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Quick and Simple Mongolian Beef

Hi Friends, welcome to Djalali Cooks! We are kicking off this week with another favorite Chinese Takeout dish. There’s no doubt phoning in a takeout order is as simple as dinner gets, but this preparation of Mongolian Beef isn’t any more trouble than googling the restaurant’s phone number. This recipe is by Hsiao-Ching Chou, from her cookbook Chinese Soul Food. I really love this book and I am excited to explore all the recipes. Hsiao-Ching has a wonderful way of making her recipes approachable; taking the intimidation out of complicated recipes. Let’s get right to it!

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First thing’s first: start your rice. When you get the rice going, put your one-pound flank steak in the freezer. Chilling the steak in the freezer for about 30 minutes will stiffen it up just enough so you can cut very thin slices. I am using London Broil instead of flank steak for this recipe; mostly because it was cheaper.

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Slice your steak with the grain, once or twice to get pieces of steak that are about 3-inches wide. Now we will make the thin slices against the grain. Going against the grain is very important, otherwise your steak slices will be tough once cooked. Use a very sharp knife – I like to use my utility knife because it’s shorter and thinner, which gives me more control.

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This Quick and Simple Mongolian Beef has green onions and white onions, along with optional red chilis – and that’s basically it. The flavor is also simple, we have soy sauce and sweet bean paste (Tian Mian Jiang), which you can easily get online, or substitute with Hoisin sauce.

Steak Slices

Once the meat is sliced, transfer the slices to a bowl and pour in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Use your hands to mix and evenly coat the slices with soy sauce. Then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of cornstarch over the steak slices and mix again. Set this aside and get your wok heating over high heat.

I opted to stir fry the steak slices in two batches to avoid overcrowding the wok, which creates more of a boiling or steaming situation for the steak, rather than a searing stir fry. Once the wok is screaming hot, pour three tablespoons of peanut, grapeseed or vegetable oil in the hot wok. Let the oil get shimmery then add half of the steak slices. Stir fry the steak slices for about 2 minutes, until the steak slices are mostly cooked though. Use tongs or a wok spatula to transfer the slices to a clean bowl.

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Let the wok get hot again (about a minute), then drizzle in a little more oil and stir fry the rest of the steak slices. Add more oil as needed. Transfer the second batch to the bowl with the first batch.

Chili and Onion Mixture

Now, pour in another tablespoon of oil and add the dried red chilis, if you’re using them. Stir fry the chilis for several seconds then add the green and white onions. Stir fry the onions for about 3-4 minutes, until the white onion slices are softened. Add more oil as necessary to keep the wok lubricated.

When the white onion slices have softened and started to get translucent, pour in three tablespoons of soy sauce and add two heaping tablespoons of the sweet bean paste. Stir in a tablespoon of water. Keep frying and stirring to coat the onions in the sauce.

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When the sauce is incorporated and the onions are coated, add the steak slices back to the wok and stir well to fully incorporate the steak into the onion mixture and coat the steak with sauce.

Quick and Simple Mongolian Beef

Remove the wok from heat and transfer the Quick and Simple Mongolian Beef to a serving dish. Top with fresh scallion slices and serve with rice.

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I have modified this recipe slightly, by adding more onion, which necessitated an extra tablespoon of soy sauce and sweet bean paste; along with more oil as needed. Such a quick and easy recipe, with all the flavors you want in your Mongolian Beef: sweet and savory with a hint of heat from the dried chilis.

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I do hope you give this recipe a try. It’s super simple, super quick and so very satisfying. Try some of my other classic Chinese Takeout recipes like Kung Pao Chicken, or Orange Chicken. Have a great week, take care and be well! xo Kelly

Kitchen Items Used in This Recipe

Quick and Simple Mongolian Beef

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Dinner, Main Course Chinese
By Adapted from Hsiao-Ching Chou's Chinese Soul Food Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: 10 Minutes Total Time: 25 Minutes

Quick and Simple Mongolian Beef with a little kick of heat; lots of sweet and crunchy onion, this Chinese Takeout classic right from your own kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Flank Steak, or something like London Broil
  • 5 tbsp. Soy Sauce, divided
  • 2 tsp. Cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp. Grapeseed, Peanut or Vegetable Oil, divided (plus more as needed)
  • 3-5 Dried Red Chilis, optional
  • 5 Green Onions, sliced into 2.5-inch pieces
  • 1-2 White or Yellow Onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 heaping tbsp. Sweet Bean Paste (or Hoisin)
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • Steamed Rice, for serving
  • 1 Green Onion, thinly sliced for garnish

Instructions

1

Place the steak in the freezer to chill and stiffen for about 30 minutes.

2

Slice your steak with the grain, once or twice to get 2-3 pieces of steak that are about 3-inches wide.

3

Now going against the grain, slice each 3-inch wide piece into thin slices, about 1/8-inch thick.

4

Transfer the steak slices to a bowl and pour in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Use your hands to mix and evenly coat the slices with soy sauce.

5

Then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of cornstarch over the steak slices and mix again. Set this aside and get your wok heating over high heat.

6

Once the wok is screaming hot, pour three tablespoons of peanut, grapeseed or vegetable oil in the hot wok. Let the oil get shimmery then add half of the steak slices. Stir fry the steak slices for about 2 minutes, until the steak slices are mostly cooked though. Use tongs or a wok spatula to transfer the slices to a clean bowl.

7

Let the wok get hot again (about a minute), then drizzle in a little more oil and stir fry the rest of the steak slices. Add more oil as needed. Transfer the second batch to the bowl with the first batch.

8

Now, pour in another tablespoon of oil and add the dried red chilis, if you're using them. Stir fry the chilis for several seconds then add the green and white onions. Stir fry the onions for about 3-4 minutes, until the white onion slices are softened. Add more oil as necessary to keep the wok lubricated.

9

When the white onion slices have softened and started to get translucent, pour in three tablespoons of soy sauce and add two heaping tablespoons of the sweet bean paste. Stir in a tablespoon of water. Keep frying and stirring to coat the onions in the sauce.

10

When the sauce is incorporated and the onions are coated, add the steak slices back to the wok and stir well to fully incorporate the steak into the onion mixture and coat the steak with sauce.

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  • Monique
    March 7, 2022 at 8:36 am

    Kelly, I bought the neuro fuzzy rice cooker!! I was on the fence and decided to finally to fall over to the purchase side!! We love it. The “forget about it” ease and fluffy rice that results is just great. Yes it takes 40 mins but dinner prep usually does as well so no problem. Thanks for your piece on it!

    • Kelly Djalali
      March 7, 2022 at 8:40 am

      Hello Monique, I am so glad you’re happy with your purchase of the rice cooker! It really is such a great kitchen appliance to have. Thanks so much for checking back in to let me know you got one! I hope your comment helps other people who are on the fence fall over to the purchase side! Have a great day, and happy rice cooking! xo Kelly

  • Mari
    March 7, 2022 at 10:39 am

    Hey it’s Monday morning, and every Monday I start hearing the Mamas and Papas in my head. They never sing on any other day of the week, but it’s a tradition by now, so I just go with it. I’ve pondered a rice cooker for years. My daughter loves hers, but I just use the rice setting on the Instant Pot and it turns out really well. This Mongolian Beef looks terrific, and it will be simple to make and eat. This feels like real comfort food, and after a busy weekend, it’s just what we need. Thanks for another good, easy and delightful meal. Happy Monday to Kelly, Alex, Terry and the pups.

    • Kelly Djalali
      March 7, 2022 at 11:20 am

      Hi Mari, you’re so right, this is a really comforting dish. Perfect for a Monday! I was surprised how easy and quick this recipe is – before you know it, it’s ready. I hope you give this one a try, I am sure you will enjoy it. Have a beautiful Monday! xo Kelly

  • Terry
    March 7, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    Happy Monday, love this I just so happen to have flank steak in the freezer. Possibly tonite I’ll keep you posted. ❤️? Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      March 7, 2022 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Mom, I am sure Grandma will enjoy this recipe, seeing how much she enjoys going out for Chinese food! I am sure it will be a hit. xo Kelly