Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bibimbapquinoa: A Healthy Twist on a Korean Favorite

Although Korean food purists will probably write me off after reading this post, I don't really care. Why? 'Cause I've lost 18 effin' pounds since embarking on this Biggest Loser journey and none of it could have been possible without creative modifications on some of my favorite dishes.

With some inspiration from some of those bougie healthy food places, I came up with a healthier twist on a Korean favorite and made bibimbap with quinoa. If whatever little knowledge I have of the Korean language is correct, I guess it would then be called "bibimquinoa" since I took out the bap (rice), but whatever you decide to call it, it still rocks. Although the caloric content of quinoa is about the same as rice and although both provide all the health benefits that whole grains offer, quinoa (unlike rice) contains all nine amino acids making its protein content complete. And more protein means more muscle maintenance. More muscle means more fat and calories burned even while you're sitting on your fat ass watching Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane on the Style Network. As an added bonus, for the price you pay for a "health-conscious" bibim bap at M Cafe De Chaya, you can make 3 of these at home. This dish turned out to be such a hit with me that I sneaked a container of it into Alice in Wonderland in 3D IMAX and ate it for dinner. No joke.

All you need is one cup of cooked quinoa, prepared bibimbap veggies (*see below), about a tablespoon (more or less depending on your personal tolerance for spiciness) of gochujang/korean pepper paste, a tiny swig of sesame oil and if you can spare the extra calories, a fried egg. I've personally been using fried quail eggs as of late because they have less calories than chicken eggs, make for a much prettier presentation than without an egg, and are so damn cute. Squee!

Prepare your bibimbapquinoa vegetable toppings according to this recipe, or if you're feeling particularly lazy, go the prepared foods section of your local korean market and buy some assorted seasoned vegetables such as spinach, daikon, beansprouts, carrots, fern brakes, and shiitake mushrooms. Sometimes they even sell all the vegetables together in a special "bibimbap pack" because they know that people like myself are too busy to get themselves involved in the ingredient- and labor-intensive job of cooking 5 different vegetables separately.

Put the quinoa in a bowl and arrange the vegetables on top.

If adding an egg, fry the thing up so that the yolk's still a little runny and put that on top of the quinoa and vegetables. If you want to be cute and use quail egg like I do, be aware that quail eggshells are a little more difficult to crack open cleanly than those on chicken eggs. I always have to use my fingers to pull that shell-membrane-thingy apart so the egg drops cleanly into the pan.

Take a picture or a good look at your pretty bowl of colorful veggie- and egg-topped quinoa because in a second you're going to mess it all up.

Add the sesame oil and gochujang, mix the shit up really well and you've got yourself a healthy, delicious meal that you, too, will love so much you'll want to take it into the movies with you.



joanh said...

wow! 18 pounds- congrats! i've totally been trying to buy some quinoa the past few months in taipei after having in the states, but no luck. guess i'll have to stock up on my next trip to LA. great idea!

Nads' Bakery said...

YUM! Looks delicious! I wish I had the discipline to cut out food that's bad for me but I just love it so much! Definitely congrats to you and your weight loss! I don't even know where you lost it but you must feel absolutely fabulous now.

And as a Korean.. I don't write you off at all. I welcome any creative ways to introduce healthier foods into your diet.

weezermonkey said...

I want to bring all my food to your house, so I can photograph in that glorious light.

Cookie Chomper said...

impressive..amazing lighting. is that a kitchen counter top or a sheet white of paper *thumbs up*

wan said...

bibimbapquinoa. say that 5 times fast.

congrats on the weight loss! that's fantastic!

Diana said...

Squee indeed! Cute eggs and quinoa? You are talking my language! I can definitely haz this.

Congrats on the weight loss!

Elaine said...

Great idea and lovely presentation!

Gastronomer said...

Now, this is health food I can back. Looks like you've kept all the awesome flavors of bi bim bap and added an extra kick of protein. Win Win!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Either the bowl is super huge or your portion is tiiiny! I don't know if I'd be satisfied only eating that much.

stuffycheaks said...

congrats! 18 pounds! OMG! That recipe looks great, I'm def gonna try it out

Daily Gluttony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daily Gluttony said...


thanks! yeah, i would imagine that quinoa would be a little harder to find in taipei. definitely stock up next time you're here!


thanks for not writing me off! LOL btw, when you met me, i had already lost 10 lbs, and yes, i do feel absolutely fabulous-er now! :)


anytime, girl! just gimmee advance notice so i can clean up! heehee

cookie chomper,

thank you! it's actually the top of my dryer! it's next to a small window so it's the perfect place to shoot!


i know, right? i was never good at tongue twisters!


LOL, you can definitely haz this!




I love win win situations! 'Specially when it comes to food! :)


haha, the portion isn't big by any means, but the bowl is. (it's an 8" bowl) maybe it's cause my stomach has shrunk, but it's actually filling!


thanks! let me know what you think if u make it!

Elana said...

That looks really great. I have been eating a lot of ginger quinoa and eggs lately. I cook it all together in a cast iron skillet and I can't get enough!

gourmetpigs said...

Genius, this actually sounds really good. I want to try it, though I've never made bibimbap before ... well, how hard can it be right? :P

(And yeah, I love M Cafe but it's so expensive!)

susan said...

hi pam! love the bibimquinoa idea. try kimchi fried quinoa next time. i made that when i was trying to make something healthy. :)

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