences. Feel free, however, to either adjust the recipe any way you like or follow it to the letter.

The best thing about bibimbap is that anyone can customize it and any vegetables can be used because the main concept is stir-fried vegetables with rice.


I used carrots, zucchini, cucumber, red bell pepper, spinach, onions, green onions and canned mushrooms. Maangchi's original recipe doesn't include mushrooms but I added them for protein.

I've decided not to mention how much of a vegetable I use because I have to use my eyes to decide the amount I need. Cook the rice first and then visually estimate how much of a vegetable the rice needs, keeping in mind that the vegetable portion will be as much as the rice's. This means that both the vegetables and rice will each form half of the dish.

Other ingredients include cooked rice, eggs, salt, vegetable and sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, garlic, sugar and hot ketchup, the latter because my family and I can't handle the spiciness of gochujang (hot pepper paste).


1. First soak the mushrooms in water with a bit of vinegar and leave it aside until the spinach is prepared.

2. Blanch the spinach and squeeze out the excess water with a towel or a cloth. Be aware that the towel used will get stained, so use something that you don't mind getting stained.

3. Cut the blanched spinach, put it in a bowl and mix with garlic, a teaspoon of sesame oil, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sesame seeds. Cover the mixture and leave it aside. Use as much or as little of the oil, garlic and sesame seeds as desired; also know the amount of each you have. Again, I just use my eyes to guess the right amount.

4. Drain the water from the mushrooms, stir-fry onions with garlic in a pan until they get brown a bit, add the mushrooms and stir-fry for about a minute.

5. Add just enough water to cover the mushrooms then cover, stirring every now and then until the water evaporates and the mushrooms are well cooked.

6. Remove the mushrooms from heat. In a cup, add a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of sesame seeds and mix well. Then add them to the mushrooms and mix well until the mushrooms absorb the color.

7. Cut the carrots, zucchini, cucumber and red bell pepper into matchsticks. Put them into a bowl, mix with a pinch of salt and then let aside for 5-10 minutes until sweating is complete.

8. Meanwhile, julienne the onions and cut the green onions into small rings lengthwise.

Clockwise from left is blanched spinach with garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds in the top-left plate; cooked mushrooms in the top-right plate, and carrots, zucchini, cucumber, bell pepper, and white and green onions in the bottom plate.

Clockwise from left is blanched spinach with garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds in the top-left plate; cooked mushrooms in the top-right plate, and carrots, zucchini, cucumber, bell pepper, and white and green onions in the bottom plate.

Now cook the vegetables. Originally, each vegetable should be stir-fried alone and the pan cleaned after the cooking of each vegetable to avoid losing the vegetables' great colors (and also because cooking time for each vegetable varies). To save time, I just cook similar colored vegetables together and just wipe the pan between each stir-frying session with damp kitchen paper.

9. The first to be stir-fried are onions and green onions because they hardly leave any color in the pan. Stir-fry them until they're a bit golden and remove from the pan.

10. Squeeze the excess water from zucchini and cucumber; they're next because they also leave little color in the pan. Since my family and I like our vegetables well cooked, I delay adding the garlic until right before it's done to avoid burning. Again, the amount of garlic to add depends on the volume of vegetables you have and how much you like garlic.

11. Next are the carrots and red bell pepper. Again, I squeeze excess water from them and stir-fry with garlic to taste.

12. Finally, I fry an egg (I like mine fried from both sides).

Cooking vegetables and eggs

Cooking vegetables and eggs

Cooking is done so it's time to serve.

1. Put the cooked rice in the bottom of a bowl.
2. Add vegetables in a circle on top of the rice.
3. Add the egg in the middle and on top of the vegetables.
4. Add your choice of ketchup or hot pepper paste.
5. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds to taste.
6. Drizzle sesame oil to taste.
7. Mix the ingredients of the bowl and enjoy.

After eating my veggie bibimbap creation, my father said, "It tastes so good!" Both of my parents want me to make it for them more often. Since the dish is not only delicious but also nutritious, I encourage you to try making it. Also don't be afraid to customize it based on your preferences and likes.

*This article is written by a Honorary Reporter. Our group of Honorary Reporters are from all around the world, and they share with their love and passion for all things Korean. 

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