Mongolian Beef – Tender strips of beef and vegetables are cooked in a sweet and savory soy sauce and served over a bed of rice or lo mein noodles.
When it comes to Chinese food, I tend to stick to what I know and love: sesame chicken, sweet & sour chicken, and orange chicken. All chicken dishes and all sweet. How predictable is that?
However, things changed when a friend of mine introduced me to Mongolian beef. She orders it everywhere and raves about how yummy it is. So when having lunch at a local Chinese spot one day, I took a taste for myself. It was so yummy and tender with a hint of sweetness and no spice. Right up my alley!
During this extra time at home, I’ve been using it to cook up new things. I rarely cook beef at home and even more rarely cook Chinese food. Time to switch things up, people!
So for today’s recipe, I am sharing my recipe for Mongolian beef – made with no fancy ingredients at all!
What is Mongolian beef?
This is a tricky thing to answer…I couldn’t find an exact definition about what ingredients go in to Mongolian beef aside from these basics:
- Thinly slices beef
- Sliced onions
- Sweet sauce
- Not spicy
Because this beef is so basic, you’ll find various recipes, some using fancy Chinese ingredients like fish sauce and hoisin sauce. But there’s no need for all that. All you need is soy sauce, brown sugar, and some spices to achieve a yummy sauce that accompanies this beef perfectly.
How is this recipe made?
This beef is made in a few main steps: cook the veggies, cook the beef, and cook the sauce. Each of these take different amounts of time and heat so we cook them separately and then toss them together at the end.
We start with the veggies to lay down the base flavor in the pan. The white onion and peppers are cooked for a couple minutes to soften them and flavor the oil before we cook the meat. The veggies are removed and set aside.
Next comes the beef. It’s tossed in cornstarch before we add it to a very hot pan with oil. The cornstarch will create a slightly crispy exterior and help thicken the sauce later on. For this step, you’re only going to cook it enough to sear the outside and then remove it from the pan. It’ll cook more when we add it to the sauce.
This sauce is one of the simplest you’ll ever make, especially for a Chinese dish. It’s made with soy sauce, water, ground ginger, minced garlic, and brown sugar. I add in a little Sriracha to give it a little zing of flavor but you don’t have to.
The sauce cooks together for a minute before we add the beef in to finish cooking for another minute. Finally the veggies are added back and toss in the sauce with the beef. And that’s all there is to it!
I serve my beef over rice, but you can also serve over noodles, if you prefer.
Tips & Tricks
- The beef will thicken the sauce so if you want it more on the runny side, don’t let the sauce thicken too much before the beef is added to it.
- It’s important to cook the veggies and beef on high to get them to cook fast but still stay tender. But to make sure they don’t burn, stir them constantly.
- 1 lb thinly cut steak cut into strips
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 bell peppers sliced into strips
- 1 medium white onion sliced into strips
For the sauce:
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (optional)
- 4 stalks green onion
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- Add the beef strips to a large storage bag. Add the cornstarch. Seal the bag, removing all air and shake to coat the beef in the cornstarch. Set aside.
- Place 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet and set over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pepper and onion to the pan. Toss occasionally to help them cook evenly. Once you see the veggies start to char a little, remove from the pan and place in a bowl to set aside, leaving oil in the pan. Return pan to heat and add remaining tablespoons of oil.
- Once oil is hot, add beef and sear for about 1 minute per side. Remove from pan and place in a separate bowl from the veggies. If there is excess fat or oil in the pan, drain it out.
- Place pan back on stove and heat to medium-high. Add soy sauce and water to pan. The pan should sizzle and the burnt beef pieces should loosen up from the pan. Use a spoon to help them out. Add in the brown sugar, minced garlic cloves, and ground ginger to the sauce and stir together. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium heat.
- Add in the Sriracha and the beef to the sauce. Cook for 1 minute or until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the veggies back in and toss them in the sauce. Cook for 1 minute to heat them up and then remove from heat.
- Serve beef over white steamed rice or lo mein noodles.
That sauce looks and sounds amazing, with some amazing flavors! I’m guessing this would be great with noodles too as much as it’s with rice. Delicious!
This is great dinner option. So easy to make and yet so delicious and healthy. I will definitely put this on my to try list. Can’t wait to make this.
That sauce just sounds so so good and filled with so much flavor! This is just like a restaurant meal (but so much better!).
Heidy McCallum says
This Mongolian Beef really did come out very tender and super tasty! I loved the flavor and the kids even ate it without complaint. I felt like a winner last night after dinner! Great recipe and we will save it to make another day!
This is absolutely delicious and perfect for weeknight dinners in our household. We eat steak quite a bit, and our freezer is stocked with it. Thanks for giving us a new, creative way to use it!
OMG I’m drooling! I love Mongolian beef but have only had it in authentic Chinatown restaurants. I had no clue how easy it is to make at home. Excited to try it!
I love Mongolian beef but can’t order it out because of gluten. So nice to be able to sub GF soy sauce and make a restaurant-quality recipe at home!
Loreto and Nicoletta Nardelli says
This Mongolian beef looks so good! Onions and peppers are a great touch and that simple sauce sounds delicious!
Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! Me and my partner cooked it couple of nights ago for dinner, and it was such a hit! That sauce is just heavenly, so much flavour! We served ours with some noodles and cold beer on side, it was utterly delicious!
YUM…this was SO good, and the favors were amazing!
I don’t think I remember when was the last time I made anything similar. Fantastic recipe that looks easy to follow and just the way it should be. And the soy sauce over rice is a fabulous combo!
Ashley J Newton says
This sounds freaking awesome. Adding to my meal list!
YUMM this looks so tasty!!! I will have try making this gluten free!!! thanks for sharing this recipe.
this looks so yum! I am going to have to add it to our dinner options.
Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
Okay, I just finished dinner, abut I’m drooling over this dish! I love it! I’m going to pass it on to my hubs to make for dinner soooooon!
Dolly @ Thrifty in the Kitchen says
This looks so sticky and delicious! Love those bell peppers adding color and I can just imagine how yummy this is served over rice. Want, want, want!
Well this is majorly delish! Love the simple ingredients with mega flavor!
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness says
I love the sound of this!! Once I find steak in stores, I am definitely giving this a go. Thanks for the recipe!!
Beth Pierce says
Oh my goodness! My mouth is watering! This looks so delicious and tasty. I can’t wait to make this!
I am so hungry looking at this recipe. Yum, it looks so tasty and perfect for a meal you can cook at home and stay in for. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.
I actually have all the ingredients so I’ll try and make it tonight for dinner, it looks delicious
There’s a nice Mongolian BBQ joint within walking distance to our house. I’d love to be able to recreate their beef, and yours looks like it will accomplish my goal.