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PF Chang's Copycat Mongolian Beef

mongolian beef with rice, spring onions and sesame seeds on a white plate

P.F. Chang's Mongolian Beef has always been one of my very favorite beef dishes.  Tender slices of beef are cooked until just slightly crispy on the outside and then bathed in a sauce that is the perfect balance of sweet and salty - it's absolute perfection to me.  This easy copycat recipe is even better than the original in my opinion.  It is easy to throw together and you can pretty much feed the whole family for less than you would pay for one dish at the restaurant.

Flank steak is perfect for this recipe, but I love using thinly sliced petite sirloin steak or even London Broil too to make this dish which I stock up on when it's on sale.  The key is to make sure your steak is sliced very thinly against the grain so it stays tender as you cook it and you cook it for just a minute or two.  I actually like my steak to be partially frozen when I slice it because it makes it easier to slice- I will usually take a piece of steak out of the freezer and let it defrost half way, then slice it up while it's still a bit firm and let it defrost the rest of the way after slicing.

As a note, the red pepper flakes in this recipe are completely optional - they add an extra punch of heat that I love, but you can skip them, or just add a little - I like the whole 1/2 tsp in mine.  The sesame seeds are also optional - they just look pretty and add a nice nuttiness to the final dish.  

Ingredients:
  • 2lb flank or sirloin steak
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes, (optional)  
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil for frying 
  • 2 large green spring onions, sliced 
  • Toasted sesame seeds and additional green spring onion for garnish, optional
Instructions:
  1. Slice the steak against the grain as thin as you can get it but no more than 1/4" thick bite-size slices. 
  2. Place the steak pieces in a Ziploc bag and add the cornstarch to coat the steak.  (I like to split my steak and my cornstarch between two gallon size bags to give it more room to evenly coat.)
  3. Seal the bags, smoosh the meat all around in the bag to make sure the pieces are nice and coated then set the bag(s) aside on the counter while you make the sauce.
  4. For the sauce:  Heat the 2 Tbsp of canola oil in a saucepan over med/low heat.  Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for just 1 minute.
  5. Add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and (optional) red pepper flakes, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce just starts to thicken.  Remove from heat and set aside.  
  6. Line a large plate with double paper towels.  
  7. For the beef:  In a large sauté pan, heat the cup of oil until it's nice and hot but not smoking.
  8. Add the beef in batches to the oil and sauté for a total of 2-3 minutes until the beef just begins to darken on the edges, stirring and flipping as needed to help it cook evenly.  After a couple of minutes use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and place it on the plate lined with paper towels.  Repeat with the rest of the meat in batches until it is all done.  
  9. Discard the excess cooking oil from the sauté pan but don't wipe it out.  Place all the meat back in the pan together over medium heat.  Add in the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring to make sure all the meat is covered in sauce. 
  10. Stir in the sliced green onions then remove immediately from the heat.
  11. Serve over rice and garnish with more sliced green onions and sesame seeds if desired.
mongolian beef with rice, spring onions and sesame seeds on a white plate

Photo's updated September 2021
mongolian beef with rice, spring onions and sesame seeds on a white plate

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