Monday, January 23, 2012

Recipe: Mongolian Beef

As much as I like to think that I am a chain-restaurant snob, there's a reason that they sprawl across the nation and entice us with greasy burgers, perfectly crunchy fries, and spicy sauteed chicken bites.  It's decent.  And consistent.  And readily available.

Well, now that I live 2 hours from our favorite chain restaurants (OK, we DID drive only an hour for Chipotle..... but that was 3 months ago & we won't be doing that again), I have to rely on my own ingenuity (aka Pinterest) to satisfy my mediocre foodie cravings.  Mongolian Beef from that ubiquitous-Asian-restaurant-that-rhymes-with-BF-Wang's is a family favorite, and lo and behold, I found a recipe.  Here ya go:

Mongolian Beef Recipe:
found on Pink Bites
makes 2 servings
You will need:
1 lb of flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 teaspoons of canola oil
1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger (about 1/2 inch piece)
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic (about 2 -3 large cloves)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
3 large green onions, sliced crosswise into thirds

Prepare the meat:
First, make sure the steak slices are dry (pat them dry) and mix them with the corn starch. Using your hands or a spoon, move them around to make sure all pieces are coated. Place beef slices in a strainer and shake off excess corn starch (see picture bellow).
Make the sauce:
Heat half of the oil in a large wok at medium-high and add the garlic and ginger. Immediately add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and pepper flakes. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl. Don't worry if the sauce doesn't look thick enough at this point. The corn starch in the beef will thicken it up later. 
Cook the meat and assemble dish:
Turn the heat up and add the remaining oil to the wok. Add the beef and cook, stirring until it is all browned (this is a quick thing). Pour the sauce back into the wok and let it cook along with the meat. Now you can choose to cook it down and reduce the sauce or leave it thinner. Add the green onions on the last minute so the green parts will stay green and the white parts crunchy.
Serve it hot with rice.

My review:  I personally used skirt steak because it's what I could find (reminder: SMALL TOWN).  Usually those two cuts are pretty interchangeable, but it was chewy.  Next time I would use something else.... perhaps chuck steak.  Otherwise it was VERY good.  Not an exact replica, but very tasty, and one I will use again soon.  As with a lot of Asian cooking, the fresh ginger makes all the difference.  Don't skimp.  And the red pepper gave it a little spice but not too much.  Sorry, no pictures!  We gobbled it up!

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