Sweet and smoky Korean barbecue marinated steak, steamed vegetables, and rice make a quick, easy, healthy meal.
Happy New Year!
So, I do try to come up with a list of goals for the year in January, but I don’t call them New Year’s Resolutions. These goals are not related to weight loss or eating healthy. They’re more about my career, personal life, and, on the health side, stress and sleep. The end of the year is a good time to reflect on how I did in the past year and think about what I want to prioritize for the next year.
I have never in my life started a diet on January 1st. I did follow a strict diet once, a few years ago, for a fitness competition. Since then, I eat (what I think is) relatively healthy and exercise on a regular basis, consistently throughout the year. If I stop at the doughnut shop on my way home from the gym, I don’t feel guilty or bad or like one behavior is justifying the other. I love doughnuts, and I love working out. And I don’t want to, or feel like I should, change those habits.
But it’s January, and people are looking for healthy recipes. I totally understand! I definitely eat much more chocolate, cookies, other desserts, and rich, heavy meals in December than I do normally. Even if you’re not about to start a drastic new diet, it’s normal to crave something a little lighter after the big holiday meals.
I also know many of you have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. So I decided to share a recipe that’s easy, quick, and healthy.
Enter these Korean Barbecue Flavor Beef Bowls.
When I think about healthy food, I tend to think of Asian style dishes. With lean protein and vegetables, they have what I consider the two most important components of a healthy meal. My Hainanese Inspired Chicken Rice and Beef Sukiyaki are both warm, cozy, and healthy comforting winter dishes.
Today’s recipe is not a barbecue recipe. But Jonathan and I both like a mild Korean barbecue sauce, and I’ve adapted those flavors to a stir fry marinade. Given that I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food, I’ve left out the customary cayenne or chili sauce and instead used smoked paprika for a gentler smoky pepper flavor.
Here are some of the ingredients. That’s flank steak, minced garlic, smoked paprika, broccoli, baby bok choy (also called petite shanghai bok choy), and a lemon. I used both sirloin steak and flank steak during recipe testing. Both work well.
The steak gets marinated in soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, and black pepper. If you have time, get the meat in the marinade the night before.
I love using my cast iron skillets for stir fries, but this is one where I really recommend you use something nonstick. When I’ve made similar dishes, the sugar from the marinade gets burnt onto the cast iron and is very hard to clean off. No problems at all with a nonstick wok!
Korean Barbecue Flavor Beef Bowls
- 2 pounds flank or sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- black pepper
- 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
- 8 baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
- 4 cups cooked rice, for serving
- sliced scallions for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Marinate the meat: In a large ziploc bag, combine steak, soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, and pepper. Seal and shake to combine. Leave in fridge to marinate 1 hour to overnight.
- Steam the vegetables: Add 1 inch of water to a large pot. Add the broccoli and baby bok choy. Cover and turn the heat to high. Steam vegetables 4-6 minutes, depending where you like your veggies on the crunchy versus tender scale.
- While vegetables are steaming, cook beef. Heat grapeseed oil in a wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove steak from marinade and add to the wok. (Discard excess marinade.) Cook, stirring often, until browned, 5-8 minutes.
- To serve: Put 1 cup of rice in the bottom of each serving bowl. Divide beef and vegetables between bowls. Top with scallions and sesame seeds.