Ah, Mongolian Beef… It’s a well-known dish in many countries, but has absolutely no connection to Mongolia whatsoever. It’s also a fairly recent creation – tracing its origin back to 1950s Taiwan and the creation of Mongolian Barbecue restaurants. I don’t know if you’ve been to one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t as I’ve not seen one of those since the late 1990s.
The experience was a somewhere between restaurant and self-service cafeteria. You’d pick up bowls of meat, vegetables and noodles then hand it to someone to cook for you on a giant hotplate grill. Not strictly barbecue and, as mentioned before, not Mongolian. However, it was good fun – especially if you wanted a slightly different take on the Asian food available in much of the UK at the time.
It was in these restaurants that Mongolian Beef was created. The meat, usually steak, is sliced thinly to ensure it cooks quickly on the hotplate. The sauce is a combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and sugar – making it thick and rich. Perfect for coating the meat once it’s cooked through. You usually see it served as a fairly simple dish of the meat in sauce, alongside spring onions and steamed rice. Very tasty it is too and it makes for a lovely meal in its own right.
However, on this occasion I wanted to take the core of the dish and make it into something a little different. My Mongolian Beef Noodles use the same thinly sliced meat and the same sticky, rich sauce so the base flavours are all there. But to those I’ve added a few more vegetables and some rice noodles to turn it into a really satisfying dinner. The generous portion in the photos was for just the two of us – coming in at just over 700kcal each, which isn’t half bad!
This recipe is also quick to make. The cooking time is less than 15 minutes once you’ve got the ingredients together – which takes just as long, depending on how quickly you slice and dice your vegetables. You can do that whilst the sauce is reducing down, so I reckon you could easily make this in well under 30 minutes if you were focused.
The one thing I wouldn’t cut any corners on is the steak. Buy a good quality piece and take the time needed to slice it really thin – no more than 3mm if possible. Do that and you’ll find that it’s truly melt in the mouth once cooked. A little extra effort is worth it here – trust me, you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Mongolian Beef Noodles
For the Sauce
- 1 tsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Root Ginger peeled and grated
- 3 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
- ½ Red Chilli deseeded and chopped
- 4 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 4 tbsp Chicken Stock or water
- 2 tbsp Dark Soft Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Cornflour slaked in cold water
For the Beef
- 300 g Sirloin Steak thinly sliced (see note)
- 2 tsp Cornflour
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
For the Noodles
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 small Onion peeled and chopped
- 1 Red Pepper deseeded and chopped
- 4 Spring Onions sliced
- 100 g Broccoli broken into small florets
- 100 g Dried Noodles rehydrated or cooked as per pack instructions
- Start by making the sauce.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat, then add the ginger and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the garlic and chillies then stir-fry for a further 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Pour in the soy sauce and stock (or water), then stir and bring to a simmer. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes until reduced by half. Then add the cornflour mixture and stir through as it simmers to thicken the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick add a splash of water until you have a thick, pourable consistency. Cover and put to one side until needed.
- Put the thinly sliced steak into a large bowl, or zip-lock bag, then sprinkle over the cornflour. Mix until the meat is fully coated and put to one side.
- Heat a wok over a high heat and add the vegetable oil. Shake any excess cornflour from the beef, then fry it in the hot pan for a minute or so on each side until crisp. You may need to do this in batches, as you want crisp edges not steamed beef. When cooked allow to rest on a plate with a piece of kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.
- Add the remaining oil to the wok then add the onion and stir-fry for a minute or so, ensuring it doesn’t burn. Add the red pepper and spring onions, and stir-fry for a further minute or so. Add the broccoli to the pan and cook for another minute.
- Return the cooked beef to the pan, then pour over the sauce and stir until all of the ingredients are well coated.
- Add the cooked noodles to the pan and mix through the meat and vegetables, ensuring they also pick up some of the sauce.
- Once the noodles are heated through serve immediately and enjoy.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||4||g|
|of which Sugars||28||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|