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March 4, 2011

Tofu Bibimbap, a rustic rendition in a stylish blog.

I am pleased to let you know that I was nominated for "Stylish blogger" by Tammy from Koreafornian Cooking.

I like my blog, and I did spend some time and effort to beautify it. I only wish that I, as a person, would be as stylish as my blog... 
But I want you to imagine me (5'2" Korean woman) wearing a Versace gown with all the hair and make up, holding an Oscar on one hand and a piece of paper on the other.
So, here is my acceptance speech for this award, which is to let you know 7 things about me.

1. I have sung in front of Gladys Knight. I didn't know who she was until much later time.
2. I have suffered polio as a child, which caused my left leg to wear a brace my whole life.
3. I studied fashion design in college. But I do not look like a stylish designer.
4. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Christian.
5. I tend to talk(mostly in Korean) in my sleep. My husband told me that.
6. I hardly watch K-drama nor listen to K-pop. But I am 100% Korean. Weird, isn't it?
7. I can make pretty darn good apple pie, all from scratch. I will post that some day.

Below are the "pay it forward" stylish blogs that I enjoy visiting occasionally.

The recipe I am sharing today is quite simple and rustic bibimbap. Anything can be bibimbap as long as you mix with rice and some sauce to go with it. 
I would like to introduce Korean soybean paste called "된장, Duenjang". Not everybody like this paste since it has very strong smell and pungent flavor. However, if you consider yourself a true Korean food addict, then the duenjang has to be part of your repertoire. I won't be lying if I say duenjang is #1 comfort food ingredient in Korea, especially among men.
If you never tried the duenjang, give yourself a chance to get to know it. The more you try, the better it will taste, and eventually you will get hooked.
I will show you how you can enjoy the duenjang with tofu and chives in bibimbap, a rustic rendition.


Gather up the stuff.
Tofu, duenjang (yellow bean paste), chili paste, Asian chives, vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar, garlic, minced onion, and some roasted seaweeds, plus Korean chili flakes that I forgot to add in the list.

First, slice tofu and sprinkle some salt on top.  

Heat oil in a skillet and pan fry the tofu for 5 minutes on each sides over medium heat.
For detailed instruction on how to fry tofu, click here.

Meanwhile let's take a look at duenjang.

 Korean Duenjang on the left and Japanese Miso on the right. You can see the color difference.
Duenjang is made of 100% soy beans and has strong pungent flavor. Miso has some rice or barley added to the soy beans so it yields more milder and sweeter flavor than Duenjang. The types of bacteria that are formed during fermentation in both soy beans are different as well. 
I like them both in different ways. You can substitute Miso for this recipe if you like. But it won't be true Korean, though. Just to let you know...
I also highly recommend to get organic duenjang. It taste much better and almost like home-made.
It costs more but worth it.

Combine duenjang, a tiny bit of gochujang (Korean chili paste), garlic, and minced onion (I used dried). Add some water to make desirable sauce consistency.

Just like that. I can dip fresh cucumber sticks or green chilies in this sauce. You can even put a dollop on the lettuce wrap with Korean BBQ. So good together.

 In a bowl combine sliced chives with chili flakes, vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, sesame seeds, and garlic.

 Toss with hand so that they can get incorporated well. There are no better tools than human hands...

 When tofu slices are well fried, cut them into whatever size you like.

This is seasoned and roasted seaweeds, all time Korean table favorites. We usually use this seaweed to wrap some rice with. This is a black food, color of healthy food.
Cut or tear into small chunks for topping in the dish.

This bibimbap tastes better with mixed grain rice rather than white rice only. The mixture of brown rice, white rice, wild rice, barley, etc balances well with the sauce. Wholesome and rustic always go together. Dishes like this can help you understand why Korean foods are known for so healthy.

Totally vegetarian,
Truly Buddha's delight... 
Good for your stomach,
and your mind.
You will need a good mint afterward
for the sake of others around you.

Tofu Bibimbap
(두부된장 비빔밥, tofu duenjang bibimbap)
makes 4 servings

1 package (18 oz) firm tofu, sliced into 1/2" thick, about 7 slices total
pinch kosher salt or sea salt
2 Tbsp grape seed oil or canola oil
1/2 bunch Asian chives,  cleaned and sliced into 1 1/2" long sticks
1 Tbsp Korean chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp Korean anchovy sauce or fish sauce
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 sheets of Korean seasoned roasted seaweeds, crumbled
hot cooked mixed grain rice

Duenjang bibim sauce :
2 Tbsp organic Korean duenjang or Japanese miso
2 tsp Korean chili paste (gochujang)
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp dried minced onion or 2 tsp fresh finely minced onion
1 small clove garlic, finely minced

Sprinkle pinches salt over sliced tofu on paper towel, let it sit for 5 minutes. Before you add the tofu slices to hot oiled skillet, Press each slices with dry paper towel to remove some moisture. Pan fry them for 5 minutes, each side, until golden brown crust forms. Cut each slices into desired bite size pieces.
Meanwhile combine chives with chili flakes, anchovy or fish sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a mixing bowl. Toss them well until all the seasoning gets incorporated with chives. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl combine all the duenjang sauce ingredients. Mix well. You can adjust amount of water for desired consistency.
To serve, place hot rice in a large individual serving bowl, top with tofu pieces and chives. Put 2-3 tsp of sauce on top and sprinkle with crumbled seaweeds. Mix well and serve.

Printable recipe

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At March 4, 2011 at 10:33 AM , Anonymous Mike said...

This sounds so simple yet so delicious... I think chives (and green onions for the matter) work so harmoniously with doenjang.

Also, thanks for the tip about the organic doenjang! I normally buy locally made doenjang because I find the commercial ones put a lot of wheat flour in them....blehh. Does the organic one contain flour?

At March 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Hi Mike
There is no wheat flour contained in Organic doenjang. I know what you mean by commercial doenjang doesn't taste right. Nothing can be better than home-made but I found these organic doenjang taste far better than any commercial one including the the texture.

At March 4, 2011 at 4:34 PM , Anonymous the indolent cook said...

I love bibimbap and this looks like a nice and easy version! :D

At March 4, 2011 at 8:23 PM , Anonymous Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

Holly, thank you very much for the award! I can't wait for your apple pie post and it's great to get to know you a bit more :)

At March 6, 2011 at 3:58 AM , Anonymous Neeli said...

Congrats on your award! You have a lovely blog, I love the photos and your explanations. This recipe is on my cooking list, so glad you posted it.

At March 6, 2011 at 6:08 AM , Anonymous pigpigscorner said...

Thanks for the award. Very much appreciated =)

At March 6, 2011 at 2:27 PM , Anonymous Inji said...

Dear Holly,
I love your blog. I love Korean food! A few questions for you.
For organic deongjang, what are the words that we look for that means Organic?
Can you please take a photo of your deong jang and circle the word that means organic?

Also, I notice your rice is purple and has other things in it too.
what is your mix of rice?

At March 6, 2011 at 5:06 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...


Organic doenjang is called "유기농 된장, yuginong doenjang". If you see my post
there is a picture with the character written on the package of doenjang.
For some reason my local Korean market (H-mart ) did not display the organic
ones with other generic doenjang on the same isle. If you don't find the
organic ones in the usual isle, it won't hurt to ask the management if they
carry it.

For the purple rice in the post, I used mix of 1/2 part of white rice, 1/4
brown rice, 1/4 pressed barley, and add about 2 Tbsp of wild rice.
You will need to soak the brown rice, barley, and wild rice in water
overnight. And you will need far less water to cook with since they absorbed
lots of water in them (about 1/2 the water). The more wild rice you use, the
darker purple your rice will be.

Hope these hints will help.


At March 6, 2011 at 8:08 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thanks, Neeli. Hope you enjoys it.

At March 6, 2011 at 9:09 PM , Anonymous Tigerfish said...

I tried tofu and chives combination before but tofu bibimbap is new to me. I need to get all the Korean pastes/seasonings to start making more Korean dishes.

At October 1, 2011 at 7:45 AM , Anonymous eatplayluv said...

Wow, I'm impressed with all your gorgeous photos and delicious recipes. I wonder if you and your readers are interested in joining the Korean food lover's community,, which is run by Korea Tourism Organisation. I think people would love to share your recipes and thoughts on Korean food there. There will be a blogging contest to give away prizes so please check it out and apply to a blogger. 

At October 3, 2011 at 6:52 PM , Anonymous Rdbarb said...

So great. I make this all the time w Japanese miso, Chinese chili paste and other subs. Don't know how authentic my version is but yummy!

At January 25, 2012 at 12:13 PM , Anonymous Nicklovin said...

 It's not vegetarian if you add fish sauce, FYI ;-)

At January 25, 2012 at 4:20 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thanks for pointing out. Didn't think about the small amount of the fish sauce in the dish.


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