Korean Beef Bowls are bursting with flavor, budget friendly and on your table in less than 30 minutes!
WHAT IS KOREAN BEEF?
Korean beef is thinly sliced beef that is marinated in a soy based marinade with brown sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and Gochujang. We are going to take this same flavor profile and create a luxurious sauce instead of a marinade to create our Ground Beef Korean Beef Bowls that are every bit as juicy without all the work!
Easy Korean Beef Bowls
After just one bite you’ll be swooning over the rich, juicy, saucy beef, the crisp tender veggies and light and fluffy rice. It’s basically Asian comfort food at its easiest. It is SO easy, in fact, it is my go-to last minute dinner. All you do is brown your beef, whisk in some sauce, stir fry veggies and use leftover rice or I always use rice cooker rice. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry and and you can use whatever veggies you have on hand.
How do you Make Korean Beef Bowl Sauce?
- Soy sauce: Use low sodium soy sauce and then you can salt your Korean Bowls to taste. I don’t think the sauce needs extra salt but I do like to season my rice.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is needed to offset the earthiness of the soy sauce. Use 3 tablespoons of brown sugar if using 3 tablespoons Gochujang (to balance more heat), use 2 tablespoons brown sugar if using 2 tablespoons Gochujang.
- Rice wine: Rice wine is NOT rice vinegar– DO NOT switch them out. Rice wine adds a sweetness and depth of flavor while also tenderizing the beef. Rice vinegar, on the other hand will add an acidic flavor. I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for. The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry.
- Sesame oil: Sesame oil is made with sesame seeds and infuses the sauce with a slight nutty sesame taste. If you don’t own sesame oil, you can skip it, but I think it is worth keeping stocked.
- Ginger: I love fresh ginger, but you can substitute a heaping ½ teaspoon ground ginger and whisk it directly into the Korean sauce.
- Garlic: You may substitute 1 teaspoon ground ginger and whisk it directly into the sauce.
- Gochujang: Gochujang is the secret ingredient that makes these Korean Bowls not only “Korean” but lick the bowl delicious – more on Gochujang below.
WHAT IS GOCHUJANG AND WHERE CAN I BUY IT?
I have talked about Gochujang in my Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs and is absolutely essential in these Korean Beef Bowls. It’s a Korean condiment that can easily be found in the Asian section of your grocery store – so don’t be shy about adding it to your ingredient staples!
Gochujang is savory, sweet and spicy. It is made from red chilies, glutinous rice (doesn’t actually contain gluten but means it’s very sticky) and soybeans. It’s both complex in flavor and milder in heat (compared to other chili pastes), making it perfect to elevate any meat, chicken or veggies. Once you taste its complex sweet heat, I guarantee you are going to be reaching for this flavor bursting condiment to dress up practically everything!
I use Annie Chun’s Sweet and Spicy Gochujang Sauce located in the Asian section of my grocery store, but you can also purchase it on Amazon. I do recommend looking to see what Annie Chun’s Gochujang Sauce looks like so you can easily spot it (not an affiliate, just to make your life easier).
I think Gochujang is completely worth keeping stocked in your pantry but if you need to make these Korean Beef Bowls right NOW and don’t have Gochujang, then add some of your favorite Asian chili sauce to taste. But next time, spring for the Gochujang, it makes difference!
How Do You Make Korean Beef Bowls?
These Korean Beef Bowls with Veggies only take 20-30 minutes to make!
- First, whisk together your Korean Sauce ingredients of soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and Gochujang then set aside.
- Brown your beef and onion, then add your garlic and ginger.
- Add the Korean Sauce and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the Korean Beef to a simmer for 5-10 minutes or until reduced and thickened.
- Once the sauce has thickened, taste and customize. Add additional Gochujang for spicier or brown sugar for sweeter.
- Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
- Next, we saute our veggies. I used zucchini, thinly sliced carrots and red bell peppers but this recipe is perfect to clean out your fridge and use whatever veggies you want. Stir fry 2-3 minutes then layer your bowls with rice/quinoa, Korean beef and veggies.
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Korean Beef Bowls with Veggies
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/4 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 4-5 cups cooked rice/quinoa, sprialized veggies
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 large zucchini, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- *may add or substitute different vegetables
- green onions
- chili paste
- sesame seeds
- Whisk together Korean Sauce in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Brown beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and sauté an additional 30 seconds. Drain off any excess fat.
- Add Korean Sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes or until reduced and thickened. Taste and add chili paste for spicier, brown sugar for sweeter. Remove from skillet but do not wipe out.
- Add one teaspoon oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, carrots and red bell peppers (or other desired vegetables) and stir fry 2-3 minutes or to your desired crisp-tenderness.
- Layer 4 bowls with rice/quinoa and top with Korean beef and vegetables.
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