Quick, delicious and easy. You need to give Mongolian beef recipe a try soon!
Mongolian beef is a popular Chinese-American dish that’s made with thinly sliced beef flank or skirt stake, cooked in a savoury brown sauce with green onions. You can also add other vegetables as in this recipe. Despite its name, it doesn’t have a direct historical connection to Mongolian cuisine. Instead, it’s a creation of Chinese-American restaurants.
You can serve this Mongolian beef simply over Basmati or Jasmine rice. It’s also really good served over egg noodles.
About this dish
When I was growing up in California in the 80s, the word ‘Mongolian’ implied deliciousness. Mongolian BBQ restaurants were everywhere and they were always packed.
With no connection to Mongolian cuisine, some suggest that the name was chosen for its exotic appeal, while others think that the term “Mongolian barbecue” (another Chinese-American creation) might have influenced the naming of this dish.
Whatever the actual reason behind its name, you are going to love this one!
Variations of Mongolian beef
You will no doubt see Mongolian beef served simply with only spring onions (scallions) as a vegetable. Many Chinese/American restaurants have put their own stamp on the dish though and included more veggies. In my version, you will be cooking up a Mongolian beef stir fry with lots of vegetables, making it a well-balanced and mouthwatering meal.
The way you cook the beef is down to you. Many restaurants serve Mongolian beef that is really crispy. Others cook the meat for a shorter time so that it is juicy and tender. You will find both options for cooking the beef in the recipe card below.
What are the key ingredients for Mongolian beef?
- Beef: Thin strips of beef, often flank skirt steak, are the primary protein in Mongolian beef. The beef is typically marinated and sometimes coated in cornstarch for a crispy texture when cooked.
- Sauce: The sauce is made with ingredients like soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar. It’s rich, savoury, and slightly sweet.
- Green Onions: Sliced green onions are a common garnish for Mongolian beef. They add a fresh, slightly pungent flavour and a pop of colour.
Can you work ahead?
Yes. You can slice and marinate the meat and also prepare the sauce a day or so ahead of cooking. Just place everything in the fridge until you are ready to start cooking.
You can also prepare any vegetables you are adding to your Mongolian beef.
How long can you store Mongolian beef in the fridge?
You can keep this in your fridge for at last three days. Then just heat it up in you wok or microwave.
Can Mongolian beef be frozen?
Yes. It freezes well for up to 6 months. You just need to defrost it completely and then heat it up in your wok or microwave.
How do you prepare the beef?
You need to slice your flank or skirt steak very thinly. If you place the meat in your freezer for about 30 minutes before slicing, the job will be easier.
For ease, slice the long flank or skirt steak into three pieces. Then thinly slice the meat against the grain. Slicing against the grain is important as if you slice with the grain, it will be tough and even chewy.
You can marinate the meat which add flavour and also tenderises it.
How do you get perfect results when frying the beef?
- Fry in Batches: Don’t overcrowd your wok or pot when deep frying. you want to maintain the cooking heat of the oil so frying in small batches is essential.
- Avoid Overcooking: Be careful not to overcook the beef. Thinly sliced beef cooks very quickly. If you prefer really tender beef, only deep fry it for about 2 minutes. For crispier beef, 4 minutes should do the trick. Just don’t overcook it or it will be a bit too crispy and touch.
What do you serve with Mongolian beef stir fry?
This is a meal in its own right. Simply serve it with rice or noodles and you will be very happy.
If you would like to make your Mongolian beef into a feast, you might like to serve it with one of these Chinese recipes.
Step by step photographs
- FOR THE MARINADE (optional)
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine or sherry
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- FOR THE SAUCE
- 70ml (6 tbsp) light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 250ml (1 cup) water
- 125g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper (optional)
- FOR COOKING THE MEAT
- 1kg (2 lbs) skirt or flank steak, sliced into thin ribbons against the grain
- ¾ cup cornflour (corn starch)
- Rapeseed (canola) or peanut oil for deep frying
- TO FINISH
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 x 5cm (2 inch) piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 5 spring onions (scallions), white parts finey chopped and green parts cut into 5cm (2 inch) pieces
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 6 dried Szechuan chillies, lightly bruised
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tbsp thinly sliced spring onions (scallions)
- To prepare the beef, divide it slice it into about 5 smaller pieces with the grain. Then slice it into thin slices against the grain. This is easier if you place the meat in your freezer for 30 minutes before you start slicing.
- Marinating the beef for this recipe is optional but I like to marinate it for extra flavour. To do so, whisk all of the marinade ingredients together until smooth. Add the meat and stir well to combine. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes or overnight. The longer the better.
- Pour all of the sauce ingredients into a small pan over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken. When the sauce thickens and becomes a bit glossy, remove it from the heat and set aside.
- Cover the meat with the cornflour (corn starch). Use your hands to ensure that the meat is evenly and completely coated with the cornflour (corn starch).
- When ready to cook, heat a wok over a high heat and add the oil for deep frying. I usually add about 750ml (3 cups). You are aiming for a cooking temperature of 190C/375F. If you don’t have an oil thermometer, place a wooden chopstick or spatula in the oil. When thousands of little bubbles form around it on contact, your oil is ready for frying.
- Fry the meat in batches so that you maintain the correct frying heat. If you prefer really tender beef, fry it for about 2 minutes. For crispy beef, fry the meat for 4 minutes. Be sure to stir from time to time so that the meat doesn’t stick together.
- When cooked tender or crispy to your liking, transfer the meat to a wire rack to drip any excess oil. Retain about 2 tbsp of the cooking oil and discard the rest. Heat the oil in a the wok over a high heat. Stir in the chopped garlic, ginger, white spring onions and Szechuan chillies and fry for about 30 seconds, stirring and/or tossing your wok as you do. Then add the sliced onions and bell peppers and fry for two minutes, continuing to stir like crazy.
- Add the fried beef and stir it into the vegetables and then pour your prepared sauce over it all. There isn’t a lot of sauce with this one so be sure to stir it in well to coal the other ingredients. Drizzle with the sesame oil and garnish with the green spring onions and toasted sesame seeds.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 321Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 1623mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 14g