Mongolian Beef (Without Using a Wok)

Beautifully caramelized beef with a juicy, tender texture and a gingery, garlicky, sweet sauce make this dish irresistible! You won’t believe how easy it is to make this dish, restaurant-style, in your own kitchen without a wok! {Gluten Free adaptable}

Mongolian Beef served with rice

Mongolian beef might be one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes. Along with Black Pepper Steak, Sesame Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and Beef Chow Fun, it’s one of those must-order dishes when visiting (or ordering in from) a Chinese restaurant.

It might seem daunting to make your favorite takeout at home, but you’d be surprised how easy it is once you understand the workflow. Let’s dive in and learn how to make this dish work!

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Mongolian Beef restaurant style

Making the best Mongolian beef

1. Choose the right cut of beef

My favorite cuts for stir fry are flank steak and plate steak. These cuts are cheaper than sirloin and ribeye, yet yield very tender results.

If you have to choose a cheaper cut, such as round roast or brisket, there is quick method to tenderize the beef. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon baking soda onto the beef along with the other marinade ingredients, then mix very thoroughly to coat the beef. Chinese restaurants commonly use this method so they can use cheaper cuts of beef. I’ve documented the method in this Orange Beef recipe.

Also, make sure you always slice the beef against the grain, which is another key to creating a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

2. Marinate the meat

This key step takes an extra 3 minutes but it will make such a difference to your dish. Using Shaoxing wine and salt makes the beef so much more flavorful and so much richer. Once done with the marinade, coat the meat with some cornstarch. Not only does it yield a crispy surface, but it also protects the beef from the hot pan so it won’t be overcooked.

Mongolian Beef with sticky gingery garlicky sauce

3. Use plenty of fresh aromatics

This might be the most important component of a fragrant stir fry. Make sure you add plenty of fresh garlic, ginger, and green onion. They will give the sauce a depth of flavor and fresh taste, just like you’d get in a Chinese restaurant.

Mongolian Beef with sticky gingery garlicky sauce

4. How to cook beef properly without a wok

The first thing to remember is that you should let the beef sear without moving it too much. I know, it sounds like this is contradictory to the word “stir-fry”! Just like when browning your meat before making a stew, leaving the beef in the pan without moving it at the start of a stir fry will brown the bottom while maintaining a hot temperature in the pan.

Once you heat up the pan, spread the beef into a single layer with the help of a pair of tongs (or chopsticks). Then grill the meat, without touching, for at least 1 minute. Then use a spatula to flip to cook the other side. In the end, you will get perfectly seared beef that is medium rare inside. The beef will be cooked perfectly after you add the sauce, and it will also remain juicy and tender.

Mongolian Beef with sticky gingery garlicky sauce

5. Proper stir fry workflow

Different from a lot of Western-style cooking, Chinese stir fry happens very quickly. Once you have everything prepared, the stir fry process is usually finished in less than 5 minutes. This means that you should have done all the prep and have all the ingredients ready and near your stove. Make sure to go through all the recipe directions so you have an idea of what to do next.

That’s it!

It might sound like a lot to take in. But believe me, you’ll find the dish so easy to make once you try it out!

Serve the sticky, tender beef on top of some steamed rice, and you’ll have dinner ready!

Happy cooking and I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!

Mongolian Beef served with rice

More Asian takeout recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

5 from 4 votes
Mongolian Beef restaurant style
Mongolian Beef (Without Using a Wok)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Beautifully caramelized beef with a juicy, tender texture and a gingery, garlicky, sweet sauce make this dish irresistible! You won’t believe how easy it is to make this dish, restaurant-style, in your own kitchen without a wok! {Gluten Free adaptable}

To make this dish gluten-free, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine, and replace the soy sauce with tamari.

Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Calories: 323 kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu
Ingredients
Marinade
  • 1 lbs (450 g) flank steak, sliced against the grain into 1/4” (1/2 cm) pieces (*Footnote 1)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Sauce
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Stir fry
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 4 green onions cut into 2-inch pieces, white and green parts separated
Instructions
  1. Combine flank steak, Shaoxing wine, and salt in a large bowl. Gently mix well with your hand. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. When you’re ready to cook, add the cornstarch to the marinated beef. Mix to coat all the beef pieces with cornstarch.
  4. Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot. Spread the steak with minimal overlapping. Use a pair of tongs to rearrange the beef, if necessary. Let cook for 1 minute without moving, or until the bottom turns golden brown. Flip and cook the other side, 40 seconds or so, until golden but the inside still a bit pink. Transfer the steak to a big plate.
  5. If there is a lot of oil left in the pan, use a couple layers of kitchen paper towel held in a pair of tongs to remove extra oil, leaving 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan.
  6. Add the ginger, garlic, and the white part of the green onion into the skillet. Cook and stir for 30 seconds to release the fragrance.
  7. Stir the sauce again until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Pour into the pan and immediately stir with a spatula. The sauce will thicken very quickly, in a couple seconds. Return the cooked beef to the pan, along with the green part of the green onion. Cook and stir a few more times to mix well. Transfer everything to a plate immediately.
  8. Serve hot over steamed rice as a main.
Nutrition Facts
Mongolian Beef (Without Using a Wok)
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 323 Calories from Fat 122
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13.5g 21%
Saturated Fat 3.9g 20%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 1160mg 48%
Potassium 366mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 27g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0.8g 3%
Sugars 15.2g
Protein 23.6g 47%
Calcium 2%
Iron 12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Mongolian Beef - Beautifully caramelized beef with a juicy, tender texture and a gingery, garlicky, sweet sauce make this dish irresistible! You won’t believe how easy it is to make this restaurant-style stir fry in your own kitchen without a wok! #recipe #takeout #chinese #asian #glutenfree

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9 thoughts on “Mongolian Beef (Without Using a Wok)

  1. Gavin

    First time attempting any sort of Chinese cooking. You made the recipe so simple and now my favorite Magnolian Beef dish is mine/yours. My egg drop soup came out great. I still need to practice the actual egg separation, but very simple. Thanks for sharing can’t wait to try your other recipes.

    Reply
  2. Gavin

    This is the first time I’ve ever attempted Chinese cooking. Your recipe was simple and easy to follow. Now my favorite Mongolian Beef dish is mine/yours. I also attempted your egg drop soup. Very good. I need to practice on the egg separattion a little more. Thanks for sharing your recipes and I look forward to trying your others.

    Reply
    1. Thomas

      That’s awesome, Gavin – thanks for your message and welcome to the world of Chinese cooking 🙂

      Was the egg too clotted, do you mean? It can be tough to get the thin strands just right, but the key is to get the soup very hot (the cornstarch thickening also helps) and to drizzle the egg very gradually. Good luck and let us know how the other dishes turn out!

      Reply
  3. Qiuna

    I made this dish yesterday for my roommates. First attempt and they absolutely adored it. I’m going to make it more often! I was wondering however, what vegetable side dishes you would recommend with this dish?

    Reply