Archive for December, 2010

Copycat Mongolian Beef

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Since my mom made a point of calling out this recipe in yesterday’s update, I thought I’d go ahead and get this one out of the way.

My husband David is not a big fan of Chinese food. When we met, he didn’t like it at all, but I slowly wore him down with my homemade recipes and nagging requests to go to P.F. Chang’s, and now he’s made his peace with at least some chinese food. First, he found he liked my pepper steak. He eats the cashew chicken and sweet & sour chicken that I make from scratch. An occasional stir-fry or two. Then he branched out into similar dishes from Chinese restaurants, like beef and broccoli. Once we went to P.F. Chang’s, though, he was absolutely sold on Mongolian Beef.

And why wouldn’t he be? P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef is a delicious, tender, yet crispy pieces of thin steak, tossed in a delicious spicy-sweet sauce. Using a couple of recipes I found online, I was able to replicate the flavors almost perfectly. Keep reading to see how.

Copycat Mongolian Beef

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large green onions, sliced (you can skip these if you don’t like them)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (also optional, or you can use less or more depending on how spicy you like your food)

1.      Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Be careful not to let the oil get too hot. It should shimmer, but not smoke.

2.      Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.

3.      Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.

4.      Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices. If you tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak you’ll get wider cuts.

5.      Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. And let it sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

6.      While the coated beef is resting, heat up one cup of oil in a wok. (I don’t have a wok, so I used a dutch oven. Any heavy pan that holds heat well will work, as long as you can cover the beef with oil.

7.      Just as before, heat the oil over medium heat until it’s hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. (You don’t need to fully cook the beef here, since it’ll go to go back on the heat later.) Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly.

8.      After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, and drain the oil out of your wok or pan. Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and cook for another minute.

9.      Add the sauce from earlier, cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring, then add the green onions and red pepper flakes, if using. Continue to cook for one more minute, then remove the beef mixture with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate. There will be extra sauce, but it’s delicious as a dipping sauce for egg rolls or dumplings, or just drizzled over the beef when served with rice. You’ll definitely want to serve this over rice to soak up as much of the rich sauce as possible.

Christmas Round-Up and A Look Ahead

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Hey everyone, it’s been awhile. I apologize for that. Things have been busy, blah blah blah, excuses, excuses. The truth is, I haven’t had time to try very many new recipes, so I’ve been lacking in the inspiration department. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to take better pictures, which I think I’ve gotten a handle on. Finally, we got a dog, and she takes up a lot of my time (in a good way!).

Obligatory Picture of the New Pup

I’m going to go ahead and make an early New Year’s resolution to get back to blogging more in 2011. That means making a point of trying more new recipes, which I’m also excited to do. Our old standbys are good, but we’ve been relying on them a little too often lately. I’m ready to be a bit more adventurous.

I thought it might be nice to mention some of the foodie Christmas gifts I got, since they’ll likely feature heavily in my future recipes, one way or another. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory–More than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles & Wizards
  2. A new Cupcake Courier, that holds up to 36 cupcakes, but also, Bakerella assures me, Cake Pops!
  3. A Swissmar-Borner V-Slicer with Mandolin (I’ve wanted a mandolin for so long–can’t wait for an excuse to use it!) Also with a cut-resistant glove, for safety.
  4. The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Love that Pioneer Woman!
  5. A whole slew of Cooking Light’s annual editions, ranging from somewhere around 1987 to 1995. Lots of great hidden treasures in there, I’m sure!
  6. Glittery pinch bowls from Crate & Barrel. So cute!
  7. A big set of colorful, nesting mixing bowls from JC Penney. I love mixing bowls. Especially nesting ones. Always useful.
  8. A new crockpot. I love my old 3-in-1 Hamilton Beech, and have no intention of getting rid of it, but the new one has a timer, which is definitely helpful sometimes. I’ll keep ’em both!
  9. A GIANT cupcake-shaped baking pan, to make GIANT cupcake-shaped cakes. Just need an excuse to try this one out!

I’m very excited to get in the kitchen and play with all of my new toys. And to share the results with all of you. Hope your holiday was great, and have a Happy New Year!

P.S. I seem to have missed a blogiversary! Make A Whisk has been here for two whole years. Keep an eye out for a year-in-review post of all my favorite recipes from 2010. You can also look forward to recipes for Cider-Glazed Chicken, Pecan Rice Pilaf, S’More Dessert Bars, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, a very successful copycat recipe for PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef, and Cooking Light’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread. See you soon!