Made with essential Chinese pantry staples, these ground beef bowls come together quick for the perfect last minute dinner.
I’ve been trying to reduce my meat consumption lately, but I still like to eat it on occasion. I’ve had some good quality ground beef sitting in my freezer for months now so I decided to make this. I didn’t really call it ‘Chinese ground beef bowl’ because this isn’t an actual Chinese dish, but I make this using sauce that I usually use for Chinese cooking.
Ground beef bowls were a staple for me during university and when I first started weightlifting; they were the quickest, easiest, and most delicious way for me to get protein in. Plus you can pretty much add anything into it and it’ll still taste good. I always have soy sauce, oyster sauce, and Maggi sauce on hand too, so the only thing I really need to go out of my way to buy for this recipe is the beef and tomato paste (which is also optional but recommended). This is a great fridge clean-up recipe because you can add any leftover veggies you have. My go to add-ins are carrots, mushrooms, and onions but you can be really flexible!
There’s always a lot of controversy with whether you should drain fat from ground beef. When beef is cooked it loses water content and fat gets rendered. Let’s look at the first one: if you see a lot of moisture when cooking ground beef, turn up the heat. Medium-high allows for better searing/Maillard reaction and allows moisture to evaporate quickly. Do not crowd the pan, this will discourage browning and you’ll have sad wet chewy meat.
Let’s address the issue of fat now that the water content is taken care of. Unless your ground beef has very high fat content, there shouldn’t be so much fat that it’s swimming in it. Get leaner meat if you really don’t want fat, even if it’s more expensive. There’s no difference if you’re pouring 20% of what you bought down the drain. Furthermore, fat carries flavor and can be good in moderation, which is why I personally don’t drain. I might just drain a little bit if there’s really so much that it’ll make the dish taste greasy. Otherwise I just add a bit of cornstarch slurry so everything clings together.
P.S since the meat is really the main ingredient of this dish, get some that’s good quality if you’re able! I don’t buy the supermarket beef that’s cling-wrapped on Styrofoam anymore because 1) Styro sucks and 2) quality is pretty shit. You can get some from a good butcher, but supermarkets also carry the vacuum-sealed types. Plastic packaging isn’t the best either but if they’re recyclable it’s better than Styrofoam. Also since the meat isn’t exposed to oxygen and bacteria like the Styro-packaged ones, they stay fresher and freeze better. These types also tend to have more information about the source of the meat on the label too. The only downside is it costs a bit more since Styrofoam is extremely cheap to produce, but if you only eat meat occasionally and can afford it I’d say it’s worth it.
Asian Ground Beef Bowl
Note: all vegetables are optional, use what you have!
- 250 g ground beef 1/2 lb, fat content depending on your preference
- 1 small onion or 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves crushed/roughly chopped
- 40 g shiitake/king oyster mushrooms can use any mushroom, finely chopped, amount depending on your preference
- 1/2 large carrot peeled and julienned
- 1 stalk green onion white and green separated, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
- 1 dash Maggi sauce optional
- 1 tsp tomato paste optional
- 1 tsp cornstarch optional, for slurry
- Heat oil in pan on medium high heat. Once pan is hot add in your ground beef. Spread it out and let it sear for 2 minutes until browned. Flip and break up the chunks, and add the onion/shallot, garlic and white parts of the green onion. Don't move it around too much while you wait for both sides to brown.
- Add mushroom and carrots (or any other veggie you are using) in and mix evenly after the beef is fully browned. Once your veggies have gotten some color, add all the sauce ingredients. Mix (scrape off browned bits if they're stuck to pan), taste the sauce and adjust if needed.
- If the sauce is a bit runny and doesn't stick well to the beef after cooking for awhile, add a bit of cornstarch slurry (make sure you mix cornstarch with equal parts cold water first) and mix until it coats everything. Cook on medium until veggies have softened to your liking. Mix in the green parts of the green onion at the end.
- Serve with rice, this also tastes great with avocado or a fried egg!