Wednesday 24 April 2013


Mongolian beef, despite what the name suggests did not originate from Mongolia. It is a product of Western commercial cuisine geared towards creating a taste experience that is suited to their palate but recreates the flavour of a foreign cuisine. Although the traditionalists and the purists will shake their heads, I find nothing wrong with that. I who tweaks and twists my recipes actually like that sort of thing. 

A recipe is like a rumor. It changes as it is passed around. We hear what we like to hear, read what we like to read and how we interpret things is much affected by what we read between the lines. As I searched for a recipe of Mongolian beef, I was amazed at how different each one was.

In essence, the recipe is as basic as Chinese food can get but if done properly, the result is pretty fantastic. Follow the basics of stir frying for a great result each time.

My recipe for Mongolian beef is pretty simple and straightforward. Thinly sliced strips of beef sirloin is fried twice. The first time is done briefly in very hot oil. This step is called velveting. This makes the beef tender and juicy as it seals in the meat quickly. The rest is basic Chinese stir frying. 

The trinity of antioxidants, garlic, ginger and spring onions start the stir frying process as usual. A large amount of spring onions is the characteristic ingredient of this dish. Salad onions or baby leeks are best  as they are sweeter. The amount of heat is subject to personal preference but I think it has to be pretty hot to be exciting. Aside from chilli oil, I also used fresh chillies. This transforms an ordinary dish into a excellent one as it complements the sweetness and saltiness of the glaze. To finish, I added a personal touch: a sprinkling of crisped ginger shreds to top the dish. Don't miss that one out as it adds a sudden exciting twist to simple Mongolian beef.

Steamed rice is the simplest way to complete this meal-in-minutes. Mongolian beef is also incredibly delicious as a filling for steamed buns (recipe here), topped with cucumber shreds and coriander leaves (cilantro).

Yield: 4-6 servings


500 gms. sirloin steak
1 egg white
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp. corn flour (corn starch)
2 tbsps. shao hsing wine or dry sherry
2 tsps. light soy sauce
1 tsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. rice or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. chilli oil
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 c. of cooking oil
1 1/2 tbsps. shredded fresh ginger
1 tsp. shredded fresh red chillies
1 c. of sliced spring onions, green and white parts separated


Slice the beef across the grain, thinly. The best way to do this is to slant the knife diagonally across the meat.

Mix the egg white, 1 tbsp. light soy sauce, sesame oil and a quarter of the chopped garlic in a mixing bowl and add in the beef. Stir very well. When mixed, add the corn flour and stir again. Set aside and prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Mix the sherry, light and dark soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, chilli and sesame oil together. Set aside.

Heat up a small pan or wok and add in the cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add in three quarters of the shredded ginger and fry on medium heat until golden brown and crisp. Skim off and set aside.

Bring the temperature up and reheat the oil. When the oil is very hot and smoke rises from the surface, add in the seasoned beef all at once. Stir, on high heat until it changes colour. Take off the heat, strain and shake off the excess oil.

Heat up a clean wok. When very hot add 2 tbsps. of oil (you can re-use the oil you've used for frying the beef). Add the garlic, ginger and red chilli. Stir fry for 1 minute. 

Add the fried beef and the white parts of the spring onions. Stir fry for three minutes until the spring onions are part cooked. 

Pour in the sauce mixture. Stir fry until all the sauce is absorbed. Add in the green parts of the spring onions and give it a final stir just for 1 minute. 

Transfer to a serving dish and top with the crisped ginger.

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Red Braised Beef (Beef Pares)
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