Dolsot Bibimbap

My mother-in-law is staying with us a few days in conjunction with a family wedding. She and I were swimming today as I was thinking about dinner possibilities, which lead me to decide on one of my favorite meals, a sizzling Korean concoction called dolsot bibimbap. As I mentioned in my kimchi post, Mark’s parents lived in Korea for a while just before he was born, and they were responsible for introducing me to Korean food. It’s also a pretty easy meal to make and doesn’t take much longer than it does to make rice (although you have to work the whole time the rice is cooking). So I dragged myself out of the pool and was off to Super H to get a few ingredients.

Bibimbap is a pretty well-known Korean meal consisting of various things – usually including meat of some sort – stirred into rice. A dolsot is a heavy stone bowl that can be heated over fire. Dolsot bibimbap, then, is bibimbap that is partially cooked and served in a dolsot. In my opinion, dolsot bibimbap is much better than regular old bibimbap because a) it makes noise (it sizzles) and b) the rice gets crunchy. The problem some of you are going to have is finding dolsots. I’m fortunate to live in amongst many Korean stores, so dolsots were no problem for me. You may be able to find them online but you’ll pay a fortune in shipping if you do because they weigh a ton. I imagine you could try cooking the rice in a cast iron pot and then transferring it to a serving dish when it’s crunchy, although honestly that’s not nearly as fun. I have two smaller iron pots that are, I believe, Chinese that I used before I bought the dolsots, and while this worked somewhat, the result wasn’t nearly as good as it is in a real dolsot. Here is what my dolsots look like:

As far as the tray under the dolsot is concerned, you definitely need one and this is one of the very few times I’ll tell you you want the plastic kind over the wooden kind. I originally had wooden trays for my dolsots, but they were laminated and the hot dolsots stuck to them so now I have a plasticky goo on the bottom of my dolsots that smells really bad and gets all over my burners when hot. Bizarrely, the plastic kind doesn’t melt while the wooden kind does (at least the wooden kind I had).

One of the great things about vegetarian bibimbap, and making bibimbap at home, is you can put whatever you want in it. It’s good for using up leftovers, although I usually just go to Super H and grab some veggies there. The Super H near me often has prepared seasoned bibimbap veggies that save on prep time. I ordinarily wouldn’t buy prepared veggies like that except the packages they have contain traditional items like bellflower root and bracken fern that I can’t always find fresh and unprepared. But don’t be alarmed if you don’t have a Korean store nearby where you can get these items. You can put any type of veggie into your bibimbap as long as you can chop it up into nice pieces. So the following is really more a few suggestions than an actual recipe.

Dolsot Bibimbap

short or medium grain rice (I use sushi rice), one serving per person
gochujang (chili pepper paste) sauce: about 1/4 cup per person (recipe follows)

various vegetables and tofu, depicted above is:
1 large or 2 small carrots, julienned thinly
1 bunch baby broccoli: an example of a non-traditional ingredient that worked well for me
mung bean sprouts
bracken fern
bellflower root
Korean or Chinese chives (which I didn’t end up using because I had enough other stuff)
Korean radish or daikon
tofu, cubed

Also suggested:
mushrooms if you can stand them
really any strange vegetables you see in an Asian grocery store and can’t identify

For the veggie marinade:
3 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
9 drop stevia or 1 Tbsp sugar

Prepare the rice according to the package. I use a rice cooker. While the rice is cooking, prepare the veggies. “Hard” vegetables such as carrots, radish, and zucchini should be julienned thinly. I used a julienne peeler on this carrot:

Leafy vegetables should be roughly chopped if necessary. Blanch veggies like carrots, broccoli, bean sprouts, and radish in boiling water for 30 seconds to one minute depending on how hard they are then rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Don’t overcook them.

Leafy items like spinach can be microwaved for one minute or lightly steamed. Zucchini can be lightly sauteed or just used raw. Chives, lettuce, and tofu can be used raw. I honestly don’t know know how to prepare mushrooms because I don’t eat those nasty things.

Stir together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl.

Keeping each vegetable in a separate bowl, toss each with a small amount of the marinade. If you like, toss in some sesame seeds:

Next make the sauce:

Gochujang Sauce

(Makes enough for three generous servings.)

1/2 cup gochujang (spicy chili pepper paste, available in Korean markets)
3 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
9 drops stevia or 1 Tbsp sugar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp sesame oil

Gochujang is a very thick paste that looks like this:

We want to make it a bit more “stir-able”, so to it add the other ingredients:

Then whisk together. You’ll need a sturdy whisk.

Divide the gochujang into small individual bowls (I used Chinese teacups), one for each serving. Set aside.

Meanwhile, as the rice is finishing up, prepare the dolsots. Set each dolsot directly on a burner. Gas is probably really better but I don’t have a problem using my electric stove. Pour about 1/2 tsp sesame oil into each, then use a paper towel to rub the oil all over the interior surface, wiping away any excess oil. Bibimbap is not at all a greasy dish, but the sesame oil causes the rice to brown and turn crispy, so a thin layer is necessary. Turn each dolsotted burner on medium heat. Allow the dolsots to come up to temperature for a couple of minutes, then spread one serving of the cooked, hot rice into each dolsot, covering the bottom of the dolsot and partially going up the sides.

Allow the rice to cook in the dolsots for about 10-15 minutes, checking periodically that it is not burning. You can serve it in a range of states from lightly brown and slightly crunchy to golden brown and very crunchy. Meanwhile, as the rice is cooking in the dolsots, warm up each of the marinating veggies. I simply stuck each small bowl into the microwave for 30 seconds to one minute. You can also individually saute them for a minute or so each. They shouldn’t need to cook any further, you just want to warm them up a bit.

As you finish warming each veggie, distribute it amongst each of the dolsots. I always put the tofu in the middle (where, by the way, a raw egg would be cracked in a traditional dolsot bibimbap dish; it cooks as you later stir it into the sizzling hot rice) and have each of the veggies radiating out from it. Try not to place the same colors next to each other.

Here are all three dolsots that I prepared tonight waiting on the stove as I set the table and arranged the banchan (side dishes):

When you are ready to serve the dolsot bibimbap, use oven mitts to transfer each dolsot to its plastic tray, then carry to the table. They should be sizzling; the rice will continue to cook even after you remove it from the heat.

The pictures I took of the table were overexposed and not very good, but here’s an idea of what it looked like:

When you are ready to eat, each diner adds the gochujang sauce to their taste. It is quite spicy, so be forewarned. Mix everything together, then enjoy!

My mother-in-law said it was very good (and cleaned her dolsot), and Mark told me to think of the most horrible tasting food in the world and said that it was the exact opposite of that. Once you know what you are doing, it’s really a very easy and fairly fast dish to make, and it ranks as one of my all-time favorite meals.


  1. Amy Said,

    August 4, 2008 @ 3:48 am

    Wow! This looks amazing. I’ll have to try this!

  2. Cecilia Said,

    August 4, 2008 @ 5:20 am

    Oh my! This is seriously one of my favorite Korean food!!Thank you so much for the recipe – I NEED to find a dolsot pot myself, they look so awesome :0D
    OOoo have you tried Korean spicy rice ‘sticks’ before – they are really popular in Korea … they are sold as ‘street food’ haha, so yummy though

  3. Steffi Said,

    August 4, 2008 @ 5:39 am

    that looks divine! I’ve never had bibimpap and have been looking for a nice recipe for some time. I’ll definitely check out the Korean supermarkets for dolsots as soon as I can.

  4. Mark Said,

    August 4, 2008 @ 9:47 am

    @Cecilia rice sticks? Sounds interesting. I am a fan of all things rice, is it crunchy like rice-cakes?

  5. tofufreak Said,

    August 4, 2008 @ 10:11 am

    Yum! i love bibimbap! Thanks so much for the suggestions! i think i’ll try this in my new clay pot.

  6. Said,

    August 4, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

    Dolsot bibimbap is definitely a great dish. Nice pictures!!!

  7. Cecilia Said,

    August 4, 2008 @ 10:12 pm

    Umm, no it’s not crunchy at all … it’s chewy in texture. It’s a common korean street food dish … so yummy though! Very spicy as well ;0)

    Here’s a good recipe, easily veganized by leaving out the fish cake!

  8. renae Said,

    August 5, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

    I’ve bought those kinds of rice cakes before (at Mark’s request) from the refrigerated section at Super H, however, I think I’d like to try that recipe using rice cakes from the rice cake machine they allegedly have there that dispenses fresh rice cakes. My friend told me about the rice cake machine, although I’ve been too worried to seek it out because they also have a squid cake machine and I REALLY don’t want to accidentally end up at the squid-o-matic and have tentacles oozing out at me.

  9. TJF Said,

    August 6, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

    I love that we share both a affinity for tempeh reubens and Korean food (I lived in Korea for a year myself). I really appreciate both your bibimbap recipe and kimchi recipe. I hope I can try them after I move to Chapel Hill in less than a week. I don’t know if there are Korean grocery stores in Chapel Hill, but I hope so.

    As for the chewy rice sticks, I believe they are called dakbokki and they are the elongated rice cakes and usually cooked in a spicy sort of sweet sauce, usually with fish cakes, too. I love those chewy rice cakes and couldn’t get enough when I was in Korea.

  10. renae Said,

    August 7, 2008 @ 12:04 am

    I hope you find more Asian groceries in Chapel Hill than I’ve found in Charleston when visiting Mark’s family (which is none).

    Thanks for the information on the rice cakes; I didn’t know what it was called in Korean. It sounds like a dream dish for Mark, lover of rice in all forms (and me). If I can just get over my fear that I’m going to accidentally end up at the squid machine instead of the rice cake machine…

    Also, Mark had me make tempeh reubens for himself and his mom for lunch on Monday!

  11. Camille Said,

    August 19, 2008 @ 3:18 pm

    My smooth top cooking surface (oh, the shame!), has prevented me from cooking with my dolsot. Is it possible to preheat a seasoned granite dolsot in the oven, add the sesame oil and cooked rice, and return it to the oven, prior to adding the rest of the toppings? I’m worried about the rice’s causing the pot to crack from the moisture/temperature change, but I also don’t want my rice to get completely dried out waiting for the pot to get hot enough. Any advice?

  12. renae Said,

    August 19, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

    Camille, I don’t think you’d have any problems doing just that. The stone dolsots are made to withstand high temperatures – I don’t think ANYTHING could crack my dolsots. I’d let the oiled dolsot get as hot as possible in the oven (say 450 Fahrenheit?), remove and add the rice (which will be hot already anyway if you’ve just made it fresh), then return to the oven for 5 minutes or so before removing again and adding the toppings. Essentially this is no different than what I do on the stove top, the only difference is the rice may dry out on top in the oven quicker because of the heat so I wouldn’t leave it in for too long after adding the rice. I think the worst problem you’d have would be moving that heavy thing in and out of the oven: make sure you have very good oven mitts!

  13. Lucy Said,

    October 26, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

    Your pics and recipes are amazing!! “Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap” means “stone pot mix rice” (that’s my best translation). It is absolutely authentic and looks like my moms (although she is not a good cook and hope she is not reading this).

    TJF is correct about the rice cakes called “Duk Boki”. The dish includes some type of mochi in some savory sauce, stir fried with that “go chu chang” paste and various winter vegetables. I used to love that dish as a child.

    BTW, your kitty is cute beyond words!! I have a 11 month old Shih Tzu and find myself croppping him out of my pics since he is always by my side, Aren’t pets wonderful!!!!

  14. foodhoe Said,

    February 9, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

    wow, thanks for the pictorial guide to dolsot bibimbap! I love that dish and didn’t know how to make it at home. It looks do-able! Your pictures are lovely too…

  15. bc Said,

    March 18, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

    I bought a dolsot but the instructions say: Very important before to use make sure make ready use.

    I think that means I have to prepare it somehow. Do you know how?

  16. renae Said,

    March 18, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

    Hi bc,

    I didn’t do anything special to season mine: I just wipe the interior with sesame oil before adding the rice each time. I did, however, find these instructions for seasoning stone dolsots:

    Before the first usage, it is recommended to heat the stone bowl with salty water (1/3 full), until water boils.
    Then remove the bowl from the direct heat and paint the surface with sesame oil or any other edible oil until oil is no longer permeated. This is to eliminate any cracks and/or breakage due to minor damages to the item.


  17. Renee Said,

    June 22, 2009 @ 9:57 am

    Thank you so much! I’ve been trying to locate the sauce for years; I tried asking for it at a local Chinese market recently, but they don’t understand Korean (duh, typical American to assume they could). I tried again this weekend, and she showed me to the bottled Korean BBQ sauce. Well, I may not know what it is, but I know what it isn’t, so next she showed me to the hot sauces and pastes. I never would have been able to pick it out if it wasn’t for your photo!! Eureka! There it was!! I made delicious bibimbap at home, and it tastes 95% like restaurant bibimbap. Once again, thank you!

  18. renae Said,

    June 28, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

    Hi Renee, it’s nice to see someone with my name (albeit spelled more conventionally) here! I’m glad the bibimbap turned out so well. I know I definitely enjoy seeing photos of brands in other blogs so I know what to buy, so I’m glad my pictures helped!

  19. ceen Said,

    September 16, 2009 @ 1:29 am

    hi, may I know where can I buy this stone dolsots in seoul and how much it cost. Thanks

  20. twinsetellen Said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

    Thanks for the great bibimbap tutorial. We’ve eaten it many times in restaurants and tonight I’m taking a shot at preparing it at home. The rice is cooking, the dol sots are ready and waiting, the veggies all prepared. All that remains is the eating!

  21. Jes Said,

    January 17, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

    Thank you for this. My husband bought me the stone bowl over a year ago and I never knew how to use it. Now I can copy your recipe. THANKS!

  22. JHH Said,

    July 25, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    What is the ideal size for an adult’s main course supper? There would also be a salad and dessert. Thanx.

  23. renae Said,

    July 25, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    Hi JHH, I usually just fill the dolsot, although honestly, it’s a pretty big meal and I’d personally not have room for dessert if I finished it! I think typically the answer is to use 1/2 cup rice per serving, and I’d just add as many veggies as fit in your bowl and look nice.

  24. Ellen Said,

    October 31, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

    Hi, I love your Bibimbap. I like your dolsot which has a stainless steel ring. Where did you get your dolsot? Which store?


  25. Ellen Said,

    October 31, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

    What size of your dolsot?


  26. Andrew Jen Said,

    December 2, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

    My friends gave me a dolsot and I’m looking forward to making delicious cripsy rice and bibimbop! I don’t have one of those plates with the handles though, will have to look around 99 Ranch Market.

  27. kittee Said,

    December 5, 2010 @ 3:16 am

    oh man, this looks uh-mazing. are you seasing the pots with toasted or untoasted seame oil?

    i used to teach montessori school in annandale and there was this amazing un-namedkorean restaurant right on the main drag. they did great vegan banchan and had the most delicious tofu dish. it was a block of fresh raw tofu set upon a plate of fresh watercress that was seasoned in some kind of gojuchang sauce. everything else on the menu was heavily un-vegan. and with the toasted barley tea–!!! head explode-y.

  28. renae Said,

    December 6, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    Kittee, I’ve used both toasted and untoasted sesame oil depending on what I have on hand. I don’t know that I really have a preference, although I don’t think the flavor of the toasted oil really comes through much, so probably just untoasted if I have both.

    You know, we’ve lived close to Annandale (we’re in Fairfax) for several years now and have yet to visit any of the Korean restaurants there. I have no idea why not, and I do often say we need to; it’s just never happened. I’ll have to look for that place because we love fresh tofu…and I could make a meal of banchan if they’d let me.

  29. Heather Said,

    December 6, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

    I would like to buy some dolsots as a gift. I went to but have a couple questions.

    They sell the stone bowls with or without a lid. The dolsots with the lid have a metal band and the ones without the lid don’t have a metal band.

    Do I need a lid for bibimbap?
    What is the purpose of the metal ring/band? Is it better to have a pot with one or without?


  30. renae Said,

    December 6, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

    Hi Heather, you don’t need a lid; I don’t have one and haven’t felt as if I needed one. I honestly don’t know what the purpose of the metal band is. My dolsots have it, but the ones you see in restaurants generally don’t. I think it’s just decorative.

  31. Ale Said,

    October 12, 2011 @ 8:20 am

    Many thanks for the detailed instructions and the pictures. There is a restaurant I go too ONLY because they make excellent bibimbap….I am a sort of bib crazy. I will certaily try it myself now, thanks to your help.

  32. SE Said,

    October 30, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    For those who dont know how to eat bibimbap properly
    I made a website. Please check it out

  33. weirdcombos Said,

    November 26, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    Love your blog and recipes. I’ve been wanting to make bibimbap at home forever and was concerned with not having the correct stove top. Thanks for demystifying it for me. Korean food rocks!

  34. vegetarian bi-bim-bap Said,

    December 2, 2011 @ 4:35 am

    […] are rice dishes mixed together with other ingredients. Here are some other recipes for it: here, here and […]

  35. Beth Said,

    February 13, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    I want to add my thanks for your wonderful directions and pictures. We have a nice local Korean restaurant that serves dolsot bibimbap–and I became addicted!

    So for Xmas I’ve received enough dolsots for the family, and by using your recipe, we have all enjoyed several fantastic dinners.

    Learning to use the dolsots has really been a process for me. At first I would only heat them in the oven. However, your pics of setting them on the stove encouraged me, and I’ve found that the work best that way. They make an amazing crunchy rice coating on the bottom of the dish, and the food tastes best.

    For those in the family who are not spicy food fans, we’ve used teriyaki sauce. I personally can’t get enough gochujang, but younger folks seem to need a more gradual introduction.

    Again, thanks so much. Your directions are the ones I go to over and over.

  36. Violet Said,

    October 23, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

    Hi – Thanks for the tutorial!! I have been planning to buy dolsot bibimbap bowls. I can only find granite ones that come with wood trays. Where did you get the plastic trays? Or do you know a place where the granite bowls can be purchased with plastic trays?

  37. Kevin Said,

    May 5, 2015 @ 3:25 pm

    You can buy the granite stone dolsot bowls with wood bases at Disclaimer: I work for them. 🙂

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