Sometimes after Thanksgiving I need a complete departure from traditional American cooking and from the hours spent in the kitchen. You’ll get just that with this simple and quick recipe for Mongolian Beef. Typically this is ordered in restaurants and not made at home, but I think it’s a great weeknight meal. Here are the key things to remember when making it.
Slicing the beef across the grain as thin as possible and heating your pan sufficiently before adding the beef helps to get good browning to contribute caramelization of the meat. Browning means more flavor. Try not to overwhelm your pan with beef. Less in the pan will help to get more browning. So cook it in two or even three smaller batches if your pan is not that big.
I like to serve the finished beef over crispy “mai-fun” rice noodles. They make this dish more fun and add a crispy crunch to the beef. Follow the directions on the package for frying the noodles to get them puffy and crispy or see my instructions in the recipe note. You can always serve the beef with cooked rice too. My preference is for brown basmati.
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon dried red chile flakes
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 pound flank steak or sirloin steak, cut in half lengthwise and sliced very thinly across the grain
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 green onions, cut into 1-inch long angle slices (about ½ cup)
- Mai-Fun rice sticks, optional (see note)(available in Asian section of many grocery stores)
- Vegetable oil, optional (see note)
- Whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, gingerroot, garlic, sesame oil and red chile flakes. Measure out 3 tablespoons into a separate container and whisk in the cornstarch; set aside.
- Put flank steak in dish suitable for marinating; pour remaining marinade over steak, turning pieces to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 30-60 minutes, turning once during marinating.
- Remove beef from marinade and transfer to a colander to drain. Discard marinade.
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or a large sauté pan over medium high heat; when oil is hot, add half of the flank steak and cook without stirring about 2 minutes. Once it is browned, cook and stir until the beef until evenly cooked about 2 minutes longer; remove and keep warm.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan; add remaining beef and repeat process. Return reserved cook beef to the pan, along with the sauce and cook and stir just to heat through, about 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle in green onions and cook and stir just to slightly cook, about 1 minute.
To fry noodles, heat one to two inches of vegetable oil in the bottom of a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Lightly break apart a small amount of noodles to separate and make easier to fry. In small batches, fry noodles in heated oil until puffy and cooked, about 1 minute (noodles puff up very quickly when the oil is heated to the correct temperature); remove to a paper towel lined dish and repeat process with as many noodles as desired.