I have been cooking this Mongolian Beef Stir Fry recipe for years, remembering it from my mom’s own dish. It may have been a trend years ago and perhaps recently got attention again. Who knows? I am not one to cook based on trends. I cook dinner from what I have in my kitchen, ref and pantry. I also cook because my family enjoys home cooked meals more than eating out.
I am serious when I tell you this recipe was incredibly easy to make. You can use sirloin beef, skirt steak or thinly sliced beef cuts that are on sale. That’s the beauty of this recipe — it can be a ‘whatever’ type of beef, all you need to do is make sure the slices are slim to cook fast and easy.
I made this recipe my own by tweaking the amount of seasonings used. Some friends marinate these beef slices overnight which is a good idea, but if you do, be sure to omit the sugar. Sugar will sweeten the dish the way I remember it. But sugar toughens meat. So like most entrees which require sugar, I add it at the last few minutes before cooking.
The sweet-savory sauce of this Mongolian beef defines the dish. It is almost like a teriyaki-based sauce, but when cooked is reduced so the beef strips are nearly dry. The strips maintain a shiny glaze all over, and pan searing it gives that slightly dark brown crusty edge which is almost like a grilled barbecue entree. Once the meal is ready, the ginger-onion aromas blend well with the peppers. There will be droplets of sauce remaining in the skillet — make sure to have a mound of steamed rice ready to catch the heavenly slurry.
The finished platter of Mongolian beef will look vibrant and splendid, your family will attack it with no questions asked about its origin. Nobody will even ask where Mongolia is. They’ll be too busy wiping their plates clean by swishing the last grains of rice on the streams of sauce left.
Mongolian Beef Stir Fry
- 1/2 pound sliced thin, in 2-inch long strips beef sirloin (or use skirt steak, tenderloin, or other beef cuts preferred)
- 2 Tablespoons divided, use 1 Tablespoon to marinate beef vegetable oil
- 4 Tablespoons divided, use 1 Tablespoon for slurry with cornstarch, rest for marinade soy sauce (low sodium)
- 1/2 teaspoon for marinade sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper powder
- 3 Tablespoons divided, use 1 Tablespoon to coat beef, rest for sauce cornstarch
- 1 large sliced red or white onion
- 1 cup sliced seeded, white membrane removed red or green bell peppers
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 piece about 1-inch long, cut further into thin strips fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup to mix the slurry water
- 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 Tablespoons to add to beef brown sugar
- 2 stalks chopped, for garnish scallions or green onions
- for serving boiled rice white or brown
- Marinate beef strips in oil, soy sauce, salt and black pepper for 4 to 6 hours, or even overnight. Place beef and seasonings in a covered plastic container or resealable plastic bag (Ziploc) and refrigerate.
- The next day, over medium heat add the remaining oil to the large skillet or wok. When oil is hot, stir fry the onions and bell peppers for 1 to 2 minutes till onions are translucent. Remove the onions and peppers from the skillet and set aside.
- To the same skillet or wok, add the garlic and ginger. Stir fry for 1 minute. Keep cooking at medium heat.
- Add brown sugar to the beef and mix well. Coat the beef strips with a tablespoon of corn starch. Add the beef to the hot oil with the garlic and ginger. Pan sear for 8 to 10 minutes till beef strips are brown. Remove beef and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons cornstarch, water, remaining soy sauce. Blend well till there are no lumps. Add this mixture to the skillet or wok over medium heat. Let the sauce mixture boil. When it boils the sauce thickens. Lower heat to a slow simmer.
- Return to the skillet the onions and peppers, then the cooked beef strips. Add the sesame oil. Mix all the ingredients well till thickened sauce coats the beef and vegetables.
- Garnish with scallions. Serve with boiled rice.
- Cook's comments: I used low sodium soy sauce for this recipe because I marinated the beef strips overnight. Feel free to use regular soy sauce for a stronger flavor or even the lighter flavored Tamari soy sauce (gluten free ) if these are your personal preferences.
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