Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef did not originate in Mongolia at all…nothing about this dish is representative of Mongolia down the the ingredients. Stir-frying meat with scallions is a very common cooking method in China. While many say that Mongolian Beef is a Chinese-American dish, some argue that it is in fact a Chinese dish just with a different name. The Chinese and American versions are different, and are both delicious. The original Chinese recipe originated either int he Shangdong province or Xingjiang province of China. Mongolian Beef is said to have originated in Taiwan where many of the first Chinese BBQ restaurants appeared.

When living in China I did not consume much beef; duck, chicken, pork, and mutton were more commonly found where I was living. There were so many incredible dishes that I living there and others I care to forget. I learned very quickly how specific I needed to be when asked what I liked. I first said “I like chicken” and ended up with a bowl of chicken vertebra and a plate of pickled chickens feet…I ate what was in the bowl, but couldn’t do the feet. I have always had a love and appreciation of the flavors found in Asian food and it was incredible to experience it first hand. While the American versions of many of the dishes, and ones that do not even exist in China are delicious and I will eat them as long as I can have them gluten-free, they will never truly compare to the real deal.

When living in Monterey there was this little family run Chinese restaurant on Alvarado St. called Full Moon and I ate there about once a week (okay, probably more). When I was diagnosed with celiac disease I still went and asked if there was anything I could have, Kwan, one of the owners, said they had another customer with celiac and had gluten-free soy sauce in the back! I almost cried. They took such good care of me and really understood the cross-contact risks. I continued to bring in bottles of gluten-free soy sauce and encouraged them to use it to cook for others that needed it as well. I miss Kwan and Nobu dearly. My go to dish even when living in China was Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao) from the Sichuan Province and Full Moon made the closet tasting version to date. When anyone would come to visit me I took them there…I know, Monterey has so many great restaurants especially those that focus on seafood, but for a girl that loves Chinese food as much as I do, this was a must visit in my book. When Bryan visited, his favorite dish was Mongolian Beef and when I moved back East we had the hardest time finding a Mongolian Beef that resembled Full Moon.

I started playing around with recipes a few years back and I found a version he likes rather well. Is it authentic…absolutely not, but it is damn delicious. In the recipe below, I make the sauce in a separate sauce pan by bringing the ingredients to a simmer to thicken slightly before adding it to the beef. This is simply to not overcook the beef by adding the sauce ingredients at the end and having to thicken it with the beef in the same pan. You can do it in one pan if you so desire.

Mongolian Beef

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4 Servings



  • 1 tsp Garlic infused Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Ginger freshly grated or minced
  • 1/2 Cup Low Sodium Tamari
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar packed


  • 1/2 Cup Garlic Infused Vegetable Oil*
  • 1 1/2 Pound Steak Flank, Tenderloin, Strip
  • 1/2 Cup Arrowroot Powder or Corn Starch
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Cup Green Onions, sliced on the diagonal green parts only



  • Heat the garlic infused vegetable oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat, add ginger and sautee for 30 seconds.
  • Add soy sauce, water, and brown sugar - bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until thickened; about 10 - 15 minutes


  • While the sauce is cooking, thinly slice beef ~¼" at a 45° angle, across the grain. If you have a thick cut of meat to begin with, you can likely cut some of the slices in half lengthwise
  • In a large bowl, add arrowroot powder or corn starch and black pepper, whisk to combine
  • Add sliced steak to the bowl with the arrowroot or corn starch mixture, toss to combine and let sit for 10 minutes
  • In a large high sided skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons* of garlic infused vegetable oil over medium high heat
  • Add beef in batches (usually 3-4 batches depending on the size of the pan) and cook for 5-7 minutes, flipping pieces to brown evenly on both sides. The steak will become crispy, however not fried (*see note below for more info)
  • Once beef is cooked remove beef with slotted spoon or tongs to a plate and set aside. Repeate until all beef is cooked
  • If needed add 1 tsp sesame oil to the high sided skillet, add red pepper flakes and 2/3 of the green onions, sautee for 1 minute, add beef back to pan and add sauce, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute - the arrowroot powder or corn starch used to coat the beef will help thicken the sauce a bit more.
  • Serve with jasmine rice and reamining sliced green onions as garnish


*Many people like to "deep fry" their steak buy heating up 1/2-1 cup of oil in the pan. I prefer to use a little oil at a time, and add as needed, all while still getting nice crispy steak

July 21, 2020 at 9:00 am | Chef's Corner, Culinary, Dairy-Free, Egg Free, Fish Free, FODMAP Friendly, Gluten-Free, Peanut Free, Recipe, Shellfish Free, Tree Nut Free, Wheat Free | No comment

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