Friday, September 20, 2013

Mongolian Beef

Fake is as old as the Eden tree. – Orson Welles 

This recipe is quite common in many Chinese/American restaurants. The only place it is not common (probably) is in Mongolia. This recipe has nothing to do with Mongolia. This is a fake.

But just because this is “fake” doesn’t mean it’s not good. As I typed that, I searched my mind for another example. But I couldn’t come up with one. Usually fake means cheap, knock-off tat. But this is tasty.

So perhaps rather than calling it fake, we should call it a misnomer. It’s got plenty of tasty Asian flavours, but it just has nothing to do with Mongolia, except for the beef. I guess it’s just supposed to elicit thoughts of "the exotic."

There’s lots of Chinese/American dishes like that. Any that are familiar with real Asian dishes know exactly what I am talking about. They’re the true exotics, to our taste.

So if you can get past the fact this isn't Mongolian, you’re good to go.

If you’re into tender slices of beef in a sweet/spicy sauce, then you’ll like this dish. 

The recipe makes enough for four, if you serve another side with it. If not, it can make a good meal for two, albeit not very well balanced from the healthy eating food groups... Make some veggies for with it.

At just a few minutes to cook, it’s a great way to have something on the table on a week night that’s not your standard fare.

The sauce ingredient looks long, but it’s all stuff you should have on hand. Except perhaps for the Hoisin. It’s essential. Go get some.

Mongolian Beef
Prep: 10 min  |  Cook: 10 min  |  Serves 4
1 lb beef steak, sliced thinly
1/4 cup cornstarch (to coat)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion
1/4 cup Thai basil
for the sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, diced
1 tbsp garlic, diced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 tsp dried crushed red chilli
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Keep the beef in the refrigerator until ready to slice – or freeze briefly. It makes it easier to slice. Toss the beef with the cornstarch to coat well.

Chop the onion into large pieces.

Heat the oil in a wok. Fry the beef slices in two batches until just barely cooked through. Remove to a bowl. Add more oil if necessary.

Fry the onion until it begins to soften. Then add the sauce and let cook until it begins to thicken. Then add the beef and let cook for a minute or two. Finally, stir in the basil.

Serve on hot cooked white rice.


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