Mongolian Beef is a stir-fry dish composed of thin slices of beef. It is cooked with a thick brown sauce along with chopped green onions or scallions. There are many ways to cook this dish. It is evidenced by the several variations of Mongolian beef recipes in cookbooks and the internet. This recipe is tailored for beginners that prefer less spicy foods.
The entire dish might look complex at first glance. The truth is it is easier to prepare than you think. You might be surprised to realize what you are capable of doing at your current cooking skill level. It will be easier to know at this point that this dish is composed of two major components which are the beef and the sauce. The beef needs to be prepared before stir-frying. This is also true for the sauce.
The beef is coated with cornstarch and then deep fried. The sauce is traditionally made of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and a bit of Asian hot sauce. Garlic and ginger are added into the mix to complete it. This particular recipe is an easy version that makes use of minimal ingredients. The beef still needs to be coated with cornstarch and deep fried. The sauce that you will get from this recipe is somewhat similar to Teriyaki sauce except that this is thicker and has flavors of garlic and ginger. I did not make it spicy so that everyone can try it. I think that this great recipe, especially for beginners who want to explore the world of cooking for the first time. Here is a spicy version of Mongolian Beef for those who are interested.
Cooking Mongolian Beef
Start by selecting the cut of meat to use. Flank steak, tenderloin, and sirloin are good cuts of beef for this dish. Make sure to cut the meat as thin as possible in order for it to cook quickly. One of things that I like about Mongolian beef is its quick cooking time. It takes less than 30 minutes to complete. You can also request your butcher to slice the meat for you. Make sure that you give the correct instructions. You can probably tell your butcher what dish you’ll be making. Chances are he or she might have an idea.
Preparing the meat
I usually season the beef with salt and pepper first. This ensures that the meat will be tasty. It is a good idea to rub the seasonings all over the beef. Use your hands for best results. Make sure to wash your hands or wear a clean kitchen glove.
Coat the beef with cornstarch afterwards. This ingredient makes the beef crispy when deep fried. You will also notice that this will help thicken the sauce further during the last steps of the process. I usually let the beef sit for 12 to 15 minutes for the meat to absorb everything that I added.
The beef slices should be fried for not more than one minute per side. This will ensure that the inside remains tender and moist. I think this will give you more understanding as to why the meat really needs to be sliced thinly to cook faster. Put paper towels over a plate and place the fried beef slices over it. Now it is time to make the sauce from scratch.
Mongolian Beef Sauce
The sauce in this recipe is a combination of soy sauce, water, dark brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. This is just like making a Teriyaki sauce, as I mentioned earlier. The only difference is the texture and flavor. This sauce is thicker and garlicky. Don’t worry. It is a good thing.
Prepare the sauce by sautéing minced ginger and garlic in vegetable oil. You can also add a teaspoon of Sesame oil for that wonderful Asian food aroma. Note that it is important to mince the garlic and onion to bring out its maximum flavor. This means that you need cut it into very small pieces. This can be done manually or with the use of a food processor.
People that are accustomed to cooking Filipino food have the tendency to brown the garlic when sautéing. This is not necessary in this case. We need the garlic to be cooked quickly in oil while not turning brown. This is the reason why it is important to cut it into tiny pieces. This will quickly infuse the oil with flavor from the garlic and ginger.
Pour soy sauce and water immediately before the garlic starts to brown and then let the mixture boil. Brown sugar can be added once you notice bubbles coming out of the mixture. The amount of dark brown sugar in the recipe below might sound too much, but is just enough for the amount of meat that we are cooking. Always remember that Mongolian Beef is intended to be sweet.
Now you are ready to thicken the sauce. I am also using cornstarch for this purpose. Simply add a tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and pour the mixture into the sauce. Stir the mixture quickly to prevent the cornstarch from forming prematurely. The sauce will be thicker right before your eyes. Potato starch can also be used as an alternative ingredient.
Stir Frying the ingredients
The next step in the process is to stir fry the ingredients. This is the usual way of cooking Mongolian Beef. There are also other methods that you can consider such as using a slow cooker or instant pot.
Heat some of the leftover oil in a wok or pan and then start to stir fry the beef and half of the chopped green onions. Pour the sauce over and stir. Carefully stir continuously until the sauce completely thickens. Add the remaining green onions towards the end. It is good to partially cook the last batch of scallions to retain the color. This will make your dish look good after plating.
This dish is best when eaten with white rice. Simply serve it on a plate over rice along with a glass of your favorite drink.
Try this Mongolian Beef Recipe. Let me know what you think.
Mongolian Beef Recipe
- 1 lb. sandwich steak or flank steak sliced thinly
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 thumb ginger minced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 10 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup green onions chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- Season beef with salt and pepper. Mix using your clean hands.
- Add 4 tablespoons cornstarch. Continue to mix until all ingredients are well blended. Let it sit for 12 to 15 minutes so that the meat can absorb the flavors from the seasonings.
- Heat oil on a wok or pan. Fry one side of the beef for a maximum of 1 minute. Turn it over to fry the other side using the same maximum time. Remove the fried beef from the wok and arrange in a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
- Start to make the Mongolian beef sweet sauce by pouring 3 tablespoons of oil used to fry beef on a wok. Quickly saute garlic and ginger.
- Pour soy sauce. Let boil.
- Add brown sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves completely.
- Pour water. Stir and let boil. Continue to cook in medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/4 cup water. Stir until well blended. Pour half of the mixture into the sauce. Stir until sauce thickens. Add the remaining cornstarch mixture if the sauce needs to be thickened more. Pour sauce into a bowl. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil used to fry beef on a clean wok. Stir fry the fried beef for 30 seconds. Add half of the green onions. continue to stir fry for a minute.
- Pour Mongolian beef sauce into the wok. Stir-fry until the beef slices are completely coated with sauce. Add remaining green onions. Continue to cook for 1 minute.
- Transfer to a serving plate. Serve!
- Share and enjoy!