Few of us want to make a complicated lasagna for solo dining -- by day six, you'll never want to see lasagna again! In this feature, AOL Food intern Sarah LeTrent taste-tests simple recipes suitable for those requiring a "table for one."
"What's for dinner?" Those of us flying solo find ourselves at the mercy of this painstakingly simple question every evening. The problem is finding the time, money and energy to cook something that will truly satisfy those hunger pangs.
Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish suitable for solo dining on rainy summer evenings. Its translation is literally "mixed rice." Tossed together just before serving, the dish might include carrots, mushrooms, mung bean sprouts, chili paste, sesame seeds or oil -- really anything your heart desires. This diner is fond of adding a fried egg -- the cherry on top of the sundae, as it were.
To make this vegetarian (more traditional, and cheaper) version of bibimbap, use seasoned vegetables, a fried egg and cooked rice. (Chinese take-out rice -- commonly found in the singleton's fridge -- will work just fine). Feel free to add strips of sautéed beef, chicken, pork or tofu if you feel so inclined. That's the beauty of bibimbap -- like great salads, it's easy to tailor to your tastes.
To begin, heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a skillet over medium to high heat and toss in a cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms, a peeled, julienned carrot, half of a peeled, julienned zucchini and a cup of bean sprouts with a tablespoon of sugar. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the veggies are soft (about eight minutes), remove from pan and set aside.
Heat another tablespoon of sesame oil in skillet until hot. Add a cup of steamed white rice until its bottom starts to sizzle. (Traditionally achieved via a hot stone pot, the star player in this type of bibimbap is crisp, crunchy rice.) Put rice into serving bowl, add sautéed vegetables and top with a fried egg -- a dollop of gochujang (chili paste) is a spicy finishing touch.
If you're feeling artistic, arrange the vegetables so their colors complement one another. When you're ready to eat, break the yolk and incorporate the egg with the rice and vegetables.
Who says dining for one couldn't bring a "bap" back into your step?
Got any other ideas for Table for One? Leave them in the comments!
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