September 20, 2022| By

Bulgogi Bowl

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
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These easy bulgogi bowls are super flavorful and tender. It's thinly sliced beef in a sweet and savory soy sauce marinade and eaten with fluffy white rice, spicy kimchi, a fried egg, and sliced fresh cucumber.

Top with extra green onions and sesame seeds for a delicious Korean-inspired dinner!

If you love this recipe, try my Crispy Chilli Beef for a quick and easy yet delicious meal!

Korean Bulgogi in a bowl with rice, cucumbers, a fried egg, and kimchi.

My husband LOVES Korean food and has been begging me to go to our local Korean Barbecue restaurant for the past week. Due to our hectic schedules, we simply haven't gotten around to it.

So I went to one of our local Asian grocery stores, picked up some slices of beef, and made these delicious and easy beef bulgogi bowls.

We had this for dinner twice this week and the leftovers taste even better than the initial dish!! The beef itself is super tender and so flavorful. It's spicy, slightly sweet and has a nice punch of garlic flavor in every bite. Place the beef on top of a bed of rice and you've got the perfect dish. All you need is a large skillet!

Next time you want to get Korean banchan but don't feel like leaving the house, give this Korean bulgogi recipe a try. I'm not saying it's better, but it definitely is delicious! This Korean-inspired meal is so good, you'll be making it all of the time!

What is bulgogi?

Bulgogi is a traditional Korean dish that literally translates to "fire meat". It consists thinly sliced sirloin steak and/or ribeye steak. It's typically marinated in a spicy sauce and then pan-fried. Bulgogi can also be chicken or pork but is typically made with tender strips of beef.

What Kind of Meat to Use

a bulgogi bowl on a table with chopsticks.

I purchased bulgogi meat from our local Asian market, however, if you're unable to find this pre-cut, you can use a 1 ½ lb of ribeye or sirloin steak. If you use a whole steak, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for an hour - this makes it easier to cut.

Remove the plastic wrap and use a sharp knife to slice as thinly as possible. Then continue with making the marinade. Of note - prior to cooking, allow the meat to come to room temperature. If need be, allow the meat to sit for 30 minutes before searing in the pan.

Bulgogi Sauce Ingredients

The beef marinade is the most important part of this recipe. If consists of:

  • Liquids: Soy sauce, mirin, apple juice, and sesame oil.
  • Aromatics: garlic and ginger.
  • Tenderizers: Pear and onion - the acids in the pear and onion help to tenderize the meat while adding tons of flavor!
  • Spices: brown sugar and gochujang (a Korean red pepper paste that's spicy and delicious!)

Substitutions

  • If you can't find bulgogi beef meat, you can use lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, or even plant-based ground meat (for a vegan option).
  • Some other meat options are thinly sliced flank steak or sirloin steak.
  • Watching your carbs? Use cauliflower rice instead. I tried this a few times and barely noticed the difference.

Tips

  • Allow the beef to marinate for at least 30 minutes. However, overnight is best! This gives the meat maximum flavor.
  • This is a really easy recipe is ideal for meal prep and the perfect weeknight meal. Simply sear the meat and add to a rice bowl and serve with your favorite toppings.
  • I used mild gochujang, however, if you prefer a spicy meal - get the hot version! To really kick it up a notch, add additional red pepper flakes!
  • Use a skillet with a good nonstick coating like Calphalon's Premier Nonstick Cookware. Their nonstick coating is impeccable and the pan are so durable and conduct heat really well, giving the bulgogi meat the perfect sear!

How to make Bulgogi

  • Start by making the bulgogi marinade. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, onion, ginger, an Asian pear, garlic cloves, gochujang, and apple juice in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Add bulgogi to a medium bowl and pour the marinade on top and then pour in 2 tbsp of sesame oil and mix together. Ensure every piece of sliced steak is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, however, for best results, overnight provides optimal flavor!
  • Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Place a few pieces of beef into the pan in a single layer - do not overcrowd the pan!
  • Cook the beef for 2-3 minutes per side, until you begin to see a little bit of browning (about 5-7 minutes total). These are thin strips so don't worry about cooking for long periods of time.
beef cooking in a pan.
  • Place beef on top of a bed of rice and garnish with any of your favorite fresh ingredients! We used fresh cucumbers, kimchi, sliced carrots, and an egg - it's a complete meal!
bulgogi bowl with chopsticks on a serving tray.

Notes: if you're making the ground beef version or ground meat of choice, no need to marinate the meat. Skip this step and simply pan fry the meat until it's cooked all the way through. A pound of ground beef is all you need.

Bulgogi Bowl Toppings

The options are limitless! Traditional Beef Bulgogi is served with rice and kimchi but you can add whatever you like! See below for some yummy ideas for toppings on your Korean Beef Bulgogi Bowls:

  • Leafy greens like bok choy
  • Shredded or Pickled Purple Cabbage
  • A fried egg
  • Carrots and Cucumbers
  • Kimchi

Recipe FAQs

What cut of meat is bulgogi?

Bulgogi is best made with rib-eye or sirloin steak but you can also ground beef, chicken, and even pork.

What does bulgogi taste like?

Bulgogi tastes savory, slightly sweet, and a little spicy depending on the ingredients.

What does bulgogi style mean?

Bulgogi style is thinly sliced meat that's been marinaded and then pan-seared until it's cooked all the way through.

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Korean Bulgogi in a bowl with rice, cucumbers, a fried egg, and kimchi.

Bulgogi Bowl

Bulgogi bowls are super flavorful thinly sliced beef in a sweet and savory marinade and eaten with rice, kimchi, a fried egg, and cucumber.
Serving: 4
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Marinade Time 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Calories: 526kcal

Equipment

  • Large Skillet
  • Food Processor
  • Mixing Bowls

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Bulgogi (thinly sliced Rib-Eye or Sirloin Steak)
  • cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsps Brown Sugar
  • 3 tbsps Mirin
  • ½ Sweet Onion
  • 2 tsp Ginger
  • 1 Asian Pear
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tbsps Gochujang (I used mild)
  • 2 tbsps Apple Juice
  • 2 tbsps Sesame Oil

For the Bowls

  • Rice
  • Kimchi
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Fried Egg
  • Picked Radishes
  • Sliced Carrots

Directions

  • Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, onion, ginger, pear, garlic, gochujang, and apple juice in a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
  • Add bulgogi meat to a large bowl and pour marinade on top. Then add sesame oil and mix everything together, ensuring all of the meat is coated.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, however, for best results, overnight provides optimal flavor!
  • Warm a large pan over medium-high heat. Place a few pieces of beef into the pan in a single layer - do not overcrowd the pan! Cook the beef for 2-3 minutes per side, until browned.
  • Place beef on top of a bed of rice and garnish with any of your favorite fresh ingredients! We used fresh cucumbers, kimchi, sliced carrots, and an egg.

Notes

Substitutions
  • If you can't find bulgogi beef meat, you can use lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, or even plant-based ground meat (for a vegan option).
  • Some other meat options are thinly sliced flank steak or sirloin steak.
  • Watching your carbs? Use cauliflower rice instead. I tried this a few times and barely noticed the difference.
Tips
  • Allow the beef to marinate for at least 30 minutes. However, overnight is best! This gives the meat maximum flavor.
  • This is a really easy recipe is ideal for meal prep and the perfect weeknight meal. Simply sear the meat and add to a rice bowl and serve with your favorite toppings.
  • I used mild gochujang, however, if you prefer a spicy meal - get the hot version! To really kick it up a notch, add additional red pepper flakes!
  • Use a skillet with a good nonstick coating like Calphalon's Premier Nonstick Cookware. Their nonstick coating is impeccable and the pan are so durable and conduct heat really well, giving the bulgogi meat the perfect sear!

Nutrition

Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 959mg | Potassium: 695mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Beef, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Asian-Inspired

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