A one-pot meal complete with vegetables, grains, and protein! Egg Roll Bowls uses easy to find Korean ingredients to make this dish spicy and delicious!
We’ve been on a Korean-inspired food kick lately, and we have no one to blame, but McKenna. Her teenage spirit, her willingness to try anything once, has opened so many doors since she decided to come and live with us. She pushes the boundaries when it comes to food, that’s for sure!
You would think that being a food blogger would be reason enough for me to want to try new foods, but if you did think that way, you’d be wrong. Regretfully, I am one of those people who can become quite comfortable and quite complacent with the ingredients I buy and cook with.
McKenna’s sudden and rapid integration into Asian pop culture has triggered her growth into Asian cuisine as well. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier! I’m completely in love with the possibilities of gochujang and gochugaru.
Have you heard of those two ingredients? I hadn’t heard of them either until a few months ago when McKenna dragged John and I out of our food comfort zones and into a Korean bibimbap restaurant for a Sunday lunch. We were in love with the food!
It was my first time trying a bibimbap. It was loaded with everything I loved to eat separately, except this time, it was all together in one dish – actually, it was piled into a piping hot stone pot. There was beef, rice, bean sprouts, carrots, cucumber, sesame seeds, radish, black beans, tofu, green onions – yummy!
The best part though, was the rice, which was the base of the pile of ingredients. The rice develops this charred, browned, not quite burnt, layer right at the bottom of that hot stone pot, which, by the way, is called a dolsot. It’s a stone pot made from what is most commonly known as soapstone.
If you’ve never experienced a Korean bibimbap dish, I encourage you to find a place close to your home and give it a try. And, don’t be put off by the trolleys of food being carted by, or the free, bottomless extras that are placed in the center of every table.
Oh, and if I can encourage you to order a side dish to share with your fellow diners, let it be Spicy Rice Cakes – they are the bomb! They are very spicy, and unlike the cardboard-like rice cakes we all know here in North America, Korean Spicy Rice Cakes are made from cylinder-shaped compressed rice. They are chewy and dense, and can be found on the menu as tteok-bokki.
Now, for this dish, my Spicy Korean Inspired Egg Roll Bowls, you will not have any need for a dolsot. All you need is a large skillet and a love of delicious spicy food. Even though I used ground pork, you can make this dish vegetarian by using a vegetarian pork product. Trader Joe’s has a great vegetarian sausage that will work beautifully in this dish!
If you’re nervous about the heat or spice level in this dish, don’t be! I am still an unadventurous Canadian white boy with very little tolerance for much heat, so if I can handle it, so can you! I must admit, my ability to consume spicy food is getting a bit better. So is McKenna’s, but John.e’s is still lagging a bit. We’ll get him there yet!
Okay, let’s talk substitutions. I know that all of my Dear Readers do not live in a bustling metropolis, and might not have easy access to gochujang or gochugaru. If you need to make a substitution, you certainly can!
If you need to substitute gochujang, you can use equal amounts of a chili paste or sriracha. It will not give you the exact same flavour profile, but it will certainly do in a pinch.
To substitute gochugaru, you can use cayenne pepper, chili powder, or even chipotle powder. I have just recently found dried jalepeno powder which has a great kick to it and I would totally consider using it to get the spiciness in the absence of gochugaru.
If you really want the full experience in terms of flavour, you can find both gochujang and gochugaru online. Even Amazon stocks it and you can have it shipped right to your door. (If you can wait that long!)
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Spicy Korean Inspired Egg Roll Bowls
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger, freshly minced or grated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 28 ounces bagged coleslaw mix, see notes
- 3 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon gochujang, Korean red pepper paste
- 1 tablepoon gochugaru, Korean red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teapsoon fish sauce
- 3 large stalks green onions, finely sliced
- 1-2 whole red chili peppers, thinly sliced (optional)
- 4 cups cooked rice
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the vegetable oil, onion, and pork. Saute for 10 minutes, or until the pork is cooked all the way through.
- Add the garlic, ginger, salt, and ground black pepper. Stir together and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the two bags of coleslaw mix and toss to combine with the pork, onions, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until cabbage has wilted slightly.
- In the meantime, in a bowl, whisk together the gochujang, gochugaru, 2 teaspoons of the sesame seeds, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce until well combined.
- Add the cooked rice and toss to combine.
- Next, pour the sauce mixture into the skillet and toss well to combine. Cook for 5 more minutes.
- Lastly, add half of the green onions and toss to combine.
- Plate and garnish with the remaining sesame seeds and green onions. Add sliced red chilies if you want extra heat. Serve immediately.
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