Beef bulgolgi bowls have quickly become a family favorite. Beef bulgogi is a delicious Korean-inspired recipe made with savory ground beef served over jasmine rice with shaved pickled fresh cucumber, shredded carrots, and fresh cilantro. It’s really easy to pull together and a complete meal with lots of fresh flavors. Patty and I make this once a week.
The sauce is comprised of mainly soy sauce and sesame oil. Two staples I highly recommend you always have in your pantry, especially if you’re a longtime K Swagger. The sauce is finished with brown sugar, garlic powder, ground (or fresh) ginger, and sriracha for additional flavor and spice. The beef is prepared the same way I make my irresistible sesame beef tacos.
‘Pickling’ Shaved Cucumbers
So this recipe calls for “pickled cucumbers.” Essentially we’re letting fresh cucumber quickly soak in white vinegar and a little sugar. A delicious summer side my mom always made growing up. The trick is to shave the cucumber using a potato peeler into thin long strips. A Y-shaped peeler works best for this. Stop when you reach the seeds/guts. It works best if you work on one side then rotate once you’ve reached the seeds.
Can Also Be Made with Thinly Sliced Beef
Bulgogi is traditionally made with thin slices of beef or pork. Shaved flank steak comes to mind as a perfect substitute if you don’t like ground beef or have any on hand. This would make the recipe more similar to my beef and broccoli. If you use flank steak, always remember to slice it against the grain for tenderness.
This recipe pairs well with my simple creamy lime sauce (sour cream, water, and lime juice) or any spicy aioli of sorts. Or if you’re like me you just top with additional sriracha. I have found that a nice creamy sauce helps bring out the flavor and adds a nice creamy texture. If you have time, I highly recommend the simple creamy lime sauce.
More Asian-Inspired Recipes
- Beef and broccoli
- Sweet and spicy chicken and broccoli bowls
- Hibachi-style fried rice
- Sesame beef tacos
- Orange cauliflower
- Grilled honey sriracha chicken
- Hibachi chicken
Beef bulgogi bowls is a delicious Korean-inspired recipe made with savory ground beef served over jasmine rice with shaved pickled cucumber, shredded carrots, and fresh cilantro.
- 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
- 2 cups (uncooked jasmine or basmati rice)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon table sugar
- 1–2 green thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish
- 1–2 tablespoons Canola/vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Dash sriracha
Creamy Lime Sauce (Optional)
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1–2 tablespoons water
- Squeeze of fresh lime juice
- Remove the skin from the cucumber using a peeler and discard. Using the peeler, shave the cucumber into long thin strips until you just reach the seeds (a little is OK). Rotate the cucumber to a fresh side and continue to shave. Repeat on all 4 sides. Toss in a small bowl with sugar and vinegar until well coated and set aside.
- Thinly slice green onion and set aside. Prep the sesame sauce by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir and set aside. If making the creamy lime sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Add additional water to thin if needed. Should be runny enough to drizzle. Cook the rice according to the package, keep warm.
- Meanwhile, heat cooking oil in a medium/large pan on medium-low heat. Add carrots and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a bowl and set aside. Turn the heat up to medium heat and add a dash more oil and add ground beef. Use the tip of a spatula to break into small granular chunks. Cook until fully cooked through and nicely browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Drain excess fat from the pan if desired. Add the sesame sauce and mix with the beef until evenly distributed. Let slightly caramelize until beef is browned, 1-2 minutes.
- Serve beef over rice topped with shredded carrots, pickled cucumber, and fresh cilantro (stems are edible). Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion. Serve with sriracha and optional creamy lime sauce.
Steps 1-2 are mainly prep and can all be done 1-2 hours in advance if preferred (except the rice of course).
- Serving Size: 1/4 or 1 bowl (no sauces)
- Calories: 710
- Sugar: 7.1g
- Sodium: 422mg
- Fat: 28.9g
- Saturated Fat: 9g
- Carbohydrates: 73.1g
- Fiber: 2.2g
- Protein: 36g
- Cholesterol: 100mg
Keywords: beef bulgogi bowls, korean beef bowls