February 19, 2012

Mongolian Beef

I'm behind on recipe posting, but this recipe is a definite winner.  I love Chinese food and have been wanting to learn how to make a few dishes at home because we don't have a lot of good options close by.  Plus making it at home usually means less salt and calories (at least that's what I tell myself).

I made this last weekend and was very impressed.  I added mushrooms, since that's how Pei Wei serves it and served it with sticky rice and steamed broccoli.  The sauce had great flavor, similar to Pei Wei/P.F. Chang but the texture was slightly off.  I think if you pureed the sauce and strained it, you would get the texture closer to the restaurant.  I finely chopped the garlic and used a micro plane to grate the ginger but it wasn't quite fine enough to match the restaurant sauce - though still fantastic.  Not sure I would go through that much effort in the future, but its an option.

Here is the original recipe, although some of the directions were vague, so I have adapted it (below):

1 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. ginger, finely minced or grated
2 Tbsp. garlic, finely minced or grated
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup vegetable oil
2 lb. flank steaks
½ cup cornstarch
3 large green onions

optional: 8 oz mushrooms (quartered or large sliced), 2 heads broccoli, or other vegetables
rice for serving

Make the sauce by heating 1 tsp. vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat.  Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium and boil the sauce 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens a little bit. Remove sauce from heat.  The sauce can be made ahead of time.
Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4 inch slices. Tilt the blade of your knife at about a 45 degree angle to the top of the steak so you get wider cuts. In a ziploc bag mix the beef slices and cornstarch, then shake out the excess with a colander. Let the beef sit about 10 min. so the cornstarch sticks. As the beef sits, heat up 1 c. oil in a wok or skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat until it's hot, but not smoking (Tip: put the end of a wooden spoon into the oil, if bubbles form the oil is ready to cook). Add the beef to the oil and saute for 60-90 seconds on each side.  Depending on the size of the skillet it may take 2-3 batches to get all the meat cooked.

Use a large slotted spoon or tongs to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the skillet. Put the pan back over the heat, add back the meat and any vegetables, add the sauce, and green onions, then cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes.  The sauce will thicken up as it mixes with the corn starch in the beef.  Serve hot over rice.  

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