Korean Bibimbap

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Korean Bibimbap
A bunch of years ago, before marriage and kids I was a strict vegetarian working as an international teacher. After having my own Eat, Pray, Love experience in Bali, living in Ubud, traveling by bicycle or on the back of a motorbike all over the island as a volunteer art teacher, I needed money. Badly. On a recommendation from a friend, I ended up in Korea, working as an English teacher at a winter camp for kids. It took a month to just master the art of saying thank you in Korean. Unlike so many other places I had traveled, I could never quite get a read on people’s tones or mood. Often, I would think someone was yelling at me, when they were in fact inviting me to stay and have a drink. We worked six long days a week but on our one day off my friends and I would search for the local spas by looking for the symbol that looked like a coffee cup. For a few dollars, we would seek warm refuge inside for hours. There were endless foreign varieties of steam and water cleansing rituals. Afterwards we would go to a bar and eat and drink for hours, and the bill was always only ten dollars. Those were the days.
Anyway, as a vegetarian my diet there was very monotonous. I survived on white rice and plain, silken tofu with veggies and soy sauce at the camp. But I developed a huge love for Bibimbap, which was an occasional treat at mealtime. I prefer this dish to be vegetarian and usually replace the beef with baked tofu or sautéed tempeh. You could also just increase the veggies by adding mushrooms. This recipe is a  paleo version of a classic and comforting Korean dish using beef. It keeps all the flavour without the rice and bottled sauces.
2 Cucumbers, cut into very thin slices
1 bunch Spring Onions, white and green parts thinly sliced, divided in half
2 T Rice or Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Carrots, cut into matchsticks or spiralized
2 Zucchinis, cut into matchsticks or spiralized
1 bunch Spinach, shredded
1-2 T Cooking Oil, e.g. half coconut and half sesame,
plus extra sesame oil for drizzling
3 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
2 t Vinegar
Meat (For vegetarian, replace beef with tofu, tempeh, or mushrooms)
1 T. Fresh Ginger, grated
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
600 g Beef Mince
2 T Sesame or Coconut Oil, divided for cooking
4 Eggs
Sesame Seeds, toasted
Spring Onions
Sesame Oil, optional
Hot Sauce, homemade or paleo friendly
Cabbage Slaw
1) Thinly slice the cucumbers and both the white and green parts of the spring onions.
2 )Mix cucumber slices, half of the spring onions and rice vinegar in a bowl and set aside to marinate.
3) Peel and cut the carrots and zucchinis into fine matchsticks (or spiralize). Shred the
4) Cook veggies separately (carrot, zucchini and spinach) in 1-2 t of sesame or coconut oil with 1 clove of crushed or minced garlic until cooked to your liking, set each veggie aside on a serving platter.
5) Drizzle all veggies with sesame oil
6) Peel and grate the ginger and mince the garlic. Whisk ginger,
garlic, red pepper, salt and oil (2-4 t.) in a bowl.
7) Crumble beef mince into the pan you cooked veggies in with 1 T of oil.
8) Stir and cook until no longer pink, place in oven safe dish and keep warm.
9) In same pan (optional), heat oil for 3 minutes over medium-high heat and add eggs one at a time and cook until the whites are opaque and crisp and yolks are beginning to set, about 4 minutes.

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