A recipe for homemade Mongolian Beef! Thin slices of marinated beef are pan-fried until crispy and coated in a thickened, glistening sweet soy sauce.
Mongolian Beef is one of my favorite options when ordering Chinese-American take-out. Despite the name, this dish has absolutely no ties to Mongolia. It was first developed in Chinese barbecue restaurants in Taiwan and now popular across the United States.
Luckily, it is easy to recreate at home in the same amount of time it would take to order and pick up from a restaurant! This way, you can also adjust the flavors based on taste. Thin slices of beef are marinated briefly, coated in cornstarch, and pan-fried until crisp and golden. To finish, they are coated in a glistening and thickened sweet soy sauce and served immediately with rice.
Flank steak (stir-fry beef) is the cut I personally like to use for Mongolian Beef. It comes from the cow’s abdominal muscles and is very lean and the most tender when marinated, cooked quickly over high heat, or braised. Sirloin or skirt steak will also work. Thinly slice the steak against the grain. If you are having difficulty slicing it, place the beef in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes to make it more firm and easier to cut.
The 15 minute resting time for the marinade is not required if you are cooking on a weeknight and need to pull something together in less than 30 minutes, but really does help add to the texture and tenderness of the beef with just a few extra minutes. Immediately before pan-frying the meat, toss in an additional 1/4 cup cornstarch until evenly coated. Fry the beef in at least two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. This will help add to the crispy texture.
I served the Mongolian Beef over a bed of steamed white rice, but it would also be delicious with crispy fried noodles.
Looking for more recipes to pair with rice?
- Loco Moco (Hawaiian Beef and Egg over Rice)
- Niratama Donburi (Japanese Eggs with Garlic Chives over Rice)
- Dak Bulgogi (Korean Soy-Marinated Chicken)
Mongolian Beef Recipe
Adapted from Just a Taste
- 1 pound (450 grams) flank steak thinly-sliced against the grain
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch white pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water to make slurry
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon julienned fresh ginger
- 4 green onions cut into 2 inch (5 cm) pieces, white and green parts divided
- Steamed white rice for serving
To marinate the beef:
- Place the thinly sliced beef in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch, soy sauce, vegetable oil, baking soda, and white pepper. Gently massage until the mixture is combined and evenly coats the beef. Set aside for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
To make the sauce:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water.
- Whisk in the soy sauce, water, and dark brown sugar until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large wok or pan, place 1/4 cup vegetable oil over medium high heat.
- Coat the marinated beef in the 1/4 cup cornstarch.
- Once thoroughly heated, add half the marinated, cornstarch-coated beef in an even, single layer. Cook until crisped and just golden, about 2 minutes. Flip to cook the other side until golden, another 2 minutes. Remove to a towel-lined plate and repeat with other half of the beef. Remove and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and white parts of the green onion to the wok (which should only have the 1 tablespoon of oil).
- Continuously stir until fragrant and the white pieces of the green onion are lightly softened, about 1 minute. Pour in the set aside sauce.
- Once bubbling and starting the thicken, stir in the crispy beef and green parts of the green onion. Continue to cook and stir just until the beef is cooked through and evenly coated in the sauce.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately with steamed white rice.