I almost always have some seafood in my freezer – shrimp, squid, clams, etc. I hope you do too. They thaw quickly, so they come in handy when you have to put something good on the table in a hurry. Here’s an easy one-pot seafood dish I made several times over the busy holiday season.
Haemul bap (해물밥) is rice cooked with seafood and served with a sauce. Haemul means seafood, and bap is rice. This type of rice bowl is very popular in Korean homes. Koreans make rice for almost every meal. By throwing in a few other ingredients while cooking the rice, you can have a filling one-pot meal. The most popular variation that we grew up eating a lot is kongnamul bap, which is rice cooked with kongnamul (soybean sprouts). You can make many different variations by simply adding any meat, seafood and/or vegetables when cooking the rice. The obvious benefit of cooking the other ingredients with the rice is that the rice will soak up the flavors as it cooks. Because my rice cooker locks once it’s started, I cook haemul bap on the stove so I can add the seafood later in the cooking process to avoid overcooking.
Water is fine to cook the rice with, but flavorful liquid will add another dimension to the rice. Dashima (dried kelp) broth is commonly used. Boil a small piece of dried kelp for a few minutes to make broth. The water used to soak dried mushroom is also good. If you’re using fresh clams and/or mussels, briefly cook them partially in the boiling water to remove the meat, and then use the cooking liquid to cook the rice. I’m sure chicken stock would be good too, but I haven’t tried it.
A little bit of lemon juice in the sauce really brightens up the flavor of this rice bowl. Enjoy!
2 to 3 servings
1-1/2 cups short grain rice (standard measuring cup not the cup that comes with a rice cooker)
1-1/2 cups water (or dashima broth or other flavorful liquid)
about 10 ounces assorted seafood (shrimp, squid, mussels, oysters, clams, etc.)
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 to 3 caps shiitake mushrooms (soaked if using dried mushrooms), thinly sliced
3 ounces Korean radish, mu, cut into short match sticks
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
2 – 3 scallions, finely chopped
(Mix all of the sauce ingredients together.)
Rinse the rice three times by swishing the rice, draining each time. Soak the rice for 20 to 30 minutes. This soaking process is very important for fluffy rice.
Drain to make sure the correct amount of water is added.
Clean the seafood, and drain well. Prepare the vegetables.
Place the rice in a heavy bottom pot, and add the water (or flavorful broth). Cover, and bring the rice to a full boil over high heat. This will take 4 to 5 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.
When the rice is done, gently fluff up the rice, evenly distributing the seafood and vegetables. Serve with the sauce on the side.