Mongolian Beef is a Chinese-American restaurant classic that features super-tender thinly sliced beef with scallions, stir-fried in a simple but flavorful sweet and tangy sauce.
The name of this dish is a bit of a mystery since Mongolian Beef did not originate in Mongolia. It is a Chinese-American restaurant classic that features thinly sliced tender beef with scallions stir-fried in a simple but flavorful sauce.
Mongolian Beef is one of my go-to weeknight dishes that you’ll often find on our dinner table. It is a snap to prepare and is always a hit.
The sauce is a perfect match for the stir-fried beef. It is slightly sweet and slightly tangy, but subtle enough that it does not overpower the flavor of the beef.
Tip: If time is not an issue, you could make Mongolian Beef in a slow cooker! Click here for the recipe for Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef.
What Kind of Beef to Use for Mongolian Beef
Most cuts of beef can be used in Mongolian Beef but the best options are flank steak and sirloin steak.
I would not recommend using stew meats like chuck and round as they tend to be a bit tough and a bit too easy to overcook.
It is also not necessary to use more expensive cuts like ribeye and tenderloin (although you certainly could if you wish; they’re delicious!) as the cornstarch really does help to tenderize the beef.
How to Slice Beef for Stir-Frying
Freezing the beef for about 30 – 60 minutes before you slice into it makes it much easier to cut.
When you cut any type of beef, always slice the beef against the grain.
One of the reasons I really like to use flank steak for this recipe is because it is really easy to see the grain and cut against it. For steaks like sirloin, the steak is often already cut across the grain so slice it at a bias so that the grains are as short as possible.
How to Cook Mongolian Beef
Pour 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt, and a dash of ground black pepper over 1 pound of thinly sliced beef.
Use your fingers to gently massage this marinade into the beef slices, then allow the beef to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok over high heat.
As the oil is heating up, add 2 tablespoons ginger (julienned or sliced) to the wok.
We’re going to fry the beef in about 3 or 4 batches. This will allow the beef to sear properly in the wok.
For each batch, spread the beef out in a single layer in the wok, then wait a few seconds before flipping them over with your wok spatula.
Remove the beef from the wok just as soon as it turns mostly brown. Some pink is okay. It does not have to be cooked all the way through at this point because it will finish cooking with the sauce.
Because the beef slices are so thin, it should take literally less than a minute for each batch depending on how thick they are. Any longer and it will be overcooked, tough, and dry.
Return all of the beef to the wok.
Then pour the sauce over the beef.
Give the sauce a stir; it will start to thicken very quickly.
Add 1/2 cup of scallions (about 2 stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces) to the wok.
I like my scallions with just a bit of a raw bite and crunch to them, so I normally turn off the heat before I add the scallions.
Stir for a few seconds just to combine the ingredients, then transfer the dish to a serving plate.
Serve immediately with steamed white or brown rice.
- 1 pound sirloin or flank steak
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Dash black pepper to taste
Mongolian Beef Sauce
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons ginger julienned
- 1/2 cup scallions about 2 stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1. Marinate the beef: Pour cooking oil, cornstarch, salt and black pepper over the beef. Use your fingers to gently massage the ingredients into the beef.
- Allow the beef to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the sauce by combining soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok over high heat.
- As the oil is heating up, add the julienned ginger to the wok.
- Stir-fry the beef in small batches. For each batch, spread the beef out in a single layer in the wok, then wait for a few seconds before flipping them over.
- Remove the beef from the wok just as it starts to turn brown. Some pink is okay because it will finish cooking with the sauce. It should take less than a minute to fry each batch.
- Return all of the beef to the wok, then pour the sauce over the beef.
- Stir to combine all the ingredients. The sauce will start to thicken quickly.
- Add scallions to the wok at the last minute. Give all the ingredients a good stir, then transfer the dish to a serving plate.
- Serve immediately with steamed white or brown rice. Enjoy!
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