Weeknight Dinner Staple: Korean Beef Bowls

Korean beef bowl
Last year, while in California for work, my boyfriend went to a Korean restaurant with some co-workers. He came home from the trip raving about some beef bowl he tried and how fresh it tasted.

Not familiar with Korean cuisine, I suggested that maybe we could find something similar at a restaurant here in Buffalo. He assured me there was no need for that; they’d be simple to make at home. My skepticism almost got the best of me, but as usual, he was right. Korean beef bowls have been in our dinner menu rotation since.

For our version of the beef bowl, we decided to use a stir-fry marinade we loved from our favorite cookbook, Joy of Cooking. So, while this might not be the most authentic Korean dish, it was, at least, inspired by one.

The first time we made them, I looked at my bowl and my garlic-loving brain thought, “There’s nothing to this! How will it have any flavor?!” Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. The marinade, sriracha, and sesame oil add a lot of character to the rice and fresh vegetables. The combination of flavors is unique, and one of I’ve now found myself craving often.

Another thing I love about this dish is how light it tastes. You won’t be left feeling stuffed and ready for bed immediately after dinner. (Though, I’m admittedly exhausted after dinner no matter what I’ve eaten.)

All in all, when the most time consuming part of preparing dinner is cooking some rice, it’s an easy meal. Bonus points when it’s delicious and healthy, too. Thanks for the inspiration, Sunny Bowl!


(feeds 2 or 3)

  • 1 lb. sirloin steak, cut into thin strips (You can sometimes buy it pre-sliced for stir fry, like at Wegmans.)
  • 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • Sesame oil and sriracha for topping

For marinade:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


If steak needs to be cut, slice across the grain into thin strips. Whisk together marinade ingredients and add beef; marinate for at least 20 minutes. Cook rice while beef is marinating.

Cook beef in marinade; stir fry quickly over medium high heat until beef is medium rare, only a few minutes. Length of time until done will depend on the thickness of your steak. Let it rest under foil until medium, or cook to your desired doneness.

Add cooked rice to bowl first. On top of rice, in four sections, add steak, carrots, lettuce, and cucumber strips. Over top, liberally drizzle sesame oil and sriracha to taste.

{Stir fry marinade recipe from Joy of Cooking.}