Mongolian beef is an easy and fast 15-minute stir-fry recipe with tender beef slices and a bold sticky sauce with a hint of spiciness. It’s served with steamed rice or noodles.
Mongolian beef is one of those recipes where the word authentic doesn’t apply, as it did not originate from traditional Mongolian cuisine. Its name derives from “Mongolian barbecue,” which is made-to-order cooking that became popular in Taiwanese restaurants but actually has nothing to do with Mongolian cuisine nor barbecue. Instead, Mongolian beef is a dish that you’ll only really find in Chinese-American restaurants in the United States, like P.F. Chang’s. It’s a very popular dish and it’s easy to see why, with its deliciously strong savory sauce coating the sliced beef and rice. And it’s also really easy to make at home.
Let’s talk about the beef. The beef should be very tender, and here are my best tips for getting your beef to otherworldly tenderness levels:
- Thin cuts: A 1/4 inch thick slice of beef is what I typically use, but if you want more tender beef, you can try slicing even thinner pieces. The thinner the beef, the more tender it will be.
- Slice against the grain: Notice the long muscle fibers across the beef and how they are aligned. I recommend slicing perpendicular to those lines, so that you are cutting through the fibers. This will result in less work for your teeth and it will make the beef feel more tender.
- Premium cuts: I use flank steak for this dish, but if you opt for more premium cuts then you will get beef from more tender parts of the cow.
- Corn starch: Toss the sliced beef with corn starch prior to searing, as it’ll soften and tenderize the beef. This is a common step in many Chinese dishes.
- Quick sear: Don’t overcook the beef slices. Just a quick sear on both sides, about a minute per side, is more than enough. If you overcook the beef, it will get rough and hard.
If you follow these steps, you’ll end up with deliciously tender beef every time.
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