Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian beef is one of my favorite Asian meals.  Pretty much anytime we go to
Pei Wei this is my "go to" dish.  We rarely go to PF Chang's but we frequent Pei Wei quite often, since Pei Wei is the sister restaurant of PF Chang's I knew the recipes had to be practically identical.  When I came across this recipe that claimed to be a "knock-off" of PF Chang's Mongolian Beef on Love and Olive Oil I knew I had to try it out!  The claims are true, although it's not identical (I mean it's pretty close to impossible to replicate a restaurant dish exactly) it's pretty darn close.  

There's just something so irresistable about that sauce.  I'm a sweets girl and all but I mean this sauce is practically candy itself.  I love the sweet, salty, stickiness of the sauce and it coats the very tender, pan fried beef perfectly.  I served this exactly how I get it when we order out, over brown rice.  The starchy, brown rice compliments the rich flavors from the Mongolian beef so well, as well as helping to mute some of the richness from the sauce.  I think I could eat this on a weekly basis, my mouth is literally watering just tellin you about it.
I've always been one to steer away from Asian inspired meals because I always have such high hopes and they never turn out as good as envisioned.  Since I had a huge success with this dish, I now have a new found confidence for Asian style cooking and I will definitely be perusing my resources for more meals to attempt.  This meal was incredibly simple to make and very quick to put together.  I made this on a weeknight after work and had it on the table in about 30-40 minutes...which isn't too shabby if I say so myself!  If you're like me, and steer clear of Asian cuisine because of a lack of confidence or previous failure try this recipe to redeem yourself and get your confidence back.  You won't be disappointed, I guarantee.              

Mongolian Beef

2 Tsps vegetable oil

1/2 Tsp ginger, minced
1 Tblsp 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
1 Medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 Large green onions


To make the sauce-
Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the ginger and garlic to the pan then quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. Add the brown sugar and allow to dissolve in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove sauce from the heat and set aside.

For the steak-
Place the cornstarch in a bowl or on a small plate and set aside.  Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4" thick bite-size slices. (Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty-five degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts.) Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

Heat one cup of oil in a wok or large skillet until it's nice and hot, but not smoking. Carefully add the beef to the hot oil and saute for two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. *The beef doesn't need a thorough cooking here since the beef is going to go back on the heat later. Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly. After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to remove the meat and place on a paper towel lined plate, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet.

Return the pan to the stove over medium heat, add the meat back to the skillet/wok. Add the onion and saute for one minute. Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions. Cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate, leaving the excess sauce behind in the pan.

Recipe source: adapted from Food.com via Love and Olive Oil

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