Mongolian Beef Stir Fry

5 from 2 votes

This mouthwatering Mongolian beef recipe is a gift from the heavens! Flank steak is sliced thin and marinated before being seared to perfection. It’s then drenched in one of the most divinely delicious sauces you have ever tasted, complete with savory soy sauce, sweet brown sugar, and spicy herbs.

Mongolian Beef Stir Fry on a plate

One of my favorite pastimes is recreating my restaurant favorites at home. There have been a few flops throughout the years, but mostly I have learned much, laughed often, and eaten a ton of amazing food. 

Asian-inspired recipes have been some of my biggest hits. I daresay my versions have come out even better than the restaurant ones! I have mastered classic dishes such as this Chinese Barbeque Pork Recipe, Baked Sesame Chicken with Honey Sauce, Honey Garlic Shrimp, and the list keeps growing. 

Today I am proud to add this easy to make recipe for Mongolian beef. In less than an hour, you can have tender, succulent steak bathed in a perfectly balanced savory, sweet, and spicy sauce. Be warned — make this one time, and the requests from your friends and family will never stop coming!

overhead view of two white plates with Mongolian Beef Stir Fry

INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS 

  • Beef – I like to use flank steak for its deep beefy flavor. Skirt steak is another great option.
  • Oil – For stir frying, an oil with a high smoke point is best — use vegetable, canola, or avocado. Sesame oil is used in the sauce for its delicate, nutty flavor. 
  • Soy Sauce – To get the full umami spectrum, both light soy sauce and richer, saltier dark soy sauce are both used. Check the international foods aisle at the grocery store or take a visit to your local Asian market. 
  • Cornstarch – Has many roles in this recipe including tenderizing the meat, thickening the sauce, and dredging the steak before frying. 
  • Brown Sugar – Adds a rich, caramel-like sweetness.
  • Garlic – Brings a nice little snap of sharp, zesty heat. 
  • Ginger – This warming herb contributes peppery sweetness.
  • Red Chilis – Balance out the sweetness of the dish with a kick of red-hot heat. 
  • Scallions – Offers the dish a dash of mild onion flavor while adding a lovely pop of green. 
  • Sesame Seeds These nutty little morsels add a hit of earthy sweetness and exciting texture. 
ingredients to make Mongolian Beef Stir Fry

HOW TO MAKE MONGOLIAN BEEF

1. Marinate the Beef. Combine the beef, soy sauce, oil, and cornstarch in a bowl. Mix well and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. 

2. Make the Sauce & Slurry. Use a small bowl to whisk together the brown sugar, hot water, soy sauces, and sesame oil. In a separate small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water slurry which we’ll use to thicken the sauce. 

3. Heat the Wok. Place a wok over high heat and heat ⅓ cup of vegetable oil until it’s shimmering and about to smoke. 

overhead shot of ingredients

4. Dredge the Beef. Right before the oil begins to smoke, dredge the marinated beef slices in cornstarch until all are evenly coated. 

5. Sear the Beef. Gently transfer the beef slices to the heated wok and sear on each side for 1-2 minutes. Remove pieces and set aside in a clean bowl. 

cooking beef in a wok

6. Heat the Sauce. Reduce the heat down to medium-high and add the garlic, ginger, and chili peppers. Cook for about 15 seconds, then add the sauce and bring to a simmer. 

7. Add the Slurry. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 2 minutes, then carefully stir in the cornstarch slurry mixture. Let the sauce reduce down until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If your sauce is overly thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water. 

8. Combine and Serve. Transfer the seared beef and scallions to the wok. Mix everything together and cook for about another 30 seconds. Serve immediately with a hot helping of steamed rice.

plate with Mongolian Beef Stir Fry

Why is Mongolian Beef So Tender?

During a process known as velveting, the beef is marinated in a mixture of ingredients intended to raise the pH of the meat and render it more tender. In this Mongolian beef recipe, we use a mixture of cornstarch, soy sauce, and oil, but the ingredients may vary. Baking soda and egg whites are also commonly used for this purpose. 

Do You Have to Marinate Beef for Stir Fry?

To get the most tender, juicy stir fry beef possible, don’t ever skip this important step. This is less about brining or flavor infusion and more about optimal tenderization. Besides, it’s an extremely simple marinade, made of only 3 ingredients, and requires only 30 minutes to work its magic. For melt-in-your-mouth Mongolian beef, definitely take the time to do this. The results are so impressive and I promise you’ll thank me.

What is Mongolian Beef Sauce Made Of?

This tasty sauce is made from a simple combination of brown sugar, hot water, dark and light soy sauces, and sesame oil. Once in the wok, the sauce gets infused with freshly sauteed garlic, ginger, and red chilis. The resulting sauce is sweet, savory, salty, and spicy. 

Mongolian Beef Stir Fry in chopsticks
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Mongolian Beef Stir Fry

5 from 2 votes
Mongolian beef stir fry is a sweet and savory dish featuring tender juicy flank steak and just the right amount of spicy heat from red chilis.
Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Marinate Time: 30 minutes
Total: 57 minutes

Ingredients 

Marinade

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/3 cup regular soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Stir Fry

  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 5 dried red chili peppers optional
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 8 scallions cut into 1-inch long slices
  • sesame seeds for garnish

Frying

Instructions 

  • In a bowl mix together the sliced beef, oil, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, hot water, soy sauces and sesame oil.
  • In another small bowl mix the cornstarch and water slurry for the sauce.
  • Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in the wok over high heat. Just before the oil starts to smoke, dredge the marinated beef slices in 1/3 cup of cornstarch until all pieces are evenly coated.
  • Transfer the flank steak to the wok, and sear for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the pieces over and sear the other side for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove beef to a bowl.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high. Add the garlic, ginger and dried chili peppers. After about 15 seconds, add the sauce.
  • Let the sauce simmer for about 2 minutes and slowly stir in the cornstarch slurry mixture. Cook until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thick, add tablespoon or two of water.
  • Add the beef and scallions to the wok and toss everything together for another 30 seconds. Serve with steamed rice.

Video

Notes

  1. Slice the flank steak into 3 long pieces cutting with the grain. Then slice each piece against the grain into 1/4-inch thick pieces (as shown). If preferred, slice into 1/4-inch pieces on the diagonal.

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 1823mg | Potassium: 569mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: main dishes
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
chop sticks picking up a piece of Mongolian Beef Stir Fry

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this one! Beef had a crispy texture and was coated with that amazing sauce. Not overpowering heat, but great flavor. A keeper, thanks Kevin.