The next time you're craving Mongolian beef in that sweet and savory, glossy sauce, skip the trip to the restaurant and make this popular dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. Featuring strips of tender flank steak, lots of flavorful garlic, ginger, green onions and red chilis for a kick, my Mongolian beef recipe is an easy and mouthwatering take on this favorite!
Mongolian Beef is best when prepared from scratch
Often times when my husband and I get a hankering for a little meal out, but can't quite get our cravings aligned, we can pretty much always settle on our favorite little Asian restaurant about fifteen minutes from our home.
It isn't a fancy place at all, and some would argue that it's not necessarily even all that authentic, but that's alright with us.
The food is always hot, delicious and flavorful, the service super friendly, and we always enjoy ourselves when we go.
This place has an extensive menu, and I must say I love to sample something different as often as I can.
For quite a while, I had been wanting to try Mongolian beef, a dish that a lot of big-name Asian restaurant chains usually offer.
But I discovered that our favorite place actually didn't offer Mongolian beef on their menu!
So of course, that meant that I would have to put my own recipe together (after doing a little research), so that I could finally enjoy this popular restaurant entree, and see for myself why it’s so beloved!
My Recipe for Mongolian Beef
What is Mongolian Beef? What makes it so popular?
This particular dish has everything we love about Chinese-American cuisine.
When done just right, it's perfectly sweet and savory, slightly spicy, and loaded with lots of delicious aromatics such as ginger, garlic, green onions and even a few dried red chilis, all combined to bring a nice pop of deep, fragrant flavor.
For my Mongolian beef recipe, I found that using flank steak is the best option, because it's tender and sears up quickly in a hot cast-iron skillet, the next best thing when one doesn't have a wok.
To finish off this tasty dish, I prepared a simple sauce with a bit of soy, hoisin, and brown sugar to toss everything together and give it a delectable gloss.
The best way to serve Mongolian beef is “family style”, in a large platter, with hot rice on the side, or even noodles.
Here's a glance at my Mongolian Beef recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I whisk together the ingredients for my simple sauce.
- Then, I toss my strips of flank steak with some salt, pepper and cornstarch, and set aside while I heat my heavy bottom pan (cast iron is great here).
- Once the pan is very hot, I add a some of my flank streak (working in batches) and leave it undisturbed for a few minutes on that first side, to crisp up. Then, I flip and sear on the other side, until crispy and golden. I remove the beef from the pan and repeat the process with the rest of the meat.
- Next, I add a touch more oil to the pan and add in my dried red chilis to soften for about 30 seconds, followed by the garlic and ginger.
- I add the beef back to the pan, along with some green onion and the sauce, and stir it to combine and coat.
- I serve the Mongolian beef with rice on the side, or even noodles.
by Ingrid Beer
This Mongolian beef is generous on the ginger and garlic, and cooks up quickly for a delicious, better-than-restaurant quality meal at home!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 423 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons water
- 1 ½ pounds flank steak, sliced very thinly against the grain on the bias into about 1 ½ inch strips
- Black pepper
- ¼ cup (heaping) cornstarch
- Vegetable oil (I like avocado), about 6 tablespoons total
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 5 dried red chilis
- 2 teaspoons garlic, pressed through garlic press (about 4 large cloves)
- 4 green onions, sliced on the bias into 1” long pieces
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare your sauce, whisk together the hoisin sauce, the soy sauce, the brown sugar and the water. Set aside.
- Toss the sliced flank steak with a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper, plus the the cornstarch. Set aside while you heat your pan.
- Place a wok, cast-iron skillet or other heavy-bottom pan over high heat, and drizzle in about 4 tablespoon of the oil. Once smoking hot, add in some of the flank steak (working in batches) in an even layer and sear, undisturbed, on that first side for a couple of minutes. Flip and sear on the other side, until the steak has a brown crust. Remove and hold on a large plate, and repeat with the rest of the steak.
- Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low now (as it will be very hot), and add about 2 tablespoons more of the oil. Then, add in the dried red chilis and stir to fry those up for about 30 seconds. Add in the ginger and the garlic, and stir together for about 30 seconds until aromatic.
- Add in the beef and stir to coat it in the mixture for about 30 seconds, then add in sliced green onions, and the sauce, and toss everything together to coat and become hot for about 30 seconds more.
- Serve family style over a bed of white rice, or spoon onto a platter and serve separately with rice or noodles.
Tips & Tidbits for Mongolian Beef recipe:
- Best cut of beef to use for Mongolian beef: Flank steak cut against the grain and on the bias is a great pick for this recipe. However, you could use sirloin, ribeye, or any other quick-cooking beef, if you desire, but definitely avoid using stew meat (it would be too tough).
- Choose your spiciness level: Because the dried red chilis are left whole, they don't add a huge amount of heat to the dish unless you bite directly into them, but feel free to leave them out if cooking for folks with a sensitive palate.
- Get that pan super hot: Because you don't want to overcook the beef, making sure that the skillet is very, very hot will for sure help. This way, when you add in a portion of the steak, it can begin to caramelize quickly, and then you can promptly remove it from the pan.
- Don't overcrowd the pan: Work in smaller batches with the beef as to not overcrowd the pan, causing the meat to steam.
Hungry for more delicious Asian-inspired recipes? Check out this Beef Fried Rice, this Teriyaki Salmon Bowl, this Ramen with Lemongrass-Ginger Broth, this Peanut Sauce Chicken, these Spicy Pork with Noodles, or this Teriyaki Chicken!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2018, and has been updated with even more love!