What’s up, everyone? Today we’re going to delve into the secrets of making Mongolian Beef. But first, let’s address the burning question: does Mongolian Beef actually come from Mongolia? And what are the simple tricks restaurants use to achieve such silky, tender beef? A retired Chinese chef walks us through his recipe for Mongolian beef, a take-out favorite he’s made thousands of times.
JUICIEST Mongolian Beef Recipe
|Prep Time: 10 min||Total Time: 20 min||Yields: 4 servings|
- 11 oz beef (New York steak or flank steak)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (Amazon)
- 1 tsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (Amazon)
- 1 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (Amazon)
- 0.25 tsp white pepper powder
- 1 tbsp oil (pre-cooking)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (pre-cooking)
Stir Fry Ingredients
- 1 medium onion (red or white)
- 5 stalks scallions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 0.50 red bell pepper
- 0.50 green bell pepper
- 4 dried chili pepper
- 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (Amazon)
- 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (Amazon)
- 0.50 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (Amazon)
- 0.50 tsp chili sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cooking wine
- 1 oz oil (to be added first)
- 2 oz oil (to be added second)
- 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (Amazon)
What’s the best cut of beef for making Mongolian Beef?
Restaurants often slice up flank steak for this type of stir-fry. It’s also a great choice for beginner cooks, because the grain on flank steak is really, really obvious, which makes it easy to make sure that you’re slicing against the grain.
My dad also recommends using New York steak. If you can learn to recognize the grain and trim the gristle, it can be cheaper than buying flank steak.
An expert chef’s secret to tender, juicy beef
In the Mongolian beef recipe, we mix some oil into the marinated beef right before cooking, and it might seem like a step that can easily be incorporated into the marinade, or into cooking. But Daddy Lau has his reasons!
Oil is hydrophobic, so it repels water. If you mix it in with the rest of the marinade, then it’ll become a barrier between the meat and the other marinade ingredients, and the marinade flavors won’t be able to sink into the meat as effectively.
Instead, we want to let the meat soak up the marinade first, and then coat the outside with oil so that the hydrophobic barrier works for us, locking the marinade and the moisture inside each piece of beef.
Step 1: Cut and wash beef
- We’re going to start by trimming the beef (11 oz). Place it flat on a cutting board, and cut away any white, stringy gristle that’ll make the beef difficult to eat.
- Then, note which direction the grain of the meat is running. Cut the beef into thin slices across the grain. (You might have to first section your original piece of beef into chunks in order to get bite-sized slices.) This way, the beef slices will cook up silky and tender.
- Next, put the beef in a medium-sized bowl. Use cold water to rinse the red myoglobin from the beef so that it will cook up to be paler and more appealing-looking.
Step 2: Marinate beef
- In a bowl, add baking soda (1 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), water, oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tsp), tamari (1 tsp), and white pepper powder (0.25 tsp). Mix them thoroughly.
- Squeeze the excess water out from the rinsed beef slices, firmly enough to get the water out, but not so firmly that the beef slices break apart. Add the beef slices into the marinade, and mix well. As you mix the beef into the marinade, the beef will soak it up.
Step 3: Cut vegetables
- On a separate cutting board, halve the onion (1 medium) to make a flat surface. It’s much safer to cut it when it sits flat and steady on the cutting board. From there, chop it into 1/4-inch thick slices, and separate the slices by hand after.
- Chop the scallions (5 stalks) into 1-inch pieces. Separate the white parts from the green parts.
- Smash, peel, and mince the garlic (2 cloves).
- To cut the green bell pepper (0.50 ) and red bell pepper (0.50 ), set them up with the stem. Put your knife to the side of the stem and cut it straight down. You should be able to avoid most of the seeds in the piece that you’ve cut away.
- To make the strips more uniform, cut away the top and bottom edges of that piece to make a large rectangle, and then cut that rectangle into strips. Keep cutting away sides, making rectangles, and cutting strips for as much of each bell pepper as you need.
Step 4: Make the sauce
- To make the stir-fry sauce, mix together oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), dark soy sauce (0.50 tsp), chili sauce (0.50 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), and cooking wine (1 tbsp) in a small bowl.
Step 5: Prepare beef for stir fry
- Once the beef has absorbed all of the marinade, add oil (1 tbsp) to the beef and mix it in. The oil will help seal the marinade in and lock in the juices.
- Then, add cornstarch (1 tbsp) to the beef as well and give it another mix. The cornstarch will help the beef crisp up in the frying process.
Step 6: Stir fry beef
- Turn the stove to high heat, and let the wok heat up until it’s just about to smoke, or barely smokes. You might see some color change in the center of the wok.
- Add oil (1 oz), and swirl it around to coat the wok. Add the rest of the oil (2 oz), and let it heat for about a minute. Add the beef and fry it for about 1.5 minutes. The beef will be cooked through and even a little crispy by them.
- Turn off the stove and remove the beef from the wok. Let the oil drain off as you scoop the beef out so that the beef is not left sitting in a puddle of oil. Keep the cooked beef handy in a bowl nearby.
- Pour the oil out from the wok into a separate container. You can reuse this oil for cooking other dishes. The oil that’s remaining in the wok will be enough to finish cooking the rest of this dish.
Stir fry veggies
- Turn the stove back on, and add the garlic, dried chili pepper (4 ), onion, and green onion whites, and green and red bell peppers. Fry them for about 1 to 1.5 minutes, until they’re fragrant and cooked through.
- Add the beef back in and stir fry for about 20 seconds.
- Then add the sauce and the green parts of the green onion. Stir fry for 30 seconds more, then turn off the heat.
- Finish by drizzling sesame oil (1 tbsp) over the top and mix to distribute.
Step 7: Taste test and plate
Taste to adjust the flavors and plate once it’s to your taste! This is usually served in a large serving bowl or plate and everyone can take the amount they want.