Kid-friendly Brilliant Korean Bibimbap in a Mug + Sesame Crunchies + Fresh Banana Milk for One Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Brilliant Korean Bibimbap in a Mug + Sesame Crunchies + Fresh Banana Milk for One

Family Meal Plan: Brilliant Korean Bibimbap in a Mug + Sesame Crunchies + Fresh Banana Milk for One

Brilliant Korean Bibimbap in a Mug + Sesame Crunchies + Fresh Banana Milk for One

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Ezume Images/
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
3 minutes
1-1 servings

Fun Food Story

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Brilliant Korean Bibimbap in a Mug + Sesame Crunchies

Bibimbap (BEE-bim-bap). It is fun to say and just sort of rolls off the tongue. My first taste of Bibimbap was one I'll never forget. I ate it at a Korean restaurant in the downtown Denver area. I was so utterly impressed when I found out from our wonderful, creative, adventurous neighbors, Scott and Emily, that Bibimbap is one of their go-to dinners for the family—the kind of dinner that you can throw together, everyone loves, and that you always have ingredients on hand for. When we made this at home, my kids topped their rice with a million veggies, then they mixed in the sauce, broke up the fried egg, and gleefully demolished their creation. Want to hear the best part? You can use the odds and ends in your refrigerator, so your leftover vegetables have a purpose. 

In the Korean household, Bibimbap is a traditional way of using day-old rice and leftovers, serving it cold in the summer and hot in the winter. And the kids love to prepare this dish! Sticky Fingers Cooking has found that when kids are involved in the decisions and preparations of a recipe, they will eat it. It is not an exaggeration to say that banana milk is one of the most popular drinks in Korea. So we will make our own banana milk (see recipe) to round out our Korean feast. Have fun at home while you and your kids learn about the art of Korean food and fall in love with the wonderful flavors!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 1 ripe banana **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 white or cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 small carrot or 3 baby carrots
  • 1 C whole milk **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 egg **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 3/4 C microwavable rice
  • 1 tsp soy sauce **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 to 2 small nori seaweed sheets **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 dash ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp gochujang, optional **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 C ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • crack :

    to break open or apart a food to get what's inside, like an egg or a coconut.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • microwave :

    to heat or cook food or liquid quickly in a microwave oven, which uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves to generate heat in the food's water molecules.

  • mince :

    to chop into teeny tiny pieces.

  • peel :

    to remove the skin or rind from something using your hands or a metal tool.

  • pour :

    to cause liquid, granules, or powder to stream from one container into another.

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

Equipment Checklist

  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Drinking glass
  • Microwave
  • Microwave-safe mug
  • Potholder
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife (a butter knife works great)
  • Cereal bowls (2)
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Metal spoon
  • Paper towel or dish towel
  • Clean pair of kid scissors
  • Soap for cleaning hands


Brilliant Korean Bibimbap in a Mug + Sesame Crunchies

  • 1/2 small carrot or 3 baby carrots
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 2 white or cremini mushrooms
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 green onion
  • 3/4 C microwavable rice
  • 1 tsp soy sauce **(for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil **(for SESAME ALLERGY sub nut-free oil, like olive or vegetable)**
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds **(for SESAME ALLERGY sub pepitas or sunflower seeds)**
  • 1 egg **(Omit for EGG ALLERGY or sub 1/4 C firm tofu, if no soy allergy present)**
  • 1 to 2 small nori seaweed sheets **(Omit for SHELLFISH ALLERGY)**
  • 1/2 tsp gochujang, optional **(Omit for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY)**

Fresh Banana Milk for One

  • 1 ripe banana **(for BANANA ALLERGY sub 1 ripe pear or 1 C frozen berries or peaches)**
  • 1/2 C ice
  • 1 C whole milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 dash ground cinnamon

Food Allergen Substitutions

Brilliant Korean Bibimbap in a Mug + Sesame Crunchies

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce. Omit optional gochujang (Korean red pepper paste).
  • Soy: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce. Omit optional gochujang (Korean red pepper paste).
  • Sesame: Substitute a nut-free oil, like olive or vegetable, for sesame oil. Substitute pepitas or sunflower seeds for sesame seeds.
  • Egg: Omit or substitute 1/4 C firm tofu (if no soy allergy is present) for 1 egg. 
  • Shellfish: Omit the nori seaweed topping.

Fresh Banana Milk for One

  • Banana: For 1 banana, substitute 1 ripe pear or 1 C frozen berries or peaches.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk.


Brilliant Korean Bibimbap in a Mug + Sesame Crunchies

slice + chop + mince

Slice 1/2 carrot into thin coins. Chop 1/4 red bell pepper and 2 mushrooms into bits. Mince 1 garlic clove into tiny pieces. Slice 1 green onion into thin pieces and set aside for garnish.

add + measure + mix

Add the carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms, and garlic to a cereal bowl. Measure and add 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and mix everything together. Add 3/4 cup of microwavable rice to your mug, then the chopped veggies with sauce.

measure + add + stir

Measure and add 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds to the same cereal bowl and stir to coat in any remaining sauce. Set this bowl aside (these are your Sesame Crunchies!).

cover + microwave + crack

Cover your mug with a dish towel or damp paper towel and microwave on high for 1 minute. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl while you wait (check for shells!). Carefully remove the mug with a potholder and slide the egg on top of the veggies.

cover + microwave + check

Cover the mug again and microwave on high for another minute. Check the egg: if it’s not cooked, cover and microwave for another 30 seconds. Check again. Finish cooking for 30 seconds if the egg needs it. The egg white should be fully set. Let stand for 30 seconds before removing from the microwave with a potholder.

cut + top + eat

Use a clean pair of scissors to cut 2 nori seaweed sheets into thin strips. Top mug with the nori seaweed strips, sliced green onion, and Sesame Crunchies, and eat! Careful: it will be hot!

Fresh Banana Milk for One

peel + measure + blend

Peel 1 ripe banana and drop it into your blender. Measure and add 1/2 cup ice, 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons honey, and 1 dash of ground cinnamon.

blend + pour

Blend until thick and smooth. Pour into a drinking glass and shout "Cheers!" in Korean: "Geonbae!" (KAHN-bay).

Surprise Ingredient: Sesame!

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Photo by Sea Wave/

Hi! I'm Sesame!

"I can be a seed or an oil pressed out of a sesame seed. Sesame oil is used in Asian cooking, but it is a healthy oil you can also use to dress and cook other foods. You can find sesame seeds in Asian dishes, like Bibimbap, in salads, on the tops of hamburger buns, in chips, crackers, and even cakes!"

  • Sesame seeds are believed to be one of the oldest oilseed crops in the world. Many species of sesame grew wild in Africa. The sesame plant was domesticated about 5,500 years ago in the Indian subcontinent. 
  • The ancient Egyptians may have grown sesame as early as 1600 BCE or as late as 30 BCE.
  • Ancient Romans cooked with sesame seeds and made a spread of ground sesame seeds and cumin.
  • In India, sesame seeds symbolize immortality and are used in sacred rituals. During funerals, Indians offer vases of sesame to help the dead pass to the afterlife. Indians also burn sesame oil in votive offerings because they consider it sacred.
  • The word "sesame" comes from late Middle English, from the Latin "sesamum" and Greek "σήσαμον: sēsamon," from an ancient Semitic language, like Akkadian, "šamaššamu."
  • Sudan produces the most sesame seeds worldwide, followed by Myanmar, Tanzania, and India. Japan imports the most sesame. They primarily use the oil from the seeds in their cooking. 
  • Sesame is a hardy crop. It can survive a drought, high heat, and heavy rain.
  • Sesame seeds can be white, tan, brown, red, or black. We generally see white and black sesame seeds. White seeds are mild, while black seeds taste more intense and visually striking. 
  • Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is added to dressings or sauces and can be added to spreads, such as hummus and baba ghanoush.
  • You can make your sesame milk by soaking sesame seeds in water overnight and blending until smooth. Strain with a cheesecloth before serving.
  • Sesame seeds are a rich source of natural antioxidants, protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc. They benefit your immune system and contribute to healthy blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Sesame seeds can trigger allergic reactions. If you have a sesame allergy, food, cosmetic, and skin-care product labels should be carefully checked for sesame. Cross-reaction with nut allergies is also possible.

History of Bibimbap!

Photo by mnimage/
  • Bibimbap is pronounced "BEE-bim-bap" and translates to "mixed rice."
  • There are a variety of legends regarding the origins of this Korean dish. One is that farmers, who were poor and worked very hard, would eat rice with different vegetables that could quickly be mixed in a large bowl for communal feeding. Another story says that after ancestor ceremonies, which required the preparation of fruits, vegetables, rice cakes, fish, and other foods to express their "thanks" to their ancestors, the people would combine leftovers from that labor-intensive meal to create simple meals. Finally, there is the theory that there was no time for food preparation during uprisings and battles, so they mixed rice with whatever foods were handy to create a meal.  
  • Koreans still eat bibimbap as part of the "jesa" ceremony. Families prepare a spread of dishes to offer to their ancestors and then sit down to share the meal. Afterward, there are leftover small dishes, and bibimbap becomes like a post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, a way to use leftovers and extend the celebration.  
  • The dish contains rice at the bottom of a bowl, and you can top it with "namul," seasoned and sautéed vegetables, or "kimchi," fermented vegetables. Then a sweet-spicy red pepper paste, soy sauce, or a fermented soybean paste comes next. Finally, add a fried egg and strips of dried seaweed (nori). The vegetables change according to the season and may include radish, cucumber, bean sprouts, seasonal greens, and mushrooms.
  • You can also make bibimbap with different proteins depending on where the dish is eaten within the country. For example, seafood is a common addition in coastal areas.
  • Bibimbap ingredients are rich in Korean symbolism, based on Chinese philosophy. For black or dark colors representing the kidneys, use shiitake mushrooms, bracken ferns, nori seaweed, or soy sauce. For red or orange representing the heart, use chili, carrots, jujube dates, or gochujang red pepper paste. Green stands for the liver, and you would use cucumber and spinach. For white, symbolic of the lungs, use bean sprouts, radish, and rice. And finally, yellow represents the stomach, and you can use foods like potato or egg.

Let's Learn About South Korea!

  • South Korea is officially named the Republic of Korea. It is a separate country from North Korea. This is because North and South Korea were divided into two countries during the Korean War in the 1950s. 
  • South Korea has a day dedicated to celebrating their children: May 5th. A children's book author started it because he wanted Korean children to have a sense of independence and national pride. It was designated a national holiday in 1975. On this day, cities and towns celebrate with parades, and children receive free admission to many movies, zoos, and theme parks. 
  • Literacy is high—98 percent of Korean adults can read! The alphabet of the Korean language is called Hangul. King Sejong the Great created it in 1443 to increase literacy. Korea's previous alphabet was Hanja or Han Chinese Characters. Today, Hangul is considered one of the most efficient alphabets in the world.  
  • Seoul, the capital city, has a population of about 10 million, densely packed into a small area. Many people live in high-rise apartments.
  • Koreans have two New Year's Days. In addition to January 1st, Koreans also celebrate the Lunar New Year in February.
  • The Korean martial art taekwondo is the national sport. Unsurprisingly, Koreans have won the most Olympic gold medals in taekwondo.
  • Korean babies are considered one year old on the day they are born, then add another year on New Year's Day. Historically, Koreans have not celebrated their birthdays on the day they were born; instead, they celebrate turning one year older collectively on New Year's Day. 
  • Parents hold a party on a baby's first birthday and place several objects on a table to let the child pick their favorite. Whatever the child chooses is believed to predict their future or a dominant personality trait. For example, if the child picks up a book, they are destined to be smart; if the child picks up money, they will be wealthy; if the child picks up food, they will not be hungry; and if the child picks up the thread, they will live a long life.
  • Koreans are very in tune with their bodies, eat the right amount of food, and focus on nutrition. The temperature of their food matters to them. Koreans follow Eastern Asian medicine principles: on the hottest days of the summer, it's traditional to eat boiling chicken ginseng soup! The rationale behind it? There shouldn't be a sharp contrast between a person's body temperature and one's food—or else, your stomach will get upset.
  • Kimchi, the nation's favorite dish eaten at almost every meal, is made by fermenting vegetables, fruit, and even oysters. It is said to help prevent the flu. Kimchi becomes more sour and potent the longer it sits. There are 250 different kinds of kimchi! 
  • During autumn, Korean families come together to make enough kimchi to last several months, sharing with neighbors, friends, and family. This holiday is called Kimjang. 
  • Korean adults eat seaweed soup on their birthdays for good luck, long life, and to honor their mothers. Women who have just given birth also have the soup as it is rich in minerals and nutrients. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in South Korea?

  • South Koreans treasure children, and family is very important. They teach kids to respect parents and elders. It is a custom for kids and adults to take their shoes off when they enter the home.
  • Many parents have high expectations for their kids' education. Middle and high school kids have long days at school that last from 8 am until 5 pm, and then they may have extra school, tutoring, and homework until 10 pm or later.
  • Computer games are extremely popular with South Korean kids. However, they may also play some traditional games. One game is "gonggi" (KON-chee). It is similar to "jacks" but played with small genuine or plastic stones. One of the tricks is to land the stone on the back of your hand after picking it up and throwing it in the air. Another game is "jegichagi," played alone or with other players by kicking a paper "jegi" (like a badminton shuttlecock) in the air and trying to keep it aloft.
  • Some of the sports kids participate in are football (soccer), baseball, golf, skiing, ice skating, and taekwondo, a martial art. In addition, they like music, especially K-pop music (Korean pop).
  • Children learn "nunchi" (noon-chee) by three years old. The literal translation is "eye-measure" and could also be called emotional intelligence. Kids learn to be aware of their environment, observe people and situations, quickly discern another person's mood, read a situation correctly, and respond accordingly. Nunchi helps a person navigate their world in a caring and intelligent way throughout their life. 
  • Kids have rice with just about every meal. They will eat it with eggs, fish, or another protein for breakfast. They may have "ramyeon," which is like "ramen," a Japanese noodle soup, or more rice and protein for lunch. Desserts made with sweet rice or red beans are popular. For example, kids may have "bingsu," shaved ice often topped with sweet red beans and sweetened condensed milk, or "bungeo-ppang," a fish-shaped pastry filled with sweetened red bean paste, pastry cream, or chocolate and cooked like a waffle.

Lettuce Joke Around

What kind of key opens a banana? 

A mon-key!

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the spoon say to the bibimbap when they first met? 

It’s rice to meet you!

That's Berry Funny

What did the bulgogi sauce say to the tofu? 

"I’m soy into you!"

The Yolk's On You

What did the Bibimbap say to the chef? 

"Rice to meet you!"

The Yolk's On You

Why are bananas never lonely? 

Because they hang around in bunches!

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a cow that doesn’t give milk?

A milk dud!

Lettuce Joke Around

What did mama cow say to baby calf?

It’s pasture bedtime.

That's Berry Funny

How do you make a milkshake?

Give a cow a pogo stick!

That's Berry Funny

What would you call two banana skins? 

A pair of slippers.

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