Sunday 10 September 2017

Globecooking recipe : Mongolian beef

After a summer spent largely travelling and visiting family, I've been itching to get back into the kitchen and start experimenting with new ways to fill the Madhouse Family's tummies. Unfortunately, as a teacher, the kids going back to school signals that I do too, so I haven't had much time for cooking elaborate meals this week. I have, however, managed to concoct a dish that ticks all the right boxes - it's quick to prepare, uses nothing but store-cupboard basics, the whole family LOVED it and it's full of healthy ingredients. The original, authentic Mongolian beef recipe doesn't have any veggies in it at all, but I added carrots, mushrooms, red peppers and onions and they added lots of lovely colour, texture and flavour. Lean red meat also provides a range of important nutrients that are often low in toddlers' and children's diets, including iron, zinc, B vitamins, selenium and potassium - all things that need a boost at back-to-school time when the kids need to fight off all manner of coughs, colds and sniffles.

As Pierre wanted to help out in the kitchen, I found some kid-friendly ways of getting him involved in the food prep. Making sure he kept his fingers out of the way, he helped me chop the beef into strips using a pair of scissors - much easier and safer to handle than a sharp knife.

While I sliced the mushrooms, onions (that he had peeled) and red peppers, Pierre set to work with a potato peeler to shave off thin strips of carrot. I always find that the kids are much more willing to taste new dishes when they've helped to make them - although crispy fried beef in a sweet, sticky sauce was going to be a winner whoever made it !

Mongolian beef

ingredients (for a family of five) :

600g thin steak (or you can buy beef already cut into strips if you prefer)
a scoop of cornflour
salt, pepper, garlic pepper, smoked paprika, etc (to season the cornflour)
a glug of olive oil
veggies of choice, cut into strips : I used 2 carrots, 3 mushrooms, an onion and 1/2 a red pepper
1tbsp garlic paste (or use 2 cloves of garlic, crushed)
1tbsp ginger paste (or use a small knob of fresh ginger, grated)
1/3 cup of dark soy sauce
1/3 cup of water
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar

Put the cornflour in a bowl and mix in the seasoning. Don't worry about quantities - you can always add more if you run out.

After cutting the beef into strips, toss it in the cornflour until completely coated.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan until it sizzles when you put in a piece of meat. Carefully lay the meat out in batches, so that it doesn't touch the other pieces, and fry on each side for a couple of minutes until the coating goes golden brown and crispy. Pierre said "eurgghh Mum, it looks like you're cooking worms for tea !"

Drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil and reserve for later.

If needed, add another (small) glug of oil to the frying pan and quickly stir fry the vegetables. Don't overdo it - they need to retain some crunch.

Put the soy sauce, ginger and garlic, water and sugar in a wok and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Reduce the heat and add the beef and vegetables. Stir to coat everything in the sauce. The cornflour coating on the beef should be enough to thicken the sauce but if it isn't, dissolve half a teaspoon of cornflour in a little water and stir in.

Serve with rice and, for extra fun, let the kids have a go with chopsticks. I did buy some plastic gadgets to hold chopsticks together but the kids couldn't get on with them. They prefer the cheapie disposable bamboo chopsticks and don't snap them apart - they last for ages and only cost pennies.

The sauce has a lovely gooey texture and a Chinesey sweet-and-sour type flavour. It's a great way of clearing out the vegetable drawer of the fridge and ensuring clean plates all round !

Disclosure : This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel.


  1. Love things like this. Looks delicious

  2. You had me with the title of this dish and I will be giving it a try. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part

  3. Looks great, and the beef looks delicious!


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