It's always fun to make take-out dishes at home, and this one was no exception. Mongolian beef is actually really simple and quick to prepare, and of course you can customize it to make it more or less spicy, etc. This recipe tastes almost exactly like the restaurant version, which was actually a bit sweet for me - I think if I make this again I'll start with half as much sugar, then taste and add more only if it's really needed. Still, despite being a little too sweet, this beef dish was very tasty. Chinese broccoli made a great accompaniment to the beef, contributing some acid and lightening up the dinner a bit. My only complaint is that the gai lan did not turn out as bright green as I would have liked, although it did have a perfect tender-but-not-mushy texture.
Mongolian Beef (adapted from Pink Bites, original recipe here)
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 T chopped garlic (about 2 -3 large cloves)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar [next time I would reduce by half]
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 large green onions, trimmed and sliced crosswise into thirds
1. Pat the steak slices dry with a paper towel and mix with the cornstarch. Toss to completely coat each piece. Place in a strainer and shake of excess cornstarch.
2. Heat half the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger. Immediately add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Cook about 2 minutes, and then transfer to a bowl (shouldn't be thick yet).
3. Turn the heat up and add the remaining oil to the wok. Add the beef and cook, stirring until it is browned. Pour the sauce back in and cook along with the meat. Cook longer for a thicker sauce or leave it thinner by cooking for a shorter amount of time - up to you. Add the green onions when the sauce is almost done, cook for just about 30 seconds more, and then serve with rice and greens.
Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with Asian Dressing (adapted from Jamie Oliver and Wandering Chopsticks)
1/2 to 3/4 pound bunch of gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
Small piece fresh ginger
1 small clove garlic
1 tsp minced fresh red chile (adjust for your particular pepper and taste)
1/2 T sesame oil
1-1/2 T olive oil
1/2 T soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1. Steam the gai lan for about 10 minutes, until just tender
2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Grate the ginger and garlic into a bowl. Add the chile, sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, and vinegar. Whisk to combine well. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
3. Toss the sauce with the cooked greens and serve.