Korean Beef Rice Bowl

Last week was “Sneak zucchini onΒ  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. Terptek

    How many does the recipe portion serve? I need to make the recipe for 9, plus some leftovers the next day becuz it will be so good! Thanks, George

    1. SteamyKitchen

      For 9 hungry + leftovers, I’d triple the recipe. This recipe feeds 4 regular folk. πŸ˜‰

      I’d also divide ‘n cook this in 2 batches unless you have massive wok/pan

  2. eatingRD

    That looks comforting and tasty! I always seem to find ways with zucchini in my house but certainly never received any on my doorstep lol I second the one-bowl awesomeness.

  3. Tracy

    That looks fantastic! I’d crack an egg on top and pretend it was some sort of fancy new bibimbap I’d invented.

  4. Sue S

    I have leftover bulgogi in my frig right now- this is a great way to “use it up!” And you’re right! Rachael Ray’s got nothin’ on Koreans! πŸ™‚

  5. Terptek

    I think flank steak will work best from my previous experiences – I also recommend the 1 day marinading that you mention, especially for the flank steak πŸ™‚

  6. momgateway

    I make this (bibimbap dish) all the time but I add shredded scrambled egg (or sometimes sunny side up) as a topping and we eat it with Korean hot pepper paste a bit of sesame oil over the topping. Like you, we love the convenience of simple one bowl meals too!

  7. Debi(Table Talk)

    Zucchini is everywhere this time of year (though I haven’t found any on my doorstep yet), and this is a great way to incorporate a sometimes ho-hum vegetable into something special.
    My kind of fast food!

  8. Winnie

    This looks really great: think I’ll make it tonite. It’s only 8 something in the morning and I’m already a bit too excited for dinner…

  9. sara

    Yum City!! I’m definitely going to whip this up this weekend! One quick question – is it sacrilege to not use fresh ginger? I’ve only got crystallized on hand, but I can buy fresh if using crystallized is completely appalling πŸ™‚

  10. Kiy

    This looks *amazing*. I do wish I had a zucchini fairy though, that would rock. πŸ™‚

    I am so making this this weekend. Thanks!

  11. kathyj

    sara- I have used crystallized giner. Especially since this recipe calls for weetness from brown sugar, I woudl say from my experiecne, pieces chopped up would be ok. the amount might be different though.

  12. Kim in MD

    This looks amazing, Jaden! I love all of the flavors in this dish, and I can’t wait to make it for my family!

    For those commenters asking about the fresh ginger-I keep fresh peeled ginger in a Ziploc bag the freezer. It keeps for what seems like forever, so I always have it on hand. I also think it grates easier when it is frozen, which is an added bonus! πŸ™‚

  13. Connie

    Jaden – this is a cool recipe. Where and what’s the brand name of your ‘wok’, looks quite functional, unlike the conventional wok, assuming it’s non-stick?

    1. SteamyKitchen

      yes, it’s nonstick — I’m in love with it — it’s made by Scanpan the only nonstick pans I’ll ever use. I’ve worked w/Scanpan for several months last year.

  14. Cookin Canuck

    You trumped Rachael Ray in no time flat! I’ll bet your mysterious zucchini gifters are wishing they left a note so that they could be invited over for dinner.

  15. Cajun Chef Ryan

    Jaden, and you made it in 29.5 minutes, you go now!
    This beef and rice bowl is wonderful, I especially enjoy seeing fresh spinach in this one.

    Bon appetit!

  16. Alice from Someone Who Bakes

    Oh wow, that looks awesome!
    I’m a new food blogger and I just recently discovered your site (I know, where WAS I?), and I looove it! I am stoked to try your pho, I have been dying for some lately.
    Nice to “meet” you!

  17. Ray

    Hmm looks Yummy Jaden. I will definitely cook this dish and eat it with Sambal Oelek or perhaps Sriracha? OMG can’t wait. πŸ™‚

  18. Chris

    Sneak Zucchini day cracked me up because I just came from Greg Henry’s blog where he mentioned squash blossoms showing up on his door step last week, mysteriously and anonymously. I never heard of such.

    Love this one, Jaden. I have a single ribeye sitting in the fridge that I was contemplating how to use. This might be perfect.

    Have a great weekend!

  19. Brent

    Made this last night. Pretty dang good. The few minor things i changed was to add a dash of chili oil to the marinade and added some crimini muchrooms i had in the fridge. Otherwise recipe made it as documented here. The one thing i would recommend is cooking the beef in batches. If you don’t your going to be left with a pool of liquid in the bottom of the pan (like i did). I have a 16k BTU gas burner and was using a carbon steel flat bottom wok and still wasn’t enough. Other than that excellent recipe.

  20. rita

    that’s right! top rachael ray. what does she know about our asian dishes? i am so going to make this one, this week. definitely!

  21. bunkycooks

    This is my type of quick dinner and I love all the flavors. Sure beats takie outie when you want a one-bowl dish and I know this one is waaay tastier than a Rachael Ray recipe (should I have said that?!).

  22. JanieV

    Made this for dinner tonight with a little bit different vegetable selection (I am being overrun by green beans, pea pods and chard and am still awaiting the first zucchini). The flavor combination was amazing! My crew doesn’t usually empty the rice cooker but tonight they did! Thank you! Yum…

  23. Katie

    I couldn’t wait to try this recipe and finally made it for dinner tonight. The flavors were wonderful and I loved all the fresh veggies. My hubby wished there was more sauce to the dish because it was a little dry with all the rice. Any suggestions for a good complimentary sauce, tamari?

  24. Liz Shumpes

    Had some grass fed beef from our farmers market that I needed to cook and this sounded like something my 2 guys would love. I gave it a try adding some thai eggplant along with some thai chilies (also from the market that day) to spice it up a bit, and served it over brown rice. It got a thumbs up from everyone! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  25. NatashasKitchen.com

    Hi Jaden! I just finally made this and even though i ran out of garlic and had to use the powdered version (I know). And I ran out of soy sauce, well I forgot that when our fridge died while we were on vacation that we had to toss the soy sauce, so I used some soy sauce packets from panda express last night (double I know). Anyway, It turned out really good and I packed it for my husband for work. thanks!

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