Korean Rice Bowls

Rice bowls get a new twist by using delicious Korean flavors. Add some lettuce leaves so you can make fun lettuce wraps from your bowls at the table! This post is sponsored by Pompeian.

Everybody loves rice bowls for dinner, right? Give yours a new twist by using delicious Korean flavors, and add some lettuce leaves so you can make fun lettuce wraps from your bowls at the table!

Using Korean Flavors

I want to stay healthy and to explore interesting flavors and not just depend on the same old standbys. One trend that I’ve been noticing, and loving, is the use of Korean flavors in dishes. All those sweet spices are really unbelievable and surprisingly easy to get in your own kitchen. It’s a play on salty, sweet, sour, and spicy with fresh crunchy vegetable flavors in the mix too.

I decided to try my hand at making some beef strips with a Korean-inspired marinade and dipping sauce. I served the beef on a rice bowl. Think of a Tex-Mex rice bowl like you’d get at Chipotle, but this one has Korean flavors instead. In the bowl, I also included some whole lettuce leaves so that I can make some little lettuce wraps with the ingredients as I eat. I love lettuce wraps!

Making the Beef Strips and Rice Bowls

Everybody loves rice bowls for dinner, right? Give yours a new twist by using delicious Korean flavors, and add some lettuce leaves so you can make fun lettuce wraps from your bowls at the table!

First, cook 1 and 1/2 cups rice according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, measure the marinade ingredients into a 13×9″ cake pan. There’s 1/4 cup of soy sauce going in. I prefer a reduced sodium version or tamari, which is a Japanese style of soy sauce that has no or very little gluten. It is also less salty in flavor.

And 1/4 cup of olive oil goes in there too, for richness and flavor.

There’s a little bit of fish sauce in there too. Just 1 tablespoon. This stuff is intensely flavored so you want to tread lightly. But try not to leave it out. It adds so much meaty flavor to the dish.

And here’s the vinegar… 1/4 cup.

Finally, there’s 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar to sweeten everything up.

Whisk that together with a fork until the brown sugar is dissolved or mostly dissolved.

Pour 1/4 cup of the marinade into a separate bowl. To the marinade that remains in the cake pan, add 2 pounds of beef strips. I use the beef strips that are sold already sliced. At my store they’re top round. Note that the meat will be more tender and delicious if you buy a nice steak and slice it yourself but that’s much more time-consuming and expensive. I want this meal to easily fit into your busy weeknight routine.

Toss the beef strips in the marinade to coat and set aside for now.

To the marinade that you poured into a bowl, stir 2 tablespoons of Gochujang. Gochujang is a Korean fermented condiment (fermentaiton is a big thing in Korean cooking). It’s simultaneously savory, sweet, and spicy. It’s made from chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybean powder, barley malt powder, and salt. It’s sold at my grocery store in the Ethnic Food aisle near the soy sauce and chili pastes.

Set this bowl of sauce aside to serve as a dipping or pouring sauce later.

Cut a head of broccoli into florets.

Slice 8 ounces of mushrooms.

Into a large skillet set over medium-high heat, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, softened to your liking, and slightly darkened in places, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Into the skillet still over medium-high heat, measure an additional 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

Once the oil is hot, add half of the beef strips along with any liquid that clings to them. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Transfer to a plate along with any juices. Then add more olive oil to the pan and cook the remaining beef strips. Discard any marinade left in the cake pan. Transfer cooked beef strips to the plate of cooked beef strips.

How to Assemble the Rice Bowls

Assemble the Korean Rice Bowls by lining one side of bowls with butter lettuce leaves and the other side with rice. Then top with beef strips, broccoli and mushrooms, green onion, and black sesame seeds. Serve with the Gochujang dipping sauce that you made on the side. This sauce is great drizzled onto a lettuce leaf and then topped with rice, beef, broccoli and mushrooms. Roll up lettuce leaf and eat burrito style. Yum!

And here’s the instructions in printable form:



Korean Rice Bowls

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings


The lettuce leaves lining the bowls are perfect for making lettuce wraps as you eat. Take a leaf of lettuce and drizzle some of the gochujang dipping sauce into it. Top it with some rice, beef, and veggies then roll it up burrito style and take a bite!


  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup + 6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 2 lbs. thinly sliced beef, like top round
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets and stems peeled and sliced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 18 butter lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. black sesame seeds


  1. Cook the rice according to package instructions. When done, fluff with a fork and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
  2. Meanwhile, into a 13×9″ cake pan measure the soy sauce, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and fish sauce. Whisk with a fork until brown sugar is mostly dissolved.
  3. Into a small bowl, pour 1/4 cup of the soy sauce mixture. Add the gochujang to the bowl. Stir to mix and then set aside until ready to serve.
  4. Into the cake pan with the remaining soy sauce mixture, add the beef strips. Toss to coat and set aside.
  5. Into a large skillet measure 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil. Heat over medium-heat. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook until darkened in spots and softened a bit, 5-7 minutes. Remove to a plate.
  6. Put skillet back on heat and add 2 more tablespoons of the remaining olive oil. When hot, add half of the beef strips with whatever liquid clings to them. Cook stirring occasionally until cooked to desired doneness, about 4-6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  7. Repeat Step #6 with the final 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the final half of the beef.
  8. To serve, get out 6 soup bowls. Line half of each soup bowl with 3 leaves of lettuce. Line the other half of each bowl with some rice. Top rice with beef, broccoli and mushrooms. Sprinkled with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with the gochujang dipping sauce.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Pompeian. All opinions are honest and my own.
This post originally appeared in October 2018 and was revised and republished in April 2020.
Korean Rice Bowls

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