This spicy pork rice bowl is weeknight easy and delicious! Starts with just one pork tenderloin and is adaptable to whatever you have on hand. Ready in just 30 minutes!
Why you’ll love this pork rice bowl
This delicious and easy pork rice bowl came to me in a moment of need. I had taken a pork tenderloin out of the freezer in the morning and it was sitting, defrosting, on my countertop. I had no plan for it, thinking that at some point during the day I would figure it out. And then an email from Epicurious appeared in my inbox with just the thing. I love when that happens ;)
It was absolutely meant to be and turned out to be both easy and delicious. And it was made even better since I was able to thinly slice up the pork by doing it while it was still slightly frozen. Then into a bag with the easy marinade. At dinner time, it was literally 15 minutes from stovetop to bowl.
I love the combination of the spicy pork, with the quick and easy vegetables and some rice. A perfect weeknight dinner.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Pork Tenderloin – always tender pork tenderloin is my pork of choice for this pork rice bowl. That said, you could use any cut of pork that you cut up into cubes or strips.
Gochujang – this is the Korean red pepper paste, that is sold in rectangular red containers. It has become much easier to find these days in grocery stores, Korean markets or find it online. No gochujang? No worries. Simply spoon a bit of the Sambal Oelek or Asian Chili Garlic Sauce on the side instead.
Sambal Oelek – this is another Asian sauce that is quite easy to find these days. Look for it in with the Asian sauces. A good substitute is Asian Chili Garlic Sauce. Adjust the amount of Sambal Oelek in the sauce to your heat tolerance level. It’s lovely and spicy at 3 Tbsp. Reduce for less heat. If unsure, go with less. You can always add more on the side later.
Seasoned Rice Vinegar – seasoned rice vinegar contains salt and sugar. You can substitute unseasoned rice vinegar if you like. Simply add a pinch of sugar and salt to the dish to compensate.
Toasted Sesame Oil – has a lovely, nutty flavour, but regular sesame oil is a fine substitute here.
Greens – Any green that wilts up quickly in a hot skillet could be used here. I had some spinach that needed using up, so that’s what’s shown here.
Rice – rice is specified (for a rice bowl :), but you could replace the rice in this bowl with a grain of your choice, for an even healthier dinner bowl.
Note that the pork is cooked in two batches, even though it would probably all fit in the pan. This is so the pan isn’t overcrowded and the liquid can cook off easily and brown the meat. Otherwise, the meat just sort of steams.
To prepare your carrots so they cook really quickly in a hot pan, simply make thin ribbons using your vegetable peeler!
Change it Up!
Skip the bowl, bust out the lettuce, and turn this dish into lettuce wraps. Simply spoon some rice, pork and veggies into Boston lettuce leaves and enjoy!
Get the Recipe: Spicy Pork Rice Bowl
- 1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin, fat trimmed and silverskin removed
- 3 Tablespoons Sambal Oelek, or Asian Chili Garlic Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3/4-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated (or 1 tsp ginger paste)
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, or regular sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large carrot, peeled, thinly sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- 3 cups greens, kale, spinach, chard etc
- 1 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, or unseasoned with a pinch of sugar and salt
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, or regular sesame oil
- Steamed white rice
- Thinly sliced green onion and gochujang, for serving
- Freeze pork tenderloin until firm around the edges, 30–45 minutes (or if starting with frozen, allow to thaw until still partially frozen and easy to cut into thin slices)
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, prepare the marinade by stirring together the Sambal Oelek, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
- Start rice cooking.
- When partially frozen, thinly slice pork with a sharp knife. Add pork to a resealable plastic bag (or bowl). Add prepared marinade, seal bag, and rub together to thoroughly coat the pork. Let sit at room temperature least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours (or refrigerate for longer marinating).
- In a large, non-stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot, add half of pork in a single layer. Season very lightly with salt. Cook, undisturbed, increasing heat to high if needed, until pork is browned in spots. Toss pork, breaking up with tongs and continue to cook, tossing, until cooked through, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with another 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil and remaining pork. Wipe out skillet.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook in a single layer, undisturbed, until beginning to soften and brown underneath, about 2 minutes. Add greens and toss to wilt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
- Combine rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce and 1/4 tsp sesame oil in a small bowl.
- To serve, spoon rice among bowls and arrange pork and vegetables over. Top each with some green onions and a spoonful of gochujang. Drizzle with rice vinegar dressing and serve.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!