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Mongolian Beef Recipe (PF Changs Style)
- Toss the sliced beef in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons corn starch. Set aside.
- Add all sauce ingredients to a mixing bowl, and stir until combined. Set aside.
- Heat a pan over medium heat for a few minutes until hot. Add canola oil to coat the bottom. Add jalapeño and ginger. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic and sliced beef to the pan, evenly distributing the beef. Cook until the beef browns, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir the sauce and pour it into the pan with the beef. Mix well until everything is coated with the sticky sauce. Let simmer for a minute until thickened.
- Remove the pan from heat and stir in scallions. Serve over cooked white rice.
Mongolian beef is one of those recipes where the word authentic doesn’t apply, as it didn’t 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 or 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. It’s also really easy and fast to make at home.
Let’s talk about the beef. It should be very tender, and here’s a summary of my best tips for getting your beef to otherworldly tenderness:
- 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. Corn starch also helps the beef retain its liquids so that it doesn’t exude juices when it’s cooked.
- Quick sear: Don’t overcook the beef slices — just a quick sear until they’re browned. 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. You can also apply these tips to my other sliced beef dishes, such as my garlic herb steak and potatoes, crazy good beef and broccoli, and low carb beef and broccoli.
The dish is only mildly spicy; to make it hotter, include the seeds and membranes of the jalapeño when you add it to the pan. Or you can substitute it with a serrano pepper, which has nearly double the Scoville heat units of a jalapeño.