Mongolian Beef 01 – Honoring Family Traditions

Dad loves his Chinese Food – it has to be one of his favorites cuisines besides “Okie” fixings (as a native of Oklahoma he likes cornbread and Down Home Chicken-Fried Steak with Creamy Gravy). Dad traveled around a lot as a young man, first as a hitch-hiking drifter working odd-jobs, then as a barn-storming pilot of a small plane, and finally as a GI. I’m not sure how his love of Chinese food developed, but he sure does love the American take on Chinese foods.

Mom was Filipino-Spanish with a dash of Chinese thrown in for good measure, so naturally she adored all foods Asian. I wish I could say we ate our share of Asian food growing up, but the truth is we didn’t. Brother Dear refused to eat anything containing vegetables, so rather than fight with him, we ate Chicken Adobo or Filipino-American Pork Chops Adobo Style. While these are absolutely delicious, the vegetables are served on the side, with plenty of rice. It was only at family reunions that our exposure to Filipino Foods expanded to include Filipino Pancit with Everything but the Kitchen Sink or Lumpia (Filipino Egg Rolls). And then there was the summer we spent in Manila – that was truly an expansion of flavors – at least for me. Brother Dear still refused to eat his vegetables. My Tita took him shopping at Clark Air Force Base for foods that “came from America”.

chinese-take-out-100As for Chinese food, growing up we ate Chinese at least once a year, usually for Mom’s birthday or their wedding anniversary. Brother Dear got to take a McDonald’s burger with him, still refusing to eat what the rest of us were having if vegetables or fish or a countless number of other things were involved. We would have dinner out as a family at one of their favorite Chinese restaurant, my sisters and I ordering from the menu while Brother happily munched away on his burger. Although rare, when my parents did go out to dinner without us, Chinese was usually their food of choice. Growing up we didn’t know Chinese take-out or delivery even existed.

Dad continues to get his Chinese “fix” every year on his birthday. We all gather at my sister’s house or the family farm and order take out. Kiddo’s only complaint is that it’s not the best take out. A far cry from restaurants in San Francisco’s China Town or what we cook up at home. Dad’s happy, it’s his birthday, and that’s all that matters.

china town 1Kiddo loves Chinese Food – it’s one of his favorites right up there with Mexican. I think it’s more the spice that he is after – loving anything with some “heat”. Hubby likes good Chinese Food. The Chinese Food in San Francisco has to be some of the best around. If you get the chance to visit the City by the Bay during the week, China Town is very different from the weekends, when the shops and restaurants caters to the “tourists”.  It’s an adventure to another land.

Regardless of take out, eat out or cooking up Asian food at home, we always begin with chop sticks and end with a fork. None of us are very proficient in the use of chop sticks, still we like the idea. (And if you have ever wondered why Asian rice is so sticky – you try eating “dry” rice with chopsticks!)

chinese-new-year-02-10-2013-2

Now that you have the complete history of our “honored family traditions” let’s get to cooking. The reason this is called Mongolian Beef 01 is because I have three different recipes for Mongolian Beef – it just keeps everything straight in my “filing” system. As recipes go, this is very basic and straight forward.

Timing is the real trick. My rice steamer takes about 40 minutes to steam the rice “sticky”. That was the perfect amount of time to marinate, prep and cook up the beef. By the time the steamer made its “ding” sound, the sauce had thickened and everything was ready. Love it when everything comes together perfectly, don’t you?

Mongolian Beef 01
Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry
1 lb Top Sirloin Round Steak, thin cut and trimmed
1 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 Pinch Ground Ginger
2 Tablespoons Vegetable oil, divided
2 Medium Carrots, thinly sliced diagonally
1 Bunch Green Onion

Cut beef into long, thin strips. Set aside.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and garlic in a glass bowl. Add beef strips, stir to mix. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.

While beef marinades, make finish sauce (recipe follows) and prepare vegetables.

Cut carrots and set aside.

Cut root from green onion bulbs and discard. Chop bulbs (white parts only), set aside. Cut stalks of green onion into 2-inch strips. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in wok over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add beef, stir-fry 1-2 minutes. Remove beef from wok and keep warm.

Heat additional 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in wok. Add carrots and green onion bulbs (white part of onion), stir-fry 1-2 minutes. Add beef, remaining green onion strips and cornstarch mixture.

Heat until sauce thickens and begins to boil. Remove from heat and serve over a bed of sticky rice.

Finishing Sauce
¾ Cup Water
2 ½ Teaspoons Cornstarch
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
½ Teaspoon Sugar
¼ – ½ Teaspoon Red Pepper flakes (depending upon desired “heat”)

Combine water, 2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch, sesame seeds, sugar, red pepper flakes and remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce in a bowl. Set aside.


Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.