Vegan Bi Bim Bap
Bi Bim Bap (Pronounced BEE-beem-bop) is one of my favorite Korean dishes. It's a flavorful, nutritious meal that can be adapted to suit your tastes. While it's best served using Korean hot stone bowls (the pot is pre-heated in oven to make the grain on the bottom crunchy), you can also use regular heat resistant bowls. Spicy chili bean paste, sold in any Korean or Asian food market is used to add a sweet spice to your veggies - I buy an organic, MSG free version from Whole Foods.
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup 1/4 cup + additional 1 tbsp fresh, minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/3 cup chopped green onion 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds 1 package firm tofu 1 cup mushrooms of choice 4 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped 1 1/2 cups Okinawan Sweet Potato, cubed 5 Tablespoons sesame oil 1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts 6 sheets nori, crumbled (optional) 1/4 cup chili bean paste (Kochujang)
2 cups cooked grain of choice - Kamut, Brown Rice or Quinoa works best
Prepare marinade for tofu by combining soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, black pepper, green onions, sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a large bowl; add cubed tofu to the marinade, and season with additional salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C), and place 4 stone bowls in oven.
Add mushrooms, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon fresh garlic to wok and cook for 3 - 4 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add spinach to wok, and additional sesame oil as needed and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add bean sprouts to wok, and additional sesame oil as needed and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add the tofu marinade and sweet potatoes to wok and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid reduces in volume, and potatoes are tender - about 7 - 9 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Transfer the stone bowls from the oven to suitable heat resistant surface. Brush each bowl with sesame oil to coat. Divide cooked grain of choice into bowls, and gently pack to the bottom (the grain should sizzle as you arrange).
Arrange sweet potatoes + tofu mixture, bean sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, and chopped nori over each potion of grain. Immediately before serving, drizzle with about a tablespoon of sesame oil.
Add the chili bean paste sauce to taste (1 tablespoon per bowl is a great starting point) and mix pressing the mixture to the bottom of the bowl to create the crunchy bottom.
Top with additional sesame seeds.