Ian Martorana

Miso Beef Rice Bowl

Miso Beef Rice Bowl

I get a lot of food-related newsletters (as one can imagine), and the new hotness in food are bowls (shocking, I know). Acai bowls, poke bowls, vegan avocado bowls—you name it, and there's a bowl for it. This is a 'recipe' for a miso beef bowl that I made on a whim one Sunday evening.



Bowl components

  • Beef (chuck roast, short ribs, or another cheaper cut of meat)
  • Rice
  • Bean sprouts
  • Cucumbers
  • Shiitake and maitake mushrooms
  • Scallions
  • Nori snacks

Pickling Liquid

  • Mirin
  • Salt
  • Rice wine vinegar

Mushroom Sauce

  • Soy sauce
  • Mirin
  • Dashi

Miso Sauce

  • Miso
  • Soy sauce
  • Mirin

Beef Preparation

Cut your meat into one-inch cubes and slow braise in a dutch oven or (like I did) slow cook the meat in a crockpot until you can cut the meat with a spoon (I cooked my meat for five hours on high). For the liquid, I use mostly water (as this dish's salt content will ratchet up fairly quickly) with a dash of soy sauce. The liquid should come just below the top of the meat. After it's cooked, shred in a bowl and add to a pan of sasame oil on high heat. Sear the beef and add the miso sauce (three parts miso, one part mirin, and two parts soy sauce. If this mixture is too thick, add a little water until the desired consistency is reached). Pour the glaze on the beef and cook a few minutes longer until the beef has absorbed the miso-y goodness. 


Prepare your pickling liquid by bringing the ingredients to a rolling boil. Submerge the sliced cucumbers (you can add onions or shallots if you want) to the liquid and for at least for 30 minutes, but you can keep these for days. 

Bean Sprouts

Toss the bean sprouts in two parts rice wine vinegar and one part sriracha. This will add some spicy acidity to the dish.


Dice the green parts of the scallion and set aside. Save the white parts for the mushrooms.


Saute the mushrooms and white bits of the scallions for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the two parts dashi to one part mirin and soy and whisk together. Add this to the mushrooms a tablespoon or two at a time. Allow the mushrooms to soak up all that goodness, and add more sauce to continue to cook the mushrooms. You do not want to steep these in liquid. 


Cook the rice according to the instructions in a rice cooker. If you do not have a rice cooker, get a rice cooker. For the liquid, use half water, half dashi. Optional step: After it is cooked, toss the rice in 2 tablespoons of Japanese yum yum sauce (I buy mine in a bottle—insert gasp! here. If you want to make yours from scratch, there are recipes aplenty for this online). This will add a creamy umami to the rice, but it isn't necessary. For a lighter touch, you can toss it in rice wine vinegar, to give the bowl a "sushi rice" feel.

Pro tip: Rinse your rice before cooking. Dump your rice in a mesh sieve with a bowl underneath. Rinse the rice until the water is clear (or as clear as you can get it). This is something I've read about a lot in Japanese cookbooks, and it does make a difference. 

To Finish...

Assemble the bowl with the rice in the bottom, accouterments around the outside, and the beef in the middle. This dish does have a pretty high salt content, so do not be afraid of adding a ton of pickles. The acid cuts through a lot of the richness. And this is a rich, umami-bomb of a rice bowl. 

Bon appetit.