“Mom!” Amaya yells when she walks in the door.
“What?” I pause, mid-click in my bibimbap pizza photo shoot.
“I want to try your ‘best pizza ever’,” she tells me and immediately starts reaching for a slice of meat.
I guess I’d been talking about it a bit too much. When I started looking ahead to Challenge #5 of Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog, I immediately started thinking pizza. Pizza is something I dream about. It’s like the culinary canvas.
I’ve had pizza in every country I’ve ever visited, and everyone makes it their own. That’s how versatile it is. Don’t get me wrong—I love a perfect Neapolitan slice. But, me, I can’t leave well enough alone. I make pizza often, and I usually subject everyone to my experimentation.
When our friends came over for dinner last week, one said, “Yep, this is Mariko pizza.”
The combinations that I’ve come up with will last me several good posts into the future. But one idea was my favorite. The one I kept calling the “best pizza ever.”
Amaya picked up on my vibe very quickly. She knows when I’m on the trail for food. I buy my ingredients, make notes in my book, bounce wacky ideas off Jake, and announce my food-making schedule.
When she got out the kid’s set for our “afternoon tea”, she handed me a slice of wooden bread. Animatedly, she offered, “Here you go. This is spicy corn on bread!”
I made a face. “I’m not sure if I want spicy corn on bread. That sounds nasty.”
“Try it,” she answered. “You’re going to love it!”
Hmmm. Is that really how I sound?
If kids are a pretty honest reflection of yourself, then my interest in food is definitely rubbing off on Amaya. As picky as she is, she gets that there is a world of taste out there, and she wants it. She gets that meals don’t have to be static repetitions of weeknight canned casseroles and eating out is a chance to try something new without having to do the dishes. She gets that being excited about food is an extension of the pleasure of taste.
This pizza is a recreation of bibimbap in pizza form. Bibimbap is a Korean dish of vegetables and meat on rice which is tossed and mixed with hot bean paste and a barely fried egg. It is a mix of flavors that work, however odd it sounds. The snap of vegetables, sweet sesame, spicy gochujang, salty meat, sour pickles, and soft rice each offer their individual and distinct treasures to your tongue and teeth. I am a huge fan of (read: obsessed with) stone bowl bap. In a stone bowl that has been heated, the flavors kind of cook together and sizzle while the rice becomes crisp on the edges. The rice crust I made on a pizza pan imitated that perfectly. The pizza sauce is a sweetened gochujang (hot bean paste) that mimics Korean fried chicken sauce recipes I’ve had. It brought the pizza together well. I stuck with common bap toppings and made my own namul (seasoned vegetables) to go with the bulgogi beef, egg, mushrooms, and cucumber. Baking the egg in the oven on the rice crust and sauce made it just right, as the yolk was hot and still able to mix well with my toppings as I loaded them on. The pizza sliced nicely and held together, but with all the toppings, you’ll want to eat this one with a fork, because you are likely more civilized than me. I still ate it with my hands and made the crust into a tool to wrap up the toppings, just like folding a New York slice.
View and Print the recipe(s) here:
- The whole recipe: The Bap’za
- Gochujang Sweet Pizza sauce
- Namul (soy bean sprouts and daikon/carrot)
If you want a slice of this pizza, vote for me by clicking my profile icon on the right sidebar starting on Monday the 18th. Thanks for visiting.