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    The BEST Mongolian Beef

    This is a bowl full of super tender strips of beef, coated with a super glossy luscious sauce which is sweet and salty perfection! This is Mongolian Beef!

    You definitely don’t want some tough, dry meat to chew on with this one. With some easy tips and techniques you are going to have melt in your mouth tender beef morsels.

    Take out your chopsticks guys, this is the real deal!

    over head shot of mongolian beef served in two bowls

    Seriously, if you are looking for some easy Chinese flavors and beef is what you are craving, this is the number one dish that comes to my mind! A few tricks will create that magically luscious, tender meat. Then it’s coated with a simple, flavorful and slightly sticky sauce.

    And yes… I did add a touch of red chili peppers. They’re not conventional and entirely optional, but the color contrast it gives to the dish, along with the green onions is too hard to miss and it enhances the overall flavor.

    What is Mongolian Beef?

    mongolian beef in a bowl over rice

    Mongolian beef… is it Mongolian? Definitely Not!! None of the ingredients or cooking methods were from traditional Mongolian cuisine. Mongolians mostly steam or boil or stew their meats.

    The name “Mongolian” might have been the brainstorming of some Chinese chef to market and popularize this stir fry dish. Some says the Mongolian barbecue, which is a stir fry dish, originated in Taiwan. Some says it was invented in Chinese American restaurants.

    So it has a little murky origin. And yet it is one of the most popular and beloved dishes in any Chinese restaurant for its simplicity, flavors, and melt in your mouth tenderness. I am going to tell you some tips and tricks to make this restaurant special in your very own kitchen, and you will be amazed how quick and easy it is!

    side view of mongolian beef in a white bowl

    What cut of beef to use? Some tips and tricks

    You want an end result that’s silky tender. Of course, you can use some expensive cut like fillet or New York strip, but it’s not necessary. You can still achieve the same result with some value cuts like flank steak (most commonly used) or sirloin. Leaner cuts are ideal for stir frying, as they cook faster.

    The key here for super tender bites is a three part process.

    fingers holding a very thinly sliced piece of beef
    1. How do you cut your beef? When you have your beef on the cutting board, you will see long fibers, or grains, in the meat. You want to cut across these fibers for tender meat. If you cut with the fibers, the beef would be tough and chewy. When you are cutting it, slice it thin and at an angle. That’s the perfect strips.
    2. You need to tenderize the meat by marinating it in some standard Chinese tenderizers. This is called velveting the meat. Again, very important. For this I am using the regular soy sauce and corn starch, along with a tiny pinch of baking soda and a little Chinese wine.
    3. You need the oil pretty hot to quickly sear the meat and not overcook it. The ideal pot is a large wok, which heats up hot and evenly. If you have large quantities of meat, cook it in batches. You don’t want to overcrowd it, as then it would steam and stew rather than sear. Searing the meat quickly results in melt in your mouth tender meat.

    Now that you know the techniques, these are the ingredients you need for Mongolian Beef

    a picture of our ingredients

    For the stir fry:

    • Beef – I am using flank steak, but you can use other leaner cuts like sirloin or New York strip.
    • Red onion – I like it in mine.
    • Green onion or scallion – Plenty, as this green is so inviting in Chinese dishes.
    • Garlic – It’s Chinese food, right?
    • Ginger – Same.
    • Dried red chilies – Optional and uncoventional, but I love it in mine.

    For the marinade

    • Soy sauce (or tamari sauce)
    • Corn flour or cornstarch
    • Baking soda
    • Chinese Shaoxing wine or any rice wine (optional but so good)

    For the sauce

    • Soy sauce (or tamari sauce)
    • Chicken stock
    • Chinese Shaoxing wine (again, optional but so good)
    • Brown sugar – To make it keto friendly, replace with a sweetener with a 1:1 sugar ratio.
    • Corn starch mixed with water – To thicken the sauce. The sauce should be just enough to coat the meat, this is not a very saucy dish.

    Now the easy part, stir-frying!

    Start off by slicing your beef thin against the grain and at an angle.

    marinating the beef in a large bowl

    Mix well with the marinade and start chopping your onion, green onions, red chilies and finely chop garlic and ginger.

    Make your stir fry sauce by combining soy sauce, wine, brown sugar and stock. Separately, mix corn starch with water.

    cooking the beef in a large wok

    Heat the wok over high heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add your beef strips and cook quickly for 3-4 minutes per side. Don’t overcrowd the pan, as you just need to quickly sear the meat. It will cook fast. Take it out and spread it on a large plate so it doesn’t overcrowd and steam together.

    beef removed from wok, resting on a plate

    Heat some more oil and add in sliced onions and the white portions of the green onions and give it a quick stir till they are slightly soft. Add chopped garlic, ginger and strips of dry red chilies for a little heat, toss.

    onion, garlic, ginger and red chili added to the wok

    Now stir in the prepared sauce and cook for a minute or two. Add corn starch mixed with water. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.

    we have now added the sauce to the pan

    Now add in the beef tenders and mix till well coated with sauce. As a last touch to the dish, add in those beautiful spring onion battens. Give it a toss and serve warm over heaps of your favorite rice! You will be crazy amazed how crazy tender simple flank steak can be… it’s simply magic! Just follow the steps!

    completed stir fry in a wok, ready to serve

    Can this be made in a slow cooker?

    I have a good news for you… some lazy days you can make this cracker dish in your beloved crock pot. The meat will still be melt in your mouth tender with this cooking technique, slow and low for hours in that yum sauce.

    All you have to do is marinate the meat as in our regular recipe. THEN in your crock pot, add a couple tablespoons of oil + your sauce mixture (including corn starch) + onions + ginger + garlic + red chilies. Mix well.

    Stir in your marinated beef and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours till the beef is tender. While it’s cooking, check out my collection of the 50 Best Asian Recipes.

    Garnish with green portion of green onions and serve.

    Mongolian beef in a crockpot.

    How about Instant Pot?

    Absolutely, Mongolian beef is great in your pressure cooker!

    First marinate your meat. While it’s marinating, whip up your sauce.

    Turn your Instant Pot to Saute mode and add in oil. Once hot, add marinated beef and cook 2-3 minutes to get it a little browned up.

    Add in your sauce and mix everything well. Close the lid and pressure cook on High pressure for 10 minutes.

    Allow pressure to natural release for 10 minutes before opening the lid. Garnish with green onions and serve.

    What to serve Mongolian Beef with

    But of course, any rice. We love plain basmati or jasmine rice. But some like it with fried rice or even chow mein or fried noodles. Some kind of stir fried broccoli, beans, snow peas or bok choy are great additions to this meal.

    When I am watching carbs, I love it with cauliflower rice.

    Can you customize Mongolian Beef?

    Most restaurant versions comes without any extra veggies, but we do all different variations by playing with veggies. Any standard stir fry vegetable would go great in this dish, like broccoli or snow peas. Feel free to add in whatever you feel like that particular day. But believe me when I say just the giant pile of that beef is so so satisfying.

    close up of mongolian beef over rice

    Can I have some alternative to soy sauce?

    Yes. People looking for other alternatives can look into using coconut aminos or tamari sauce instead of soy. Both are brown colored sauces and have the same salty, umami flavor.

    Coconut aminos are a liquid made from aged sap of coconut blossoms and salt. It is a low glycemic, vegan, and gluten free alternative to soy sauce with 17 amino acids. They have 65% less sodium than regular soy sauce.

    Tamari sauce is Japanese, unlike Chinese soy sauce. It has a darker color and richer flavor than soy. Though similar in sodium content, it is gluten free.

    How to store leftovers

    It is good refrigerated so you can use it in your Asian bowls the next day for lunch. Keep in an airtight container for up to four days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 month. Great meal prep option!

    side view of mongolian beef in a white bowl

    Well… that’s my favorite way to eat beef when I have my Chinese cravings. And when I want chicken, you know what it is? My Kung Pao Chicken! Both of these fire cracking recipes, just for you… Get Woking!!

    Mongolian Beef, in my Gypsy Bowl… enjoy!

    mongolian beef in the gypsy bowl

    Ready to do more woking?
    Thai Basil Chicken
    Chicken Lettuce Wraps
    Korean Ground Beef Bowl
    Chicken Ramen Stir Fry
    Hunan Shrimp

    mongolian beef in 2 bowls

    Mongolian Beef

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Mongolian Beef - Melt in your mouth tender strips of beef stir fried in a silky velvety sauce. You can stir fry this in less time than a trip to the takeout place! Or for other options, try the crock pot or instant pot methods.

    Ingredients

    Stir Fry

    • 1.5 lbs flank steak
    • 1/2 onion
    • 5 green onions
    • 5 cloves garlic
    • 1.5 Tbsp chopped ginger
    • 4 dried red chilis
    • 4 Tbsp oil, divided

    Marinade

    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsp Chinese wine (optional)
    • 6 tsp corn starch
    • 1 tsp baking soda

    Sauce

    • 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari sauce
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock
    • 1/4 Chinese wine (optional)
    • 5 Tbsp brown sugar (see note 1 for keto options)
    • 1 Tbsp corn starch
    • 2 Tbsp water

    Instructions

    Stir Fry Method

    1. Thinly slice beef at an angle, about 1/8 of an inch. Mix with marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add in beef strips and mix well.
    2. Chop onions and green onions, separating white and green portions of green onions. Finely chop ginger and garlic. Cut dried red chilis into strips.
    3. Mix first four sauce ingredients. Separately, mix water and corn starch until well blended.
    4. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in wok over medium high heat. Add meat strips and sear, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and spread on a plate.
    5. Heat remaining oil to pan and add onion and white portion of green onions. Stir and cook until slightly softened.
    6. Add ginger, garlic and red chili strips, stir. Add mixture of soy sauce, wine, brown sugar and stock. Add corn starch mixture and stir well. Let simmer until sauce begins to thicken.
    7. Stir in meat and green portions of green onions.
    8. Serve hot with your favorite rice.

    Crock Pot Method

    1. Thinly slice beef at an angle, about 1/8 of an inch. Mix with marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add in beef strips and mix well.
    2. Chop onions and green onions, separating white and green portions of green onions. Finely chop ginger and garlic. Cut dried red chilis into strips.
    3. Mix all sauce ingredients except the green portions of the green onions.
    4. Add add all ingredients (again, holding aside the green portion of green onions) to the crock pot.
    5. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours.
    6. Garnish with reserved green onions and serve.

    Instant Pot Method

    1. Thinly slice beef at an angle, about 1/8 of an inch. Mix with marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add in beef strips and mix well.
    2. Chop onions and green onions, separating white and green portions of green onions. Finely chop ginger and garlic. Cut dried red chilis into strips.
    3. Mix all sauce ingredients except the green portions of the green onions.
    4. Turn your Instant Pot to Saute mode and add in oil. Once hot, add marinated beef and cook 2-3 minutes to get it a little browned up.
    5. Add in your sauce and mix everything well. Close the lid and pressure cook on High pressure for 10 minutes.
    6. Allow pressure to natural release for 10 minutes before opening the lid. Garnish with green onions and serve.


    Notes

    1. To make this keto friendly, replace the brown sugar with a substitute with a 1:1 sugar ration. When I am watching my carbs, I typically use a monk fruit blend like Lakanto.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 349Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 90mgSodium 1765mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 34g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

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