Best Mongolian Beef Season 1 Final Round
What do you get when you take a gallon of soy sauce, pounds of brown sugar, cornstarch, and sliced flank steak? The tastiest tournament to date! My family has loved taste testing all the Mongolian Beef recipes. It’s a new classic around here, and when you try the winning recipe, I’ll bet it will be a classic in your home as well.
Emily Enchanted’s recipe had quite a bit of ginger and garlic. The flavor was fantastic. Sauce and meat were cooked separately, the sauce started first so it was thickened by the time the meat was done cooking. I loved this method, easy and fast.
The Recipe Critic’s recipe had quite a bit of sauce which we love because we cover our rice with the sauce. I also loved adding the red pepper flakes at the end so I could have mine spicier than the kids.
Sweet and Savory Meals’ recipe called for sesame oil which really bumps up the flavor. The sauce and meat are cooked in separate pans, directions indicate cooking the meat first and the sauce second, but you can always start the sauce first so it’s ready to go when the meat is. This recipe also directs to add all the oil in the pan at once. I don’t recommend doing it this way unless you have a very large pan and can lay out all the meat in a single layer at the same time.
Platings and Pairings called for rice wine vinegar which is a great Asian flavor boost. The flavor was also enhanced by the extra garlic and ginger. Red pepper flakes are added to the sauce while it is simmering. Sauce is cooked first so it’s ready by the time the meat is done.
A few of my favorite things
Many people get nervous about trying new recipes because they don’t have all the ingredients on hand. These recipes don’t really call for any crazy ingredients, but just in case you haven’t heard, here are a few of my favorite Asian sauces to try. We use these sauces even when we are cooking the frozen potstickers or wontons (nope, I don’t make dinner from scratch every night). Many of the sauces can be kept in the fridge for quite a while, some can be kept in the pantry.
Sesame oil. I love toasted sesame oil actually, anytime you toast something it adds another layer of flavor, more fun for the tastebuds! A little of this goes a LONG way, I typically only use 1-2 teaspoons per recipe. Add it with your other oils, and it’s amazing to marinate any meat for an Asian inspired dish.
Rice Wine Vinegar. As with any vinegar, use sparingly, but use! It provides a great acidic taste to balance all the sweet we add to Asian foods (brown sugar and honey specifically). I only use a couple of teaspoons and add it with the soy sauce.
Hoisin sauce. This is another fantastic, rarely mentioned flavor heavyweight. I use up to 1/4 cup in place of soy sauce in recipes. It can also be used to marinate meat for an Asian inspired recipe.
Not every Soy Sauce is created equal
For an easy fried rice taste-alike, add a little soy sauce (maybe a tablespoon) to the water when you cook your rice. The only way I cook rice anymore is in my instant pot, if you don’t have one, ask Santa to bring you one. I start my rice in the instant pot the same time I’m starting all the other aspects of Mongolian Beef and dinner is done at the same time, and my rice isn’t burned on the bottom.
There are some soy sauces that have gluten in them, so be aware if you or someone you are serving has a gluten intolerance. There are other alternatives to soy sauce: tamari sauce, and coconut amino sauce are two that I have used with success. I’m sure there are others. Even some soy sauce is gluten free, just check on the label first.
Start with the Best, Get the Best
Last year my husband and I had the opportunity to purchase some American Wagyu Beef from Snake River Farms. We purchase 1/4 cow and have loved having our freezer full of high quality beef. I used some of our flank steak and sirloin steak (depending on the recipe) in these recipes. The quality was definitely noticeable. I tried to use the Snake River Farms beef in both recipes so it wouldn’t effect the outcome of the recipe. Yes, this is a bit pricier than what you can find in the grocery store, but when you are looking for a special dinner, start with the best at Snake River Farms.
Best of the Best Mongolian Beef
Sweet and Savory Meals, PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef Copycat was the winner of this tournament! The sesame oil really did elevate the flavor above the other recipes. There was plenty of sauce for the meat and the rice. The optional sesame seeds on top added another texture. All around a great champion. Use care when frying meat, I prefer to use a little oil per batch to avoid large splatters. Enjoy a fast, easy dinner everyone will love!
I don’t have my own tried and tested recipe for Mongolian Beef, but I’ve definitely been inspired and have been tweaking a few of these recipes to see if I can compete. I’ll post it in the resource library when I’m satisfied it’s a winner.
What other restaurant copycat recipes would you like me to try? Share in the comments.
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