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Bulgogi Beef Rice Bowl

Sometimes I plan meals and other times I am guided by what we have in the house. On this occasion an excess of thin-cut steak precipitated the following recipe for Korean-inspired Bulgogi Beef Bowls. I know I’ve done something similar before with my Honey and Soy Beef Bowls but trust me these are different. Here the flavours are a little more savoury and the presentation a lot less ‘thrown together whilst drunk’.

So why the surplus of beef? Well, we had friends staying with us last weeked and as always I like to ensure that everyone is fed to the point of excess. Not wanting anyone to feel left out I made two choices of fajita – one with beef and one with chicken. Either would have been fine but I do tend to overestimate everyone’s stomach capacity given the chance. Combine that with an offer on steak at the supermarket and you soon end up with plenty of spare beef in the fridge… 

Of course, it’s not a bad situation to be in and the only real downside was a need to juggle my meal planner a little bit. I know I could have cooked these as they came, served them with chips and salad, but I like steak cooked like that to be thick and juicy. Therefore some sort of stir fry was in order – only a little more interesting than just some strips of meat tossed through assorted vegetables. Remembering how much we both liked the previous Beef Rice Bowls I was resolved to revisit the idea. Only this time with a different marinade. Bring on the Bulgogi! As they never say. Anywhere.

Traditionally, or so I understand, many marinades for bulgogi beef would include puréed pears or onions to help tenderise the meat. Thin cuts like this can often be chewy so anything to help avoid a ‘shoe-leather experience’ is always welcome. Of course, I’m not traditional so my recipe doesn’t include a fruit purée at all. I found a lot of recipes that suggested using Coca-Cola in place of the more conventional ingredients and frankly I was sold. Anything that combines my favourite drink with food has to taken seriously. If you’ve never tried Nigella Lawson’s Ham in Coca-Cola then you’re seriously missing out.

Combine the sweet, spiciness of cola with a fairly standard mixture of soy sauce, garlic and ginger and let the beef marinate overnight and you’re winning with just those ingredients. Add it to a bowl of delicate steamed rice with some steamed broccoli, pickled cucumber and a runny poached egg and trust me when I say you’ll have hit it clean out of the park. 

Bulgogi Beef Rice Bowls

Tender beef in a rich, savoury marinade is perfectly paired with rice, vegetables and eggs in this comforting bowl of happiness. It’s quick to prepare and cook – just make sure you leave some time in between for the flavours to develop.

for the Marinade

  • 300 g Thin-Cut Beef Steak
  • 3 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic (peeled and crushed)
  • 5 cm Root Ginger (peeled and grated)
  • 50 ml Coca-Cola

for the Pickled Cucumber

  • ½ Cucumber
  • 3 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
  • 3 tbsp Rice Vinegar

for the Main Dish

  • 150 g Jasmine or Basmati Rice (cooked per pack instructions)
  • 150 g Broccoli (cooked)
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 small Carrot (finely julienned)
  • 2 Free-Range Eggs (poached)
  • 3 Spring Onions (finely sliced)
  • Handful Fresh Coriander (chopped)
  • ½ tsp Sesame Seeds (toasted)

Marinate the Beef (best done a day ahead)

  1. Cut the beef steak into thin slices – you want each slice to be around 5mm in thickness or less. Put into a bowl then add in the remaining marinade ingredients. Stir to coat well then cover and put in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

Make the Pickle (best done a day ahead)

  1. Peel the cucumber and remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into ½cm cubes and put into a small bowl. In a separate bowl combine the rice vinger, salt and sugar, before pouring it over the cucumber. Cover and put in the fridge to pickle overnight.

Assemble the dish

  1. Remove the beef and the pickle from the fridge about half an hour before you need them to save them from being “fridge cold”.

  2. Steam or boil the rice according to the packet instructions and keep warm. At the same time you could also steam the broccoli and keep it warm too. 

  3. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok. Remove the beef from the marinade and add to the pan, stir frying for a few minutes until cooked through.

  4. Remove the beef from the pan and set to one side. Pour in any remaining marinade and reduce to a thick sauce. Add the beef back to the pan and toss it in the sauce to coat. Keep warm.

  5. Poach (or fry) the eggs at this stage, then assemble the bowl.

  6. Divide the warm, cooked rice between two bowls. Add a portion of the cooked broccoli, raw shredded carrot and cucumber pickle to each. Then add the cooked beef before topping each bowl with an egg. Sprinkle over the spring onion, coriander and sesame seeds.

  7. Enjoy.

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Bulgogi Beef Rice Bowl


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