My delicious rice bowl tried to kill me. WITH EXPLOSIONS!

One of my favorite lunchy things is dolsot bibimbap– basically a Korean rice bowl. You take a special granite bowl, wipe down the inside with sesame oil, and pack it full of rice. All sorts of veggies are arrayed on top. You put the lid on, and cook it directly over a flame for maybe 10 minutes or so until the bowl has heated up and the rice against the bowl forms this toasty, crunchy crust. Open it up, stir in an egg (which cooks from the heat of the bowl) and some red pepper paste, and you have your DELICIOUS RICE BOWL.

When it is not also a vengeful rice bowl.

I made one today. I carry it over to the table and stir in my red pepper paste (I handled the egg at the stove). I get up to get a glass of water. I hear popping sounds coming from the bowl. As I approach, there is one really loud POP, like a firecracker, and little blobs of rice and veggies go flying in a one-foot radius.

So curse you, my murderous delicious rice bowl! I’m sitting here eating you with safety goggles now!
But, seriously, does anyone know what’s making the explosions and how to get it to not happen again? I’m guessing it’s a steam explosion caused by the red pepper paste or one of the other ingredients (I had sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, sauteed yellow squash, and blanched spinach, though that had been allowed to drip-dry pretty thoroughly), but I’m not sure what there is to do in the way of prevention.

You shall not win this one, you haunted little rice bowl you!!!

Microwave longer on a lower setting. A lot of people let the oven default to its highest power setting, which is fine when it’s a 750-1000W dorm oven. When you get a higher-powered one, it’s essential to choose an appropriate power level. For 100% liquid that can’t scorch (e.g., water), high is fine. Sloshy stuff, cut to about 75% power. Dense stuff like soup, chili or your rice bowl, 50%.

Besides not overcooking stuff on the edges and making the bowl bubble vigorously and thus make a mess, the slower cook time will mean more even heating without scorching and cold spots. It’s all win if you can just be patient a couple of more minutes (minutes you won’t spend cleaning up or heating an unevenly cooked dish again).

Snap – Crackle – Pop! indeed.

Did you cook it in the microwave, over an open flame or heat it in an oven. Have you used it that way before?

Having dealt with my share of exploding kitchenware, I can testify that all it takes is a microscopic scratch on an otherwise perfectly glazed surface, either on the inside or outside.

To clarify: I did this in a granite bowl (dolsot) heated directly on the stove with a gas flame for ca. 10 minutes. The bowl isn’t glazed or anything; in fact, it’s somewhat porous. I coated the inside with a thin layer of sesame oil before the rice or vegetables went in.

I’ve done this several times before. Some degree of popping seems to be common, but not ubiquitous, for both such bowls I own. This is the first time there has been a kaboom.

The OP doesn’t sound as if he was using a microwave. In fact I dunno whether granite ever goes in a microwave ( but then I’ve never used a microwave in my life ).
Bad little bowl ! Bad !

Now I have a new recipe to try. Thanks!

Sorry, I misread the OP and there was a slight omission of detail as well. :slight_smile:

Is granite considered stove-top safe? I wouldn’t think so. The only equivalent is tempered glass, which is a special case. Natural materials would have just enough flaws and variations that I’m surprised such a bowl would survive even a single stove-top experience.

In any case, the problem is localized and trapped steam formation. With that much heat mass, the bowl could keep liquid at a boil for several minutes.

I’d let it sit on a cool burner top for a few minutes, preferably covered, before putting it within face range.

This sounds both a) delicious and b) easy. I am intrigued, provided we can adequately assure it is not also c) suicidal.

I don’t know the answer to your question, except to suggest one of the ingredients had too much water in it. However, after googling around for dolsot and bibimbap recipes, and now I want one of these homicidal granite bowls. Very much!

In general when working with rock if you start with the rock cold, and the burner cold/low flame and gradually increase the heat as the rock heats up you won’t suffer thermal shock making stuff go bang.

Even when it’s very well-drained, spinach and other greens like kale hold a TON of water until they’re actually cooked over a flame (there’s much less water loss when they’re just steamed). A large bag cooks down to almost nothing in a skillet or wok, and that volume loss includes a lot of water.

Some of the water in the spinach may have violently turned to steam when it hit the hot bowl and especially the heated oil. Water + hot oil is guaranteed to create splatters, add in the hot bowl and you’ve got fireworks.

Just a theory, BTW, but it makes sense to me. Try it without the spinach.

Producing steam isn’t the problem-- Anything edible to humans will produce steam when heated. The problem is accumulating steam. Something was keeping the steam from escaping for a little while, long enough for it to make an explosion when it did escape. My guess is that it was the egg, but it might have been the chili paste.

I’m not sure what would have made this time different from all the other times you (and others) have made bi bim bob, though.

Stirring or at least shaking the contents (if he doesn’t want to open the lid) would seem to be the solution in that case. Let the steam out before it has a chance to build up.