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.