Garlicky, gingery, crispy, sweet, sticky, and oh, so tasty! These words only partially describe 30 Minute Mongolian Beef. When it comes to a quick family dinner, this one has winner written all over it! In fact, just do yourself a favour and double up on the recipe now!
I may be a bit late arriving at the 30 Minute Mongolian Beef party, but I’m so glad I showed up! It’s no secret that I love to scroll through my Pinterest feed for recipe inspiration, and I must have seen a version of Mongolian Beef every day for the past year or two. With beautiful piece of flank steak in the fridge, I couldn’t put it off any longer. And, with only 30 minutes, my craving was about to be very quickly satisfied.
This is one of those recipes that always seems to never have any leftovers. If you serve this recipe with a hearty side or two, it can easily serve six people. But, I love food and I don’t shy away from say it out loud! Every time I have served this beef, I always get the feeling I should have made more. So, even though the recipe card says it can feed six, for me, it only serves four. Yes, my family and friends are big eaters too!
If you fear that you won’t be making enough, you can easily double up on the recipe. It really is as easy as doubling every single ingredient in the recipe card and cooking it as stated in the instructions. If, after doubling, you have some leftover, don’t worry! This beef can be re-heated quite easily the next day and it still tastes absolutely delicious!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Flank Steak – An inexpensive cut of steak that is, for the most part, quite large. Prepared properly and sliced across the grain, it’s quite tender and delicious!
- Cornstarch – The beef is dusted with cornstarch which creates a light and crispy coating on the beef when it is fried.
- Vegetable Oil – This is only for frying. You can use other oils, such as canola, peanut, or sunflower, etc.
- Ginger – There are not many ingredients in this recipe, so using the best is important. In this case, freshly grated ginger is the way to go!
- Garlic – The same applies here – fresh garlic only, please.
- Soy Sauce – Low low sodium soy sauce to prevent the beef from being too salty.
- Brown Sugar – This adds sweetness and a caramelization in the sauce. It’s a lot of brown sugar, but this is a big recipe, so you won’t actually consume that much of it.
- Sesame Seeds – Use toasted sesame seeds for better flavour!
CHEAP FLANK STEAK FOR THE WIN!
The first few times I made this recipe, there was lots of praise our neighbourhood taste-testers, so I’m happy to report that this recipe is a keeper. It was super easy and inexpensive to make too. In some cases, flank steak can be rather impressive, because even though it an inexpensive cut of meat, it can be seasoned and flavoured so well. And, if the steak is cut across the grain, the meat is so tender.
I think once an ingredient that was once rather cheap gets noticed and increases in popularity, so does the price. Have you ever noticed that? Or am I the only one? I remember when roasted red peppers in a jar were very inexpensive, but now you get about two whole peppers in a jar for nearly $4. No thanks, I’ll make my own at home! I’m not cheap, but I do know a value when I see one!
The key to really tender and moist flank steak is to cut the steak across the grain. It is super easy to see the grain in flank steak, because the fibers of the meat are quite large. So, lay the steak on a cutting board with the fibers of the meat running from left to right in front of you. For this recipe, you will need to cut the beef into quarter inch thick slices. Slice across the grain so that you have long strips of beef. Then, cut each strip into more manageable pieces – about one and a half inches long. This will make frying – and eating! – more manageable.
HOW TO TOAST SESAME SEEDS
To be perfectly honest, this applies to all nuts or seeds, not just sesame seeds. If you are not familiar with toasted sesame seeds, then please try it just once. You will probably never revert to using untoasted sesame seeds in your cooking or baking again!
I have tried using non-stick frying pans for toasting, but nothing works as well as a stainless steel pan. You could use a cast iron pan, but since they get very hot and retain heat so well, it’s easier to burn the seeds. See the frying pan in this picture? That’s the exact one that I use all the time. I’m not suggesting you run out and buy this same cookware set, but I wanted you to see the pan – remember, do not use non-stick if possible. You’ll get better results will plain stainless steel.
So, unlike most cooking where you’re required to preheat first, you don’t want to apply that same rule to toasting seeds. Add the seeds to a cold pan. Place the pan on the burner and turn the heat on – no higher than medium and probably even less if using a gas burner.
Keep the seeds moving about. I use a rubber spatula. Once you start to smell that warm and toasty aromatic smell, pay close attention. The seeds will take on a slightly golden colour. Don’t let them get too dark. Once you’re satisfied, immediately remove them from the hot pan and transfer them to a dinner plate where they can be spread out to cool.
HOW TO PREPARE MONGOLIAN BEEF
This really is an easy dish to prepare and once you have all of the ingredients prepared and ready to go, the magic happens quite quickly. So, first things first! Place the prepared flank steak inot a mixing bowl along with the cornstarch. Use tongs to toss the steak with the corn starch until every piece of steak is well coated and set it aside to rest.
Next, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, water, and brown sugar until the brown sugar has dissolved. Go ahead and set that aside too. Now, pour the vegetable oil into a large skillet. Over medium-high heat, bring the oil to 350 degrees F. Once the oil is hot, fry the steak slices for 2 minutes on each side. The pan is super hot, so this won’t take long. Fry the steak in batches and in a single layer. Once each batch has fried, transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
Drain the oil and wipe out any leftover fried bits. Whisk the sauce mixture again and pour it into the skillet. Over medium-high heat, allow the sauce to come to a boil. Once bubbling, transfer the fried steak pieces back to the skillet with the sauce. Toss the steak with the sauce until well coated and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened. Finally, add the toasted sesame seeds, toss, and serve.
FAST AND EASY SO THAT THE BEEF STAYS TENDER
Even though the instructions in the recipe card below are clear and defined, I want to reiterate the importance of not over-cooking the beef. The pan needs to be really hot. Sear the beef on each side very quickly at a high temperature, this will ensure that the steak is still slightly pink on the inside. Otherwise, the steak will become too tough.
Also, if you’re much like me, you hate to fry in batches. I know sometimes I have to, but I love it when I don’t! You see, Dear Reader, I have very little patience. I’m one of those “give me instant gratification” types. I hate line-ups – almost as much as I hate waiting for deliveries to arrive. I hate waiting for a response to my questions. And, there’s nothing that I hate more than the response, “I’ll do it later.” Oh, I think that last one is a close tie with “fry in batches.”
But, you must fry the steak in batches. If you don’t, you run the risk of overcrowding the pan, which will create a steam. The steam will result in an over-cooked steak, and a non-crispy, or browned exterior. Is there anyone out there who prefers grey steak over browned steak? I don’t think so!
I promise you, even when cooking in batches, this recipe still comes together very quickly. There’s really no need to rush things. For just this once, cook for the shear pleasure of it, not just out of necessity. There’s a whole world of difference when you cook to relax rather than to rush dinner to the table.
OTTAWA VALLEY MEATS
In the previous section, I mentioned that flank steak might be inexpensive or pricey, depending on where you shop. I found the flank steak you see in the photos at Ottawa Valley Meats. From local, grass fed cattle, this steak was lean and tender.
If you are in Ontario, be sure to check out Ottawa Valley Meats. I absolutely love the quality of the beef, as well as the chicken and the seafood too! The prices are very competitive and they deliver right to your door! It’s a great way to stock up, especially with the upcoming colder months when everyone seems to cook heartier meals!
As you can see from the photographs, I served my 30 Minute Mongolian Beef with rice. I love it this way; just plain and simple so that the beef is the star of my dinner. And, I love how the rice soaks up that sweet and sticky, gingery and garlicky sauce! However, my plate does look rather brown, does it?
So, how about serving this with some steamed broccoli? It is also really delicious with my Honey Soy Asparagus. The sweetness of the honey in the asparagus and the nuttiness of the black sesame seeds, really pairs well with the beef. I also have a copycat version of the Dainty Brand Beef Fried Rice that is a personal favourite of mine – just in case you don’t care much for plain white rice!
When it comes to sides to pair well with Mongolian Beef, it is quite easy to come up with something, because just about everything works well with it. Just be sure to pair it with more muted sides, because it would be a shame to overshadow the flavour of that delicious beef!
30 Minute Mongolian Beef
- 2 pounds flank steak, sliced across the grain about 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup fresh ginger, very finely minced or grated
- 5 cloves garlic, very finely minced
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- Place the prepared flank steak into a mixing bowl along with the cornstarch. Use tongs to toss the steak with the corn starch until every piece of steak is well coated and set it aside to rest.
- Next, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, water, and brown sugar until the brown sugar has dissolved. Go ahead and set that aside too.
- Now, pour the vegetable oil into a large skillet. Over medium-high heat, bring the oil to 350 degrees F. Once the oil is hot, fry the steak slices for 2 minutes on each side. The pan is super hot, so this won’t take long. Fry the steak in batches and in a single layer. Once each batch has fried, transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- Drain the oil and wipe out any leftover fried bits.
- Whisk the sauce mixture again and pour it into the skillet. Over medium-high heat, allow the sauce to come to a boil.
- Once bubbling, transfer the fried steak pieces back to the skillet with the sauce. Toss the steak with the sauce until well coated and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened.
- Finally, add the toasted sesame seeds, toss, and serve.