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Bibimbap with Pickled Vegetables

As food writer Eric Kim says, bibimbap is “a kaleidoscope of flavors and textures.” It mingles the salty sweetness of the gochujang sauce (spicy fermented chili paste), the vinegary crunch of pickled vegetables, the runny egg yolks, and warm sticky rice for a memorable sensory experience. Traditionally you’d make bibimbap in a stone pot and top it with kimchi. In this simpler modern version, the rice is made in a rice cooker and topped with quick-pickled vegetables.

Bibimbap with Pickled Vegetables excerpted from The Simple Art of Rice by JJ Johnson with Danica Novgorodoff.

Bibimbap with Pickled Vegetables

JJ Johnson with Danica Novgorodoff
The pickled vegetables and sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and stored, refrigerated, in airtight containers. If you can’t find gochujang, you can substitute any kind of fermented chili paste.
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4 people


For the Pickled Vegetables:

  • 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, shredded or julienned
  • 4 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal) 

For the Gochujang Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoons mirin 
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

For the Hot Vegetables:

  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 
  • 1/2 pound soybean sprouts (optional)
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced 
  • Kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 4 cups short-grain rice, hot and cooked

For Garnish:

  • Toasted sesame oil for drizzling
  • Small strips of seaweed sheets
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds


  • For the pickled vegetables: In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the cucumber, cabbage, carrot, and radishes.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, honey, and salt and bring to a simmer, stirring until the salt has dissolved. Pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • For the gochujang sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the gochujang, mirin, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic. Set aside.
  • For the hot vegetables: In a large sauté pan, bring an inch or so of water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and stir just until spinach is bright green and barely wilted, about 1 minute. Drain the spinach and gently squeeze out excess moisture, then transfer the spinach to a bowl, add the soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, and toss to coat. Set aside.
  • Return the pan to medium heat (add a little water if the pan is dry) and add the bean sprouts, if desired. As soon as they begin to wilt, about 10 seconds, transfer them to a bowl and set aside.
  • Wipe the pan dry and return it to medium heat. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil and the mushrooms and season lightly with salt. Sauté until the mushrooms are tender and browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Crack the eggs into the pan and fry until the whites are firm but the yolks are still runny, 2 to 4 minutes each. 
  • To serve, divide the hot cooked rice among four large serving bowls. Top with the spinach, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and pickled vegetables. Place a fried egg atop each serving. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon sesame oil over each bowl, add some gochujang sauce and a few strips of seaweed sheets, and finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.


Recipe reprinted with permission from The Simple Art of Rice by JJ Johnson with Danica Novgorodoff (Flatiron Books, 2023). Photography by Beatriz da Costa.
Keyword Bibimbap, carrots, Danica Novgorodoff, English cucumber, Honey, JJ Johnson, Pickled vegetables, Radish, red cabbage, Rice, Rice vinegar, The Simple Art of Rice

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