I love take out! And Chinese take-out is amazing, right? Mongolian Beef is one of my favorites from a local restaurant, but when I've ordered it in different places, I'm never quite as satisfied. It's often too sweet and not as flavorful as my local place. So I set out to find the way to make it the way I like it and after a bit of trial, error, and research, I've landed on this.
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What cut of beef should I choose for Mongolian Beef?
I usually choose flank steak, but you can use sirloin steak, NY strip, or any other kind of steak that will take the marinade well and be tender. Always slice across the grain as it helps tenderize it and be sure to cut small enough pieces so that if someone wants to use chopsticks, they can just put a nice piece in their mouth without having to cut it.
Mix oil, soy sauce (or coconut aminos, like I use), and some cornstarch to create a marinade for the beef.
Toss the beef slices with the marinade ingredients and let it marinate for about an hour.
Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the sauce. A little brown sugar and some soy sauce (or coconut aminos). You'll also need to mix up a little cornstarch slurry, which is just some corn starch mixed with an equal amount of water, to thicken the sauce at the end.
Why I use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
I have an autoimmune disease which is largely affected by hormone imbalance. Soy sauce has estrogenic effects which can lead to the imbalance and cause unwanted symptoms such as inflammation. Soy sauce is also made by fermenting soy, wheat, and salt so if you eat gluten-free, you need to avoid soy sauce. You can find gluten-free tamari sauce which is a good substitute, but it's still derived from soy.
Soy Sauce Substitutes
- Fish sauce. Fish sauce is made by fermenting fish and salt. It doesn't have the same caramel taste that soy sauce has, but it is a great seasoning. My favorite brand is Red Boat.
- Salt. The main purpose of soy sauce is to season food. I would also add a bit of molasses or dark brown sugar to mimic the caramel flavor tones in soy sauce.
- Coconut Aminos. Coconut aminos tend to taste a bit more sweet than soy sauce so I usually add a little less, then round out with fish sauce or even simply salt.
- Anchovies. You might not think you like anchovies, but they are salty and give a great flavor that you'll never recognize as anchovies!
Back to the Mongolian Beef!
The real flavor comes from these aromatics! Red chiles, freshly grated ginger, and fresh garlic really dial up the taste in this dish. You can use as many chiles as you can stand the heat of and although five are pictured below, I can't handle that much spice! But you do you.
You'll cook the meat in the wok, getting it somewhat crispy, then add in the aromatics for a quick cook. Then add the sauce and corn starch slurry to thicken and dinner is served!
How to serve Mongolian Beef
Over rice, of course, and topped with sliced green onions. I like Basmati rice and I soak it for about 7 hours to help make it more digestible and fluffy. Just look at that sauce!
Other recipes you might like:
- 1 pound flank steak sliced ¼-inch thick against the grain
- 2 teaspoons oil I like olive or avocado oils
- 2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- 2 Tablespoons corn starch
- Oil, for the wok or large skillet
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup hot water (or beef stock)
- ½ cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon ginger freshly grated
- 5 dried red chili peppers (or as many as you can stand)
- 4 cloves garlic chopped small
- 2 Tablespoons corn starch mixed with 2 Tablespoons water (cornstarch slurry)
- 4 scallions sliced thinly
- Mix the oil, coconut aminos, and corn starch, then toss the sliced beef with it, coating each piece. Marinate for 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, make the sauce by mixing the brown sugar and hot water until the sugar is dissolved. Mix in ½ cup coconut aminos. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat, then add oil to coat the bottom. Spread the flank steak pieces evenly in the wok and cook for about 1 minute, then turn them to cook the other side. Depending on the size of your wok or skillet, you might need to work in batches.
- After all the beef is seared, put it back in the wok, and add the chiles, garlic, and ginger. Stir to incorporate with the beef, then add the sauce. Let simmer for about 2 minutes, then add the cornstarch slurry mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened.
- Put the beef on a platter, top with sliced scallions, and serve with steamed white rice.
Looks delicious, Tammy! I think I will try the recipe out this upcoming week.
I hope you like it! Let me know!!