Mongoliany Beefy

 

Mongolian Beef, An “Authentic” Recipe

Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com
What, exactly, are the origins of Mongolian Beef? It’s definitely not Mongolian… In fact, in Mongolia, more often than not, meat is simply boiled and dipped in sauces–not exactly a stir-fry. Of course, everything is served with Bai Jiu, a stiff, white lightning liquor made of sorghum (usually 90 proof or higher!) that is very popular in China. (A friend of mine who visits his Mongolian in-laws almost always ends up drunk and horizontal on the couch after the traditional welcome-home dinner!) As for the true origins of Mongolian beef, my theory is that someone just forgot to add the orange to a wok full of Orange Beef, and added more sugar instead. Hence, the Mongolian Beef recipe was born. (But, as Judy and the girls would say, that’s just my crazy theory/the ramblings of an old coot!) Anyway, chalk it up to Chinese-American menu planners and marketers who dubbed the dish “Mongolian Beef.” It’s a close cousin to “Singapore Noodles,” a dish that many actual Singaporeans scratch their heads over––most likely born in the stainless steel kitchen of a Chinese takeout joint! So when we say our Mongolian Beef recipe is “authentic,” we simply mean that it’s very close to what one would expect from a restaurant––only better! Now that we have that clear, it doesn’t take a genius to know that despite their somewhat misleading names, these dishes can be GOOD! P.F. Chang’s version of this dish is probably the most well-known, but, personally, I think their dish is way too sweet, and it’s definitely too sweet for Judy (which is saying something, since she comes from Shanghai, where sweet-savory dishes are often the main event). In fact, when Judy found out I was going to make a Mongolian beef recipe, the exclamations were strong and immediate: “Too sweet! Too oily! No good! You’re crazy!” So, I adjusted. Cut the sugar–wayyy down. Reduce the amount of oil used–wayyy down. And…after the photographs were taken, the Mongolian beef on the plate disappeared before all of our eyes once the rice was served. Amidst the feeding frenzy were these comments, muffled by mouthfuls: Sarah: “Holy crap, that’s tasty!” Kaitlin: “Daaang, gimme more of that rice!” Judy: “WOW. That is SO good!” My humble remark: “Ok, you guys were hungry.” Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com You’ll need:
  • 8 ounces flank steak, sliced against the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, for frying the beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 5 dried red chili peppers (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water or low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch long slices on the diagonal
Marinate the beef for 1 hour in 1 teaspoon oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Dredge the meat in the remaining 1/4 cup of cornstarch until lightly coated. Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com Heat 1/3 cup oil in the wok over high heat. Just before the oil starts to smoke, spread the flank steak pieces evenly in the wok, and let sear for 1 minute (depending upon the heat of your wok). Turn over and let the other side sear for another 30 seconds. Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com Remove to a sheet pan; tilt it slightly to let the oil drain to one side (lean it on a cookbook or cutting board). The beef should be seared with a crusty coating. Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com Drain the oil from the wok, leaving 1 tablespoon behind, and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the ginger and dried chili peppers, if using. Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com After about 15 seconds, add the garlic. Stir for another 10 seconds and add the soy sauce and chicken stock (or water). Bring the sauce to a simmer, add the brown sugar, and stir until dissolved. Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com Let the sauce simmer for about 2 minutes and slowly stir in the cornstarch slurry mixture–until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the beef and scallions and toss everything for another 30 seconds. Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com There should be almost no liquid as the sauce should be clinging to the beef. If you still have sauce, increase the heat slightly and stir until thickened. Plate and serve with hot steamed rice! Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com Mongolian Beef, by thewoksoflife.com
Mongolian Beef

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

8 ounces flank steak, sliced against the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus 1/4 cup
1/3 cup vegetable oil, for frying the beef
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
5 dried red chili peppers (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water or low sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 scallions, cut into 1-inch long slices on the diagonal

Marinate the beef for 1 hour in 1 teaspoon oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Dredge the meat in the remaining 1/4 cup of cornstarch until lightly coated.

Heat 1/3 cup oil in the wok over high heat. Just before the oil starts to smoke, spread the flank steak pieces evenly in the wok, and let sear for 1 minute (depending upon the heat of your wok). Turn over and let the other side sear for another 30 seconds. Remove to a sheet pan; tilt it slightly to let the oil drain to one side (lean it on a cookbook or cutting board). The beef should be seared with a crusty coating.

Drain the oil from the wok, leaving 1 tablespoon behind, and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the ginger and dried chili peppers, if using. After about 15 seconds, add the garlic. Stir for another 10 seconds and add the soy sauce and chicken stock (or water). Bring the sauce to a simmer, add the brown sugar, and stir until dissolved.

Let the sauce simmer for about 2 minutes and slowly stir in the cornstarch slurry mixture--until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the beef and scallions and toss everything for another 30 seconds. There should be almost no liquid as the sauce should be clinging to the beef. If you still have sauce, increase the heat slightly and stir until thickened.

Plate and serve with hot steamed rice!

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