Spicy Asian Rice Bowls

Spicy Aisan Rice Bowl on a napkin with chopsticksToday’s recipe is one I make very often because 1. It comes together very quickly so it’s a great weeknight dinner, 2. It uses ingredients that I often have on hand but if not, 3. It’s super customisable according to what you have available.

I guess in a way, it’s a little bit like the Lao/ Thai dish larb (which is basically a spicy meat salad, served with a little bit of rice and vegetables in a lettuce cup that we ate a lot of when we visited Laos in 2009 and I’ve shared a recipe for before) but served in a bowl it’s a bit easier to eat! Larb also typically uses toasted then ground sticky rice grains in the meat which doesn’t make for the quickest weeknight dinner.

I’ve made a different version of this as a noodle bowl following Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Asian Crispy Beef (from his excellent Everyday Superfood) many times and when I was planning recipes for my virtual cooking club, I figured this one would be a good one because it uses simple ingredients and the boys can add whatever toppings or add-ins they like. Plus, they learn how to chop hot chili peppers (a life skill!

Speaking of life skills and chopping chilies, I made a video for the boys and figured it might be useful to share here!

Here’s the recipe, although, as I say, it’s really just a guide.

Ways to customise Spicy Asian Rice Bowls:

1. You can use ground pork, beef, chicken, turkey, ground round or even a combination of a couple of meats.
2. Add more or less chili peppers according to how much spice you like!
3. Change up the vegetables you serve with the dish – I’ve used shredded lettuce and grated carrots because that’s what I had on hand. Feel free to use cucumbers as another fresh crunchy vegetable. Or lightly steam some bok choy to serve with this.
4. Toast your peanuts (or cashews would work here too) before you chop them. I’ve made this with both raw and toasted nuts and toasted brings a lot more flavour.
5. Add more spice! Use a spash of hot sauce or add more fresh chili when you serve this!
6. Serve this on steamed white rice, brown rice or even noodles if you don’t have any rice.

Yield: 2-3

Spicy Asian Rice Bowls

Spicy Aisan Rice Bowl on a napkin with chopsticks

Easy, customisable spicy Asian rice bowls.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 small shallots or 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1lb (454g) ground pork, beef, chicken, turkey or ground round
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • juice of 2 limes (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • 1 large or 2 small red chilies (or more if you like spice!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

To serve:

  • approx. 3 cups steamed white rice
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • Approx 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • chopped fresh mint
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • chopped peanuts


  1. In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Cook the shallots until they are just starting to soften.
  3. Add the ground meat and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat and cook until it is mostly cooked through.
  4. Add the honey, fish sauce and lime juice and cook, stirring occasionally until the meat starts to caramelize and the liquid is almost completely reduced.
  5. Add the chilies, cilantro and mint and stir through.

Assemble your rice bowls

  1. Place a scoop of rice into a deep bowl.
  2. Add the cooked meat and top with shredded lettuce, grated carrot, sliced green onions, cilantro, mint and chopped peanuts.


You can also serve the cooked meat, slightly cooled, in lettuce cups with a bit of rice for something different!

did you make this recipe?

please leave a comment or review on the blog or share a photo and tag me on Instagram @eatlivtravwrite !

This recipe will be on repeat in various iterations this summer – it’s a great meal for when you want something more than a salad but don’t want to barbecue a steak!

Spicy Aisan Rice Bowl on a napkin



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