Learn how to make one of my childhood favorites created by my mom. Inspired by an Italian bolognese, this Asian bolognese is delicious served over rice!
Asian Bolognese was one of my favorite dishes growing up. I loved it so much that I made it when I competed on Season 2 of The Next Food Network Star.
Unfortunately, I was also kicked off the show for this same dish, which I just couldn’t finish on time. I hadn’t prepared a cooked “swap-out” for the ground meat, and well raw ground meat was just not going to cook in my 3-minute demo. I was that contestant who was going to feed the judges raw ground meat. It was not pretty. (You can read more about that here.)
Even though I have left my reality TV days long behind me, I still make this dish quite often. Even though it’s a stir-fry at heart, it also mirrors an Italian meat sauce but with Asian flavors hence the name.
It might sound a bit strange, but trust me – it works. And just like an Italian bolognese is great over rice, this is delicious served over tofu and rice.
Although my mom never made it with broccoli, I try to add my favorite green vegetable to everything. You can definitely leave the broccoli out, or better yet, swap it out for your favorite veggie. I can see mushrooms, carrots, or eggplant also going incredibly well with this dish.
Enjoy! I promise your attempt at this dish won’t be anything like my disastrous Food Network attempt at it.
- Stir-fry sauce can easily be made in advance. If you have a jar, pour all the ingredients into the jar and shake it up. Just remember to give it another good shake before you pour it into the wok, so that the cornstarch is thoroughly mixed in.
- Once you have all your produce chopped, cooking will be a breeze. Learn how with our prep videos:
How to Mince or Crush Garlic
Garlic adds great flavor and aroma to any dish. Learn how to impart the flavors of garlic to any dish with this short video.
How to Chop & Dice an Onion
Learning how to dice an onion correctly will save you so much time in the kitchen.
How to Dice Tomatoes
Diced tomatoes add so much freshness to salsas, salads, and pastas, and they're super easy to prep.
How to Chop Broccoli
Watch this video to learn how to chop broccoli for a variety of tasty uses.
- Wok – its round bottom and high sides make it an efficient way to stir-fry without all the ingredients spilling over
For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools
- Ground meat of choice – 1 lb
- Garlic – 3 cloves, minced
- Onions – 1, diced
- Roma tomatoes – 6, diced
- Broccoli – 1 lb, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
- Soy sauce – ¼ cup
- Rice vinegar – 2 tsp
- Brown sugar – 1 tsp
- Cornstarch – 2 Tbsp
- Chicken stock – 1 cup
- Cooking oil – 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Lemon – ½, juice of
- Ground meat – Season with salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
- Garlic / Onions / Tomatoes / Broccoli – Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Make stir-fry sauce – Mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, and chicken stock. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil and then ground meat to heated oil. Break up with a wooden spoon, and cook until lightly browned on the outside, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside (meat doesn’t have to be cooked through at this point).
- Return wok to heat and add the remaining tablespoon of cooking oil to pan. Add in garlic to heated oil. Once you can smell garlic, add in onions with a dash of salt. Saute until softened and slightly translucent, ~3 minutes. Add in tomatoes and stir-fry until tomatoes have started to break down and form a sauce, 4 to 5 minutes. Add broccoli to sauce and stir-fry for another 3 to 5 minutes, until broccoli is tender but still crunchy.
- Return ground meat to wok, and then make a donut in the middle of your wok. Give stir-fry sauce a stir and then pour into the center. When it starts to bubble and thicken, toss everything together. Turn off heat and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm.