Making donburi bowls is so easy and tasty! This Korean style donburi is topped with pieces of fish that have been cooked in a spicy and smoky sauce, for a meal that is delicious, comforting, and filling. 

When hump day comes, I’m usually ready for a nap.

I try to get all of my work done before 5pm and aim to indent the couch with my butt before 6pm. Wednesdays are days when both Ben and I don’t feel too inspired to cook elaborate meals in the kitchen. We either get delivery or whip up something super quick like a donburi bowl.

Rice bowl are part of our meal rotation because they are so quick to make and packed with flavor. The recipe I have for you today is a Korean style fish donburi bowl that takes roughly 20 minutes to make.

What Makes a Dish, Donburi (Japanese Rice Bowl)

The literal translation for donburi (丼) is ‘bowl’. The abbreviated version which is ‘don’, can also be uses as a suffix for different types of rice bowls. One example is the word gyudon which translates to ‘beef bowl’.

The basic formula for donburi is as simple as can be – it’s a rice bowl that’s topped with meat, seafood, tofu, or vegetables. Some donburi bowls are served with cooked ingredients that have been simmered in a sauce, while other donburi bowls are served with fresh or raw ingredients, such as sashimi.

The large bowls used to serve donburi (donburi mono) are also called donburi (donburi bachi).

Ingredients for Korean Style Donburi Bowl

  • Sesame oil: Use regular sesame oil to fry the garlic, ginger and gochugaru. If you only have toasted sesame oil, use a neutral oil instead such as vegetable or grapeseed. Toasted sesame oil doesn’t have a high smoke point like regular sesame oil does, so using it to fry ingredients will give it a rancid taste. You can a drizzle of it at the end of the cooking process instead.
  • Garlic: Garlic is always a must for Asian dishes that require an extra sprinkle of pungency! I’m using one clove, finely chopped.
  • Ginger: Ginger adds a different kind of heat that the gochugaru brings to this dish. I’m using about a thumb size, but feel free to use more if you like it really spicy.
  • Gochugaru: Korean chili pepper flakes are what gives this dish a Korean flair. The smokiness and heat from the flakes makes every bite as exciting as the last.
  • Soy sauce: A little soy sauce to season the fish with savory and umami flavors.
  • Mirin: Mirin is a common ingredient used in Asian cooking to infuse sweetness that’s a little more complex than just plain sugar.
  • Fish: You can use any type of firm fish for this recipe. I’m using salmon but arctic char and tuna are also delicious.
  • Cooked Japanese rice: Leftover Japanese rice is excellent for this dish as it doesn’t require any prepping. You will need two cups for this recipe.
  • Scallions: And of course scallions. There’s nothing as good as chopped scallions to finish an Asian dish. And this one is no exception!

How to Make Korean Style Donburi Bowl

  • Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
  • Put the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and gochugaru, in a medium size skillet, and turn the heating to medium.
  • Let the ingredients fry for a few seconds, while stirring, and add the soy sauce and mirin.
  • Stir, add the fish and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, warm up your rice and divide it among two bowls.
  • Turn the heat off, place the fish on a cutting board and cut into bite size pieces.
  • Add the fish to the rice bowls and top with scallions.

How to Store and Reheat a Donburi Bowl

For leftovers, I suggest separating the fish from the rice when refrigerating it. The reason is that rice takes a lot longer to reheat than fish, and fish tends overcook quickly. Store both rice and fish in airtight storage containers.

By separating the topping from the rice you can easily microwave the rice first. Cover it with a towel or a lid and microwave for about 90 seconds. Then add the fish and microwave for 30 to 40 seconds. This way your fish will still be tender.

Leftovers will last for up to 2 days in the fridge.

What to Serve with Donburi Bowl

Donburi bowls are pretty filling on their own, but they are so much fun to eat when paired with small side dishes like pickles, salads, and soups. It makes the whole experience feel more homey and obviously, more delicious.

Here are some of my favorite sides that I like to pair with a rice bowl:

Did you like this Korean Fish Donburi Bowl Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!


Korean Fish Donburi Bowl

This Korean style donburi is topped with pieces of fish that have been cooked in a spicy and smoky sauce, for a meal that delicious and filling. 

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 21 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Pan frying
  • Cuisine: Korean


  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 10 ounces (about 225g) firm fish such as salmon, tuna, or arctic char
  • 2 cups cooked Japanese rice
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped


  1. In a small or medium size pan over medium heat, add the oil, garlic, ginger, and gochugaru. 
  2. Stir for a few seconds and add the soy sauce and mirin. 
  3. Stir and add the fish. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, reheat the rice in the microwave if it’s cold, and divide it among two bowls.
  5. Turn the heat off and transfer the fish to a plate or cutting board. Chop into bite size pieces. 
  6. Add the fish to the rice bowls and top with scallions. Serve immediately.



Store the fish and rice separately in airtight storage containers. Reheat the rice for 90 seconds and then add the fish to it. Microwave for 30 to 40 seconds and serve immediately.

This Korean style fish donburi will last in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Keywords: rice bowl, easy meal, bento

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