Hubster LOVES Chinese take out. I think for about a year straight we had Chinese and red wine after every wedding we shot. It’s a minor obsession. And, as with all things food related in our lives, we’re picky. So we’ve tried our fair share of restaurants in search of Chinese nirvana.
I also sought out healthy alternatives at home. Let’s face it. Crab rangoons cannot be a staple in anyone’s diet. Countless recipes fell flat. Apparently it’s deceptively hard to replicate MSG laden takeout. I finally threw in the towel, preferring to craft Thai dishes at home, which in my opinion are a superior Asian food anyways.
One day a recipe in Cooking Light for Mongolian Beef caught my eye. Besides crab rangoons which have a standard all their own, I benchmark any new Chinese restaurant we try by their Mongolian Beef. When it’s done right, it’s a comforting mix of equal parts beef and onion slathered in a brown sauce that’s savory and a little spicy. I had to try this recipe. And for once, it didn’t disappoint.
If you’re new to Chinese cooking, do not be afraid by the sheer number of condiments that you’ll need to purchase. I promise it’s worth it and you’ll only use a little at a time so they will last.
Adapted from Cooking Light’s Mongolian Beef
2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp Hoisin sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp chili paste with garlic
1tsp chili garlic sauce
Dash of salt
2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp jarred ginger
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
3/4 lb. steak (look for flank or something similar that is lean)
2 bunches (about 16) green onions
Brown rice or noodles
Prepare brown rice or noodles as directed.
Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Mince garlic and set aside. Slice onions and set aside. Thinly slice beef.
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add beef, ginger and garlic. Stir fry until beef is brown. Add onions and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add sauce and cook for 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly.
Notes: I use both a chili paste with garlic and chili garlic sauce in the recipe because I like a little heat. Feel free to eliminate the chili sauce for tamer palettes.
I like to use Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice. I can pop it in the microwave when I start cooking, and it’s perfectly done when the meal is ready. Feel free to use rice or asian noodles, like Soba. You just need something to sop up the awesome sauce.
Also, this meal comes together FAST when you start cooking. You have to prep everything before you turn the stove on.
Sides: I’ve been searching for something to serve with this and other Asian recipes and I finally found a contender. More details coming soon.