Asia is the largest continent on earth, and as such is home to a bounty of different cultures and different cuisines. These cuisines all use different ingredients, spices, herbs, and sauces to create a unique flavor profile for each region.
One ingredient that is used by almost all the cultures of Asia is that of ground beef.
It is a meat that is quite easy to purchase and quite easy to use in any recipe, with each culture using the meat in unique and delicious ways to create fabulous new dishes.
A lot of these dishes may be surprising to westerners, but they are something to be tried at least once.
With this in mind, we have decided to create a list of the best Asian ground beef recipes that you should try at least once in your life.
Yes, you read that right. Although Spaghetti Bolognese is traditionally Italian, but you can give a taste of China and see how great this recipe is as a fusion food.
You can make the Bolognese as you would normally, but using Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil to add seasoning and flavor to the beef.
It will instantly turn it into a fusion classic, and you will want so much more than you have.
2. Beef Keema
Many who’ve tried Middle Eastern or Turkish food before will have had a taste of Beef Keema. The bowl of beef may look bland, but give it one sniff, and you will be met with an alluring fragrance that will blow your mind with its flavor profile.
The meat is marinated and cooked with ginger, garlic, chilies, turmeric, cloves, coriander, bay leaves, cinnamon, and cardamon, giving it a rich flavor beyond the sum of its parts.
3. Keema Matar
Keema has made its way around the different areas of Asia, and many different peoples have made good use of its flavor. In Pakistan and India, they make Keema Matar, a green pea and ground beef curry.
These two ingredients are cooked together before adding tomatoes, lemon, yogurt, and spices, creating a wonderfully rich blend you can serve on its own or with rice, depending on your preference.
You have probably seen bibimbap enjoyed on recent YouTube or TikTok binges, and rightfully so. The dish is considered one of the best rice bowls around.
It is a traditional Korean dish that uses rice as a base, with any kind of ground meat (in this case beef), fresh and pickled vegetables, a fried egg, and a sweet, spicy red paste called Gochujang on top.
It is a truly wonderful dish to mix and mash flavors with one another.
Another rice bowl like Bibimbap, but while they both use rice as a foundation, the ground beef and vegetables in this Cantonese dish are cooked in an incredibly thick and flavorful sauce that uses oyster sauce, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine to amp up the umami factor majorly.
It is a great dish to have on a cold night to warm yourself up.
6. Mapo Tofu
A classic of Chinese cuisine, Mapo Tofu has been eaten in the Sichuan province of China for hundreds of years. This spicy dish cooks tofu in a sauce of fermented black beans, broad beans, and chili paste along with ground beef.
It can be eaten on its own or served over rice, either way it is refreshing and will prevent even the most sleepy person from nodding off.
7. Pad Gra Prow
You don’t normally expect to see basil used in an Asian dish, but Pad Gra Prow (or Thai Basil Beef) uses their native Holy Basil to create a delightful meal.
The spicy beef mixed with the fresh garlic and basil before being topped with a fried egg to add to the flavor of the meal. Most people will find it hard to find Holy Basil in towns or their local stores, but if you do, then it is worth using.
If you have ever been to the Philippines, then you will have undoubtedly seen a street vendor selling Lumpia, even if you didn’t realize it at the time.
Filipinos love finger food and Lumpia is precisely that, ground beef and carrots are rolled in an egg roll before being deep-fried. It is simple, but absolutely delicious, and there are never any left after the end of a party.
Moving back to Thailand, but this time for a delicious salad. Thai beef larb is a big salad bowl made with Jasmine rice that has been toasted and then ground, before being mixed with ground beef.
Then lettuce, vegetables, and peanut sauce are added. It is so simple and easy to make, that you won’t have to find a restaurant near you to get your hands on some.
A simple and easy dish, where spiced ground beef, chilies, and red cabbage are served over rice with a squeeze of lime juice for good measure. It is filling, citrusy, spicy, and fresh all at once.
If you are stuck on what new dish you want to try for dinner, as well as not having much money, then this is the dish for you.
Another fusion dish for your pleasure, the Vietnamese aspects of these meatballs not only comes from the herbs and spices inside them, but from every other aspect of the dish.
Instead, of pasta, they are served with rice, instead of marinara sauce, they are cooked and served in a hoisin sauce, and they are filled with chilies, fish sauce, and ginger, which makes the meatballs simply delicious.
Ramen noodles are some of the easiest to cook and eat, but jazzing them up may be the best way to make them into something irresistible.
All you need are the instant noodles themselves, some ground beef, and the vegetables, sauces, and spices you would normally put into a stir-fry.
Then in one 10 minute stint, you will have an incredible beef noodle dish, made from instant noodles.
13. Kare Pan
A favorite that can be bought from any family mart, 7/11, or convenience store in Japan, Kare Pan is a deep-fried bread dough that has curry in its center.
When you bite in, you first get a crunchy texture, followed by a soft, pillowy, sweetness of bread, before hitting the umami-rich curry inside. It is not an easy recipe, but it is worth making.
14. Chapli Kebab
A distinct type of kebab unique to Pakistan, Chapli Kebabs are mixed with a wonderful blend of spices, before being shallow fried in a pan like a burger until a little charred.
The kebabs are then served on flatbread (like pita) with some sliced red onion and a yogurt dip called raita. They are absolutely delicious and, due to the spices, never quite seem as fatty as burgers.
15. Loobia Polo
The first Iranian dish to appear on this list, Loobia Polo is made with rice, beans, and ground beef that is mixed together before being cooked in tomato paste, spices, and saffron.
It is sticky on the top and the bottom has a crunchy crust that people love to pick at when they are eating.
In a way, this is another variation of Bibimbap, but it falls more into the having one sauce encompasses meat and vegetables, rather than having everything separated out.
You cook the ground beef with brown sugar, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce, to not only create a lovely sauce, but one that is sweet, salty and drapes over the steamed rice.
Another fusion spaghetti dish here, this one from the beautiful islands of the Philippines.
It is actually very similar to the original Italian dish, but the sauce is thicker, slightly sweeter, and Filipino people love to cut up hot dogs and sprinkle them into the sauce as well. Finally, the cheese on top is cheddar, not Parmesan or pecorino.
If you are looking for a simple dish that still manages to transport you all the way to Southeast Asia, then look no further than Indonesian Curried Cabbage.
It is simply ground beef and cooked cabbage mixed with curry powder and mango chutney, before being cooked further. It may be simple, but it is simply delicious.
This dish is not very well known, but you should try making it just for the contrasting textures that provide a really beautiful juxtaposition.
The smooth eggplant with soft beef cooked in a silky sauce is great, but the flavor provided by the Shaoxing wine, fish sauce, chilies, and sesame oil really brings home the flavor.
The name of the country is not the only legacy that Spain left behind in the Philippines, they also left certain dishes like Picadillo.
The intrepid Filipino people have truly adapted this dish and made it their own using ground beef, carrots, potatoes, green peas, bell peppers, and rice to create a beautiful dish.
21. Tortang Giniling
Tortang Giniling is a dish that is normally made from the leftovers of last night’s dinner by cooking it in an omelette (a bit like the British bubble and squeak).
Normally, this beef omelette is made by putting Picadillo in a scrambled egg mixture, before frying it in a pan. The omelette is then served over rice with ketchup and is a wonderful way to start the day.
22. Kimchi Bokeumbab
A simple dish that is still as delicious as the most delicious of Korean dishes. Kimchi Bokeumbab is simply Kimchi Fried Rice, and it involves cutting up kimchi and frying it with steamed rice and ground beef.
The whole affair is topped with a fried egg, and it is a great way to enjoy Korean food without the hassle of cooking something fancy.
23. Kabob Koobideh
Another Iranian dish to enjoy, this time with a lot of meat involved. Kabob Koobideh is a long, grilled minced meat kebab made of either lamb or beef and marinated in various herbs and spices.
The meat is the main affair, but it is often served with grilled tomatoes, grilled onions, and Jasmine rice that has been slathered in rich butter. The dish is truly decadent, and you will want more no matter how full you are.
Pastry is not something you usually see in Asian cooking, but it can be absolutely amazing. Take the Chinese Curry Puffs for example.
Having a savory, buttery puff pastry crust with an amazing curried ground beef interior sounds like an absolute delight and is something that everyone should try at least once.
Sometimes you just want something quick and easy, but also full of flavor. That’s where these Hoisin bowls come into play.
It is simply ground beef with cashews, sesame seeds, and julienne vegetables, cooked in a hoisin sauce before laid over the top of steamed rice.
In total, it should only take 30 minutes and minimal effort while providing you with a delicious dinner.
Mongolia is a country known for their love of beef, but this often comes in the form of sliced flanks of beef, rather than the ground variety.
However, by adding the same flavoring you would add to a Mongolian beef dish to this recipe, you will create a sweet, spicy, and savory dish that will fill you up in no time.
Taiwanese food is known for its spice and love of black vinegar, but in this fusion dish, the spice is toned down slightly and the umami is ramped up.
You can go all out if you really want and add bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms to the dish as well, all the while drizzling over soy sauce and black vinegar to make it as Taiwanese as possible.
If you really fancy a Bibimbap, but just can’t justify the unhealthy nature of the dish, then you can always try this healthy version.
It still uses rice and ground beef, but the beef is leaner, the sauces have reduced sodium, and the fats used to cook the vegetables and meat are reduced as well.
In order to make up from these reductions, the food given more flavor in the form of sesame seeds and chili paste.
Can I use ground beef leftovers in the Asian ground beef recipes?
Ground beef recipes using leftovers can certainly be adapted for Asian cuisine. By adding a unique blend of spices and sauces, you can transform your ground beef leftovers into flavorful delights like Mongolian beef or Thai larb. Get creative and explore the diverse range of Asian flavors to breathe new life into your dinner leftovers.
There are hundreds of unique and beautiful recipes for Asian-style ground beef, and all of them are delicious.
Some of them are unique to their region, others are fusion meals between east and west, and others still are foods that have taken another culture’s recipe and made it entirely their own. Whatever the case may be, they are all wonderful.
The recipe has to have one of two things: it has to have ground beef in it, and it also has to use ingredients traditionally from Asia or is directly from a country in Asia.
For example, if a dish uses soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and oyster sauce as the base of its flavor, then it uses Chinese flavors and as such a type of Asian flavor.
For fusion dishes, you just have to see where this dish was invented and where it is most readily eaten, like in Filipino dishes where they often take a dish and make it entirely unique to the Philippines.
Similarly, a dish that uses whole beef products would not be a ground beef recipe, it would be simply a beef recipe.