I think I already told you about my preference for Asian foods. In short, I love the mixture of flavors and textures, and I love the diverse and unique combinations of meat, sauces, and veggies!
This means there’s a lot I have yet to discover about Asian cuisine, and today I’ll tell you about one of my most recent discoveries: Mongolian Beef. Of course, I adapted the recipe for my Instant Pot, which means less time spent in the kitchen and more time spent enjoying the results 🙂 !
Why is it Called Mongolian Beef?
Even though it’s called Mongolian Beef, the dish is usually served in Chinese restaurants in the US. Furthermore, the recipe first appeared in Taiwan, where it was taken over by the Chinese. In conclusion, none of the ingredients or the cooking methods come from the Mongol people.
So, why do we call it Mongolian? I guess no one knows for sure. Regardless, it’s delicious and it will stay in my recipe book for years to come!
What does Mongolian Beef Taste Like?
The best description I can provide is that it tastes like Chinese takeout, but better.
To give you more details, you should know that the end result is sweet and flavorful, but not spicy (which some of us may expect from Asian foods). The garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and brown sugar create an exotic combination that can be offputting for someone who is not into sweet beef, so make sure to check with your guests before serving it.
As an alternative, for guests who don’t like sweet beef, I recommend my delicious recipe of Beef & Broccoli.
If you like it, I advise caution – it can be quite addictive! Furthermore, if you add some steamed rice to the mix, you may never want to give it up!
Quick tip: if you want to make it spicy, add half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to the mixture. If you don’t have this, sriracha sauce also does the trick, just make sure to taste it.
What exactly is Mongolian Beef?
As we already established, nothing is from Mongolia. This means you have the freedom of choosing any type of beef you enjoy the most. I like to go with flank steak or top round beef, but you can use the one you have at the ready. Other options that work just as well are sirloin, skirt steak, or New York strip.
Still, make sure it’s easy to cut it in thin strips. If you feel you can’t get the right slices, put the steak in the freezer for about 30 minutes to 1h. This will bring the meat together and it will make it easier to slice. Remember, always slice against the grain!
How Do You Make Mongolian Beef From Scratch?
As you can see, my recipe is designed for those of you who are in a hurry. Once you have the correctly sliced beef, you just toss everything in the Instant Pot, select the right settings, and continue your work until the meal is ready.
While the result is somewhat similar, if you’re looking for a better presentation and texture, I recommend adding a few steps to the process.
Start the pot in Saute mode and, until it gets hot enough, toss the beef in a little cornstarch. Once the Instant Pot is ready, put the coated beef in the pot and let it sear for a few minutes (turn it on all sides). The beef will get a crispy coating and the cornstarch will help make it incredibly tender on the inside.
Quick tip – don’t add too much meat at once as it will get soft instead of crispy. If you have more, it’s best to do the searing in batches.
As this step is ready (it only takes a few minutes), continue adding ingredients according to the recipe.
As a side note, I strongly recommend using dark brown sugar instead of any other kind of sugar. Dark brown sugar has a higher concentration of molasses and this improves the overall flavor profile of this dish.
Can I Replace the Meat?
While it is called Mongolian Beef, you can make it into Mongolian Chicken or Pork if you’re not a fan of beef.
Still, it’s best to select meats that can be thinly sliced. The beauty and deliciousness of this dish stand in the way the meat is cooked and infused with the flavors in the sauce.
The traditional way of enjoying this dish is on top of steamed rice, but there are other options you can consider. For instance, it works extremely well with fried or steamed veggies such as broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, green beans, and more.
It also works with stir fry noodles or fried rice, if you don’t want to go with the healthier option 🙂
If there are any leftovers (which may never happen), store them in an airtight container, in the refrigerator. It is safe to keep the leftovers for about 3 or 4 days and you can reheat them in the microwave or in a skillet.
- 1 ½ lb. beef sliced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- ½ cup of soy sauce
- ½ cup of water
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon of fresh ginger finely chopped
- ½ cup of Hoisin sauce
- ½ cup green onion chopped
- Put all ingredients in the pressure cooker, close de lid and cook in high pressure for 10 minutes. Wait for the pressure to drop naturally.
- Pour the stew mixture over the rice if desired and serve