Korean Beef Rice Bowl

Last week was “Sneak zucchini on  your neighbor’s porch day” – and lo and behold, I got a few on my doorstep.

Except none of my neighbors have gardens.

It’s a complete mystery, and I appreciate the thoughtful gesture. I guess if anyone could find a use for zucchini on my block, it would be me. Though I’m hoping the kind gifter was not expecting me to make Zucchini Corn Dog.

Instead, the zucchini was made into a supporting role in this one-bowl Korean Beef Rice dish.

One bowl meals are awesome.

That means I can set the table in 10-seconds flat (everyone gets either a pair of chopsticks, fork or spoon — pick the weapon of your choice) and just 1 bowl to clean per person.

Thin slices of beef are marinated in a combo of soy, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger – the same marinade I use for Korean bulgogi. Because the beef is thin, the vegetables are small, it’s also a 29.5 minute meal.

One bowl, 29.5-minute meal that uses zucchini.

Top that, Rachael Ray!

How to make Korean Beef Rice Bowl

Here’s the marinade ingredients – soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger, garlic, brown sugar.

It’s important to cut the beef very small or very thin. It’s a one-bowl meal, remember? No knives. Either cut the beef into small pieces like this.

Or thin slices.

Marinate the beef while you cut the vegetables.

Zucchini, baby spinach, onions and carrots. Notice that the veg is also cut very small or very thin. They all gotta cook almost at the same time!

Start with a wok or large saute pan (frying pans don’t have high enough sides — you’ll end up flipping and tossing all your ingredients right outta your pan!)

Saute the onions.

Then add the beef. Stir-fry beef until just barely pink in middle.

Add the carrots and the zucchini.

Now add the spinach.

Toss it all about.

Once spinach has wilted, the carrots softened and zucchini cooked, it’s done. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

And serve over rice.


Korean Beef Rice Bowl

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes

You can use many types of beef, including ground beef, sirloin, flank steak, tenderloin trimmings -- or change this recipe to include other meats such as ground pork, ground turkey, chicken. If you want to go vegetarian, use very firm tofu, cut into cubes. The dish includes cooked rice - please feel free to use whatever rice you want - brown rice, jasmine rice, short grained rice. In a pinch, use basmati. Typical Korean style rice is short-grained. At the market, just look for "short-grained" or sushi rice. Different rice has different cooking times and rice:water ratios, so read the package directions carefully.


2 cups raw rice
1 pound beef (see headnote)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks (or 1 cup matchstick cut carrots)
1 small zucchini, diced
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds


1. Cook the rice according to package instructions. See How to Cook Perfect Rice recipe on Steamy Kitchen. If using basmati, see this recipe.

2. For the beef, if using flank steak: Cut the steak into very thin slices ACROSS the grain. If using other steak: Cut the steak into very small cubes, about 1/2-inch. If using ground beef: leave as-is.

3. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and brown sugar. Add the beef and toss to coat. Let marinate while you prep the vegetables. Steps 1 and 2 can be done ahead of time up to 1 day before.

4. Heat a large saute pan or wok on medium heat. When hot, swirl in the oil. Add the onions and saute for 1 minute. Turn the heat to high and give it just a few seconds to heat up. Add in the beef, spreading the beef all over the surface of the pan, tossing with the onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes until just barely pink.

5. Add in the carrots, zucchini and toss. Cook for 1 minute. Toss in the spinach and cook for an additional minute. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with rice.

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Comments 115

  1. Lynda

    I made this dish this week and my husband and I loved it! It’s a perfect meal, quick, delicious and fresh-what could be better. Thanks so much!

  2. Claudia

    I am making this as we “speak.” The aromas from the marinade and the vegetables are too good to pass up! I have a happy kitchen!

  3. Wendi

    I made this tonight. I marinaded the meat for 24 hours. Easy and delicious! I will definitely make this again.

  4. Stephan

    I was really disappointed with this recipe. It seriously lacked flavor… maybe if I am feeling ambitious one of these days, I will figure out how to season it well.

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  6. Grace

    Delish! And so easy!
    I used some left over salad and fried it in the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar (plus sesame seeds). I’ll add ginger next time.

    My salad mix: broccoli, red onion, red bell pepper, celery, flax seed*

    * since flax seed loses its nutritional value when heated, you can choose to sprinkle it over your dish when done

    – tossed in lemon juice/sugar mix

  7. Jenn

    What type of beef is recommended for this recipe? I always buy the wrong cut. Flank? Sirloin?

  8. Chanel Chu

    This looks delicious! i love korean food and i am definitely goin to try this at home with some kimchi.

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  10. Kaye

    Making this RIGHT NOW! I’m super lazy though…bought presliced ribeye from the Chinese market (the kind for hotpot). Hope it turns out!

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  12. BobT

    I made this for dinner last night using fresh ingredients from farms along our road, including the meat, and it turned out excellent. Many thanks for such a great idea. It’s a do-again.

  13. Roberta Westbrooks

    I will be making this ono dish for me and Skippy Jr. thanks for the receipe Mahalo.

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  15. erin

    thank you for sharing, this was so delicious. i made this recipe gluten free & it was a big hit. i linked to your blog and posted my gf version on my own: easleyerin.tumblr.com

  16. BaderMQ

    i want to try this recipe, BUT i cant find Zucchini in our local grocery stores.
    Can i replace it with Cucumber?


  17. melissa k.

    i added zucchini flowers and kimchi as condiments and color after plating. i used grass-fed chipped beef and also included radish in the vegetable medley. the final reult was something to admire.
    thank you for sharing the ease of wonderful food!

  18. Tekesha G.

    I made this last night for dinner, minus the rice, and it was amazing. I added fish sauce to the beef marinade, but other than that I followed the recipe exactly. It was a hit!! Very very good! It’s even good cold in the middle of the night. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  19. Kiva

    Just tried this recipe yesterday, it was delicious and won’t be the last time, i’m sure i’m going to make this again, again and again. Simple, easy and delicious. Great recipe when i don’t have much time. Agree with you, so fast. Thank you.

  20. Charity

    DELISH!! I have made this dish three times now and my family loves it. Very easy to make once everything is cut up. I made it for dinner for a group of ladies who were going on a mud run the next day. Great meal to serve for those who wanted to get their carbs and protein without going to heavy. Thanks for the recipe. It is definitely a keeper in our house.

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  23. Marcia

    Living in Tokyo is somewhat an expensive experience. Found Japanese soy sesame dressing in one of the local grocery store in Minato-ku. I used that to marinate my thin sliced beef, same method and veggies that the recipe called for, add a bit ginger powder and brown sugar. Boyfriend approved! Thank you for this wonder meal. Oishii!!

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  30. Sukie

    I made this tonight and it was a hit with my teen boys! I will double the marinade next time so there will be some as a sauce for the rice! So good.

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  33. Hajeebus

    This was a super simple and delicious recipe. Great with a bit of sriracha sauce as well!

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  35. Peter Morlon-McKenzie

    Second time to make this, Superb recipe. Don’t change a thing.
    Used my wife as a guinea pig the first time, then made it for friends. Everyone loved it.
    Following you and whatever else you will post.

  36. Britta

    Tried this tonight and it is easily my favorite of all the rice bowls I’ve tried. Theres just something magical about the way this all comes together into one cohesive dish. Love it! I find myself wanting to put toasted sesame seeds on all kinds of things now. 🙂

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