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 Country Fried Steak). 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 Chicken, Pork & Shrimp or Filipino Egg Rolls – Lumpia. 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.

Chinese Take Out (100)As for Chinese food, at least once a year, usually for Mom’s birthday or their wedding anniversary, we would have dinner out as a family at one of their favorite Chinese restaurant. Although rare, when they did go out to dinner without us, Chinese was usually the 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 and order take out. Kiddo’s only complaint is that it’s not the best take out; and a far cry from what we cook up at home. Dad’s happy, it’s his birthday, and that’s all that matters.

Chinese New Year 02-10-2013 (2)

Chinese New Year – Sticky Rice; Pork Pot Stickers and Spicy Orange Chicken.

Kiddo 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, it’s different from the weekends, when China Town caters to the “tourists”.  A real delight – an adventure in eating. 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.

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.

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