An ancient grain gives a new take take on bibimbap
Bibimbap is incredibly trendy in urban centers right now. Not familiar with it? You’ll want to be.
Bibimbap is a Korean rice bowl — white rice topped with meats, veggies, kimchee (intensely pickled cabbage) and hot sauce. Often, the meat is tossed in Korean barbecue sauce, lending a perfect sweetness to balance out the tangy and spicy flavors of the other ingredients. Bibimbap is a complete multicourse meal in a bowl, slipping effortlessly into our grab-and-go culinary culture.
And since catching on, the flavor profile has expanded. The classic Korean bibimbap has morphed into the more general “grain bowl” menu, where eaters pick and choose which proteins, veggies and condiments they wish to pile onto a bowl of a cooked grains, anything from brown rice to quinoa.
In my take on bibimbap, I celebrate the traditional combination of sweet-spicy-tangy with sweet potatoes and peaches as the sweet elements, and use a less familiar grain: millet. I keep millet in our house because my daughter is gluten-free, so I like to have a variety of options to cook for the family besides just rice and quinoa.
Like many grains, millet can be paired with either savory or sweet dishes, served instead of rice with a roast or topped with roasted fruit and Greek yogurt for a hearty breakfast. Millet is full of fiber, which helps digestive health, but it also is a good source of B vitamins and minerals, such as iron and magnesium.
I buy millet in the bulk aisle and keep it in a large canning jar in a cool, dark cupboard. Cook it using a 1-to-2 ratio of millet to water, just as you would rice. Simmer for about 20 minutes, then let it rest, covered, for a few minutes for the water to absorb. My bibimbap is great to serve assembled, or feel free to lay out the elements buffet-style and let people build their own.
Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.”
Crispy Millet Bibimbap Bowls
For the roasted sesame sweet potatoes:
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Dash cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
For the bibimbap bowls:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 1/2 cups warm cooked millet (about 1 cup dry millet)
4 small red radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup packed chopped kale
1 peach, pitted and thinly sliced
1 cup pea shoots
4 teaspoons lime juice, divided
2 teaspoons neutral oil (such as grapeseed or canola)
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups vegetable broth, hot
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. To make the sweet potatoes, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, the chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Toss with the remaining sesame oil and sesame seeds.
Meanwhile, prepare remaining components. Set aside. (In traditional preparation, kimchee is often allowed to ferment underground in jars for months. Now, it’s widely sold at major supermarkets and it is, of course, much easier just to purchase a jar.)
Next, in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium, heat the 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the cooked millet and pat down evenly. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the millet has formed a crispy layer on the bottom. Remove from the heat.
In separate small bowls, toss the radishes, kale, peach slices and pea shoots each with 1 teaspoon of lime juice. Set aside.
Heat 2 large skillets over low heat. Add 1 teaspoon of neutral oil to each pan and heat for 1 minute. Gently crack 2 eggs into each pan so that they are not touching. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
To assemble, divide broth among 4 serving bowls, then add a quarter of the millet to each. Top each serving with a quarter of each of the following: kimchee, roasted sesame sweet potatoes, radishes, kale, peach slices, pea shoots, fried eggs and avocado.
Per serving: 540 calories; 24 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 39 percent calories from fat); 68 g carbohydrates; 15 g sugar; 215 mg cholesterol; 860 mg sodium; 16 g protein; 10 g fiber.