For many, trying to replicate a Mongolian Beef recipe is a daunting prospect, so they opt for takeout instead.
There’s nothing wrong with that from time to time. But there’s so much reward in creating a warming dish with a depth of flavor from your kitchen at home.
Mongolian Beef vs Szechuan Beef
Contrary to its name, Mongolian Beef actually originated outside of Mongolia. The cooking method is traditional to Taiwan.
From there, the stir-fried dish made its way into American-Chinese restaurants. On the other hand, Schezuan beef originates from China, specifically the Szechuan region.
The two flavor profiles also differ. Mongolian beef tastes mild compared to Szechuan beef, which has bold sweet and savory characteristics.
Beef tenderloin is common in stir-fry recipes for its tender texture, which produces a soft result that’s pleasurable to chew.
Cornstarch is not only for a thicker sauce, but also keeps the beef moist. Flour or egg white are some ingredients that have the same effect.
All the vegetables, that is, broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, and scallions, all add nutritive value. You can completely omit them to suit your taste, but it will remove a chunk of nutrients from your meal.
The hoisin, dark soy, and lite soy sauces are essential to flavoring the beef without exceeding sodium amounts. Leaving them out would most probably result in a very dull, lifeless dish.
But you can substitute them with chicken stock while keeping small amounts of sauces for that dark, velvety presentation.
Equally, the light taste of wine balances the saltiness of the sauces, while a bit of vinegar adds an overall freshness.
Ginger, garlic, and red pepper spice add much-needed pungency and a kick to this dish. Contrastingly, brown sugar tones down the spiciness to differentiate Mongolian Beef from other sauteed dishes.
Lastly, chicken broth is going to add a savory flavor depth, while sesame seeds bring a healthy crunch. And of course, what better way to savor this dish than with some plain white rice.
What is Mongolian Beef?
Mongolian Beef is a mildly spicy dish that incorporates the sliced beef cut, a crispy coating, and a velvety sauce. It’s then served with steaming, hot rice.
It’s currently a popular takeout for many American families, carrying eastern flavors into western homes.
Don’t let the pile of ingredients scare you— Mongolian Beef is actually easy to make. But, a few steps before cooking the beef will help you achieve the ideal tender texture.
If using a tougher beef cut, wrap it in cling film and flatten it with a rolling pin to tenderize. Or use a meat hammer to accomplish a similar, softer outcome.
Then proceed to cut the beef against the grain to make it more tender and easier to chew.
The key to preserving the moisture in the meat is the velveting technique where you coat it with cornstarch. As the beef fries, it loses water.
Coating it significantly reduces moisture loss from the beef.
We also recommend using a large frying pan, as overcrowding leads to sticky beef pieces that are hard to separate. Another way to avoid this is to fry the meat in batches.
Lastly, avoid overcooking the meat. A dry result is unappealing and defeats the object of the steps that ensure a tender Mongolian beef outcome.
Sauce for Mongolian Beef
The sauce for this dish is unique to Mongolian Beef. By reducing soy sauce together with sugar and cornstarch, you can create a sweetness that balances the salty soy sauce.
A quintessential step in making the sauce is velveting. This involves coating the beef with cornstarch to preserve its moisture while maintaining the flavor and thickness of the sauce.
You may also substitute cornstarch for flour. It will most likely result in a thicker sauce but will maintain the overall taste of the traditional Mongolian Beef dish.
Lastly, if the recipe turns out to be too sweet for your taste, you can cut down the sugar. But keep in mind that the sweetness from the sugar balances the saltiness of the soy sauce.
How Many Calories in This Recipe?
This recipe contains just 496 calories of savory, delectable nutrients. It’s mostly made up of protein, which is excellent for increasing muscle mass.
Adding a salad and beverage to this dish completes a filling meal while keeping it healthy. And seeing that it’s relatively high in calories, you can best serve this as a main meal during lunch or dinner.
How to Make Mongolian Beef Stir Fry
There are two main parts to successfully achieve this Mongolian Beef recipe, namely, the crispy beef and velveted sauce:
Crisping – Start by deep-frying the coated beef to achieve a rich and crusted texture. Make sure the oil is at a high temperature.
This way, you’ll spend less time cooking the beef. Extended frying time may increase oil uptake, resulting in a higher-calorie meal.
Velveting – To hero the dish, create a thick sauce from the velveted beef by including cornstarch in the mixture.Reduce the sauce at a high temperature and finally add the beef and vegetables to complete the velveted sauce.
Is Mongolian Beef Healthy?
The main source of nutrients in this Mongolian Beef recipe is red meat. It boosts iron intake— a process necessary for promoting healthy red blood cells and preventing anemia.
Beef tenderloin is lean meat serving 6.5g of fats per 4 oz serving, with 2.2g as saturated fats. It is, therefore, a great source of low-fat protein that will benefit your body strength.
As a source of Vitamin B3 (Niacin), a 4 oz serving of beef provides 38% of the recommended daily intake. Niacin aids your digestive system by helping convert food to energy in your body.
In addition to preserving the moisture of the beef, we also reduce the oil uptake during deep-frying. Coating beef with cornstarch reduces water loss, which in turn reduces oil absorption and results in a lower calorie meal.
Can You Substitute Flank Steak in Mongolian Beef?
If beef tenderloin isn’t available, use flank or sirloin steak which are both just as tender and easy to cook. For those who prefer white meat, we suggest going for a lean cut of pork loin which is equally tender.
What to Serve With Mongolian Beef?
The rich, sweet, and salty flavors of Mongolian Beef go well with simple side dishes. The following complements may help to balance the spiciness of the beef.
Noodles are also an excellent option to complete a starchy portion in place of rice. They may even be more versatile.
You can saute them together with the beef for a saucy texture throughout the dish.
2. Cucumber Salad
A cucumber-mayonnaise salad adds a complementary balance of moisture and coolness. Taste, texture, and nutritional content complete this delicious dish without taking away from the flavors of the Mongolian beef.
3. Carrot Orange Pineapple Juice
You can round off this meal with a simple beverage. Carrot juice is refreshing, but more importantly, it’s low in calories while providing essential nutrients like vitamins A and C.
Mongolian Beef Recipe
- 10 oz beef tenderloin thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 oz broccoli florets halved
- 2 oz carrots sliced
- 1 cup soybean oil (*)
- 1 tsp ginger minced
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp lite soy sauce
- 1 tbsp premium dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp white wine
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted chicken broth
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 oz green bell pepper sliced
- 1 oz scallions chopped
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 3 cups cooked medium-grain rice equal to 1 cup uncooked
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- Holding your knife at a 45° angle, slice the beef against the grain (across the muscle lines) into ¼ inch thick pieces.
- Coat the beef with cornstarch and leave it to sit for at least 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and add broccoli and carrots. Cook for 4 minutes until just tender. Remove from heat and drain water from the vegetables.
- Add 1 cup of soybean oil to a large wok or deep pot. Heat at high temperature and dip in a chopstick to check for readiness. If it sizzles, add the beef and fry each batch for 30-40 seconds at high heat. Avoid overcrowding the wok. (Depending on the size of the wok, each batch may be 1/2 or 1/3 of the beef.) Remove from the heat and leave to drain. Remove oil from the pan, leaving 1 tablespoon.
- Mix the chicken broth and cornstarch until dissolved to make a cornstarch mixture. Set aside.
- Heat the frying pan with oil at high heat for 30 seconds. Immediately add ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds until garlic starts to turn brown.
- Add lite soy sauce, dark soy sauce, white vinegar, and hoisin sauce to the pan. Stir for 30 seconds then add brown sugar and stir for another 30 seconds until it dissolves.
- Add the beef and bell pepper and stir fry for 1 minute. Then add the cornstarch mixture and white wine, stir it and add the cooked vegetables and scallions. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until well coated with the sauce.
- Finally, add the red pepper flakes and sesame seeds and stir to evenly distribute.
- Remove from heat and serve over rice.
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