Mongolian Beef (蒙古牛肉)

Learn how to make this famous Chinese restaurant staple!

flodesk gif
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

Is Mongolian Beef actually Mongolian?

Since we're asking, you might guess that no, it's not Mongolian, and you'd be right!

In Taiwan in the 1950s, a dish called Mongolian BBQ became hugely popular. It drew on the stereotypes of the time that Mongolian cuisine was lavish, foreign, and packed with meat. It's become common to call this style of meaty stir-fries "Mongolian", and by now, Mongolian Beef has become a famous dish in America, too.

You're not likely to find this kind of "Mongolian Beef" in either Mongolia or China, but you will see a very similar dish, 葱爆牛肉 (cung1 baau3 ngau4 juk6), beef stir-fry with green onions, in China. What makes both of these dishes amazing is the very quick, very hot cooking process, and the delicious marinades and sauces that flavor them.

Thank you, Kikkoman!

This recipe is brought to you in part by Kikkoman. My dad has been using Kikkoman flavors throughout his 50-year career as a chef, and it's a privilege to get to partner with them on such a popular recipe, Mongolian Beef!

  • Kikkoman products are a major flavor enhancer and bring out the “umami” taste, and helps balance and round out flavors
  • Kikkoman® Less Sodium Soy Sauce is perfect for home cooks who are looking to cut down on their sodium levels, without sacrificing flavor
  • Kikkoman offers wide range of Gluten-Free Asian sauces, including Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce and Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce
  • The KikkomanUSA.com Chinese site offers easy Asian recipes that home cooks can enjoy any night of the week

You can learn more about Kikkoman and follow them on social media here:

Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4

Main Ingredients

  • 11 oz beef (

    New York steak or flank steak

    )
  • 5 stalks green onion
  • 1 medium onion (

    red or white

    )
  • 0.50 red bell pepper
  • 0.50 green bell pepper
  • 4 dried chili pepper
  • 2 clove garlic

Beef Marinade

  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp oil (

    pre-cooking

    )
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (

    pre-cooking

    )

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 0.50 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 0.50 tsp chili sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine

Cooking

  • 1 oz oil (

    to be added first

    )
  • 2 oz oil (

    to be added second

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (

    Amazon

    )

What's the best cut of beef for making Mongolian Beef?

Restaurants often slice up flank steak for this type of stir-fry. It's also a great choice for beginner cooks, because the grain on flank steak is really, really obvious, which makes it easy to make sure that you're slicing against the grain.

My dad also recommends using New York steak. If you can learn to recognize the grain and trim the gristle, it can be cheaper than buying flank steak.

Why we add oil to the beef after marinating

We mix some oil into the marinated beef right before cooking, and it might seem like a step that can easily be incorporated into the marinade, or into cooking. But Daddy Lau has his reasons!

Oil is hydrophobic, so it repels water. If you mix it in with the rest of the marinade, then it'll become a barrier between the meat and the other marinade ingredients, and the marinade flavors won't be able to sink into the meat as effectively.

Instead, we want to let the meat soak up the marinade first, and then coat the outside with oil so that hydrophobic barrier works for us, locking the marinade and the moisture inside each piece of beef.

We're going to start by trimming the beef (11 oz). Place it flat on a cutting board, and cut away any white, stringy gristle that'll make the beef difficult to eat.

Then, note which direction the grain of the meat is running. Cut the beef into thin slices across the grain. (You might have to first section your original piece of beef into chunks in order to get bite-sized slices.) This way, the beef slices will cook up silky and tender.

Next, put the beef in a medium-sized bowl. Use cold water to rinse the red myoglobin from the beef so that the it will cook up to be paler and more appealing-looking.

In a bowl, add baking soda (1 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), water, oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tsp), dark soy sauce (1 tsp), and white pepper powder (0.25 tsp). Mix them thoroughly.

Squeeze the excess water out from the rinsed beef slices, firmly enough to get the water out, but not so firmly that the beef slices break apart. Add the beef slices into the marinade, and mix well. As you mix the beef into the marinade, the beef will soak it up.

On a separate cutting board, halve the onion (1 medium) to make a flat surface. It's much safer to cut it when it sits flat and steady on the cutting board. From there, chop it into 1/4" thick slices, and separate the slices by hand after.

Chop the green onion (5 stalks) into 1 inch pieces. Separate the white parts from the green parts.

Smash, peel, and mince the garlic (2 clove).

To cut the green bell pepper (0.50 ) and red bell pepper (0.50 ), sit them up with the stem up. Put your knife to the side of the stem and cut straight down. You should be able to avoid most of the seeds in the piece that you've cut away.

To make the strips more uniform, cut away the top and bottom edges of that piece to make a large rectangle, and then cut that rectangle into strips. Keep cutting away sides, making rectangles, and cutting strips for as much of each bell pepper as you need.

To make the stir-fry sauce, mix together oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), dark soy sauce (0.50 tsp), chili sauce (0.50 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), and cooking wine (1 tbsp) in a small bowl.

Once the beef has absorbed all of the marinade, add oil (1 tbsp) to the beef and mix it in. The oil will help seal the marinade in and lock in the juices.

Then, add cornstarch (1 tbsp) to the beef as well and give it another mix. The cornstarch will help the beef crisp up in the frying process.

Turn the stove to high heat, and let the wok heat up until it's just about to smoke, or barely smokes. You might see some color change in the center of the wok.

Add oil (1 oz), and swirl it around to coat the wok. Add the rest of the oil (2 oz), and let it heat for about a minute. Add the beef and fry it for about 1.5 minutes. The beef will be cooked through and even a little crispy by them.

Turn off the stove and remove the beef from the wok. Let the oil drain off as you scoop the beef out, so that the beef is not left sitting in a puddle of oil. Keep the cooked beef handy in a bowl nearby.

Pour the oil out from the wok into a separate container. You can reuse this oil for cooking other dishes. The oil that's remaining in the wok will be enough to finish cooking the rest of this dish.

Stir-fry veggies

Turn the stove back on, and add the garlic, dried chili pepper (4 ), onion, and green onion whites, and green and red bell peppers. Fry them for about 1 to 1.5 minutes, until they're fragrant and cooked through.

Add the beef back in and stir-fry for about 20 seconds.

Then add the sauce and the green parts of the green onion. Stir-fry for 30 seconds more, then turn off the heat.

Finish by drizzling sesame oil (1 tbsp) over the top and mix to distribute.

Taste to adjust the flavors and plate once it's to your taste! This is usually served in a large serving bowl or plate and everyone can take the amount they want.

Summary

Mongolian Beef (蒙古牛肉)
Learn how to make this famous Chinese restaurant staple!
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Main Ingredients

  • 11 oz beef (

    New York steak or flank steak

    )
  • 5 stalks green onion
  • 1 medium onion (

    red or white

    )
  • 0.50 red bell pepper
  • 0.50 green bell pepper
  • 4 dried chili pepper
  • 2 clove garlic

Beef Marinade

  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp oil (

    pre-cooking

    )
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (

    pre-cooking

    )

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 0.50 tsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 0.50 tsp chili sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine

Cooking

  • 1 oz oil (

    to be added first

    )
  • 2 oz oil (

    to be added second

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (

    Amazon

    )

Step 1 - Cut & wash beef

↑ Jump to details

Trim the beef (11 oz), cutting away any white, stringy gristle. Then, cut the beef into thin slices across the grain. Rinse the sliced beef in cold water to get rid of excess red myoglobin.

Step 2 - Marinate beef

↑ Jump to details

Mix baking soda (1 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), water, oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tsp), dark soy sauce (1 tsp), and white pepper powder (0.25 tsp) together in a bowl

Squeeze the excess water out from the rinsed beef slices. Add the beef slices into the marinade, and mix well.

Step 3 - Cut vegetables

↑ Jump to details

Slice the onion (1 medium) into 1/4" thick slices, and loosen the slices apart.

Chop the green onion (5 stalks) into 1 inch pieces. Separate the white parts from the green parts.

Smash, peel, and mince the garlic (2 clove).

Cut the green bell pepper (0.50 ) and red bell pepper (0.50 ) into strips.

Step 4 - Create sauce

↑ Jump to details

Mix together oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), dark soy sauce (0.50 tsp), chili sauce (0.50 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), and cooking wine (1 tbsp) in a small bowl.

Step 5 - Prepare beef for stir-fry

↑ Jump to details

Once the beef has absorbed all of the marinade, add oil (1 tbsp) to the beef and mix it in. Add cornstarch (1 tbsp) to the beef as well and give it another mix.

Step 6 - Stir-fry beef

↑ Jump to details

Turn the stove to high heat, and let the wok heat up until it's just about to smoke, or barely smokes.

Add oil (1 oz), and swirl it around to coat the wok. Add the rest of the oil (2 oz), and let it heat for about a minute. Add the beef and fry for about 1.5 minutes.

Turn off the stove and remove the beef from the wok.

Pour out the oil into a separate container. The oil that's remaining in the wok will be enough to finish cooking the rest of this dish.

Turn the stove back on, and add the garlic, dried chili pepper (4 ), onion, and green onion whites, and green and red bell peppers. Fry them for about 1 to 1.5 minutes, until fragrant and cooked through.

Add the beef back in and stir-fry for about 20 seconds.

Add the sauce and the green parts of the green onion. Stir-fry for 30 seconds more, then turn off the heat.

Finish by drizzling sesame oil (1 tbsp) over the top and mix to distribute.

Step 7 - Taste test & plate

↑ Jump to details

Taste to adjust the flavors and plate once it's to your taste! This is usually served in a large serving bowl or plate and everyone can take the amount they want.

Step 8 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 9 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.