While Mongolian beef may not be an authentic Chinese dish (or even a Mongolian dish), its popularity in Chinese-American restaurants is undeniable, and it was one of my favorite dishes from the Chinese take-out place in the rural town where I grew up. Although it’s sometimes served on a bed of fried glass noodles, Mongolian beef is hardly a meal on its own, and this got me wondering … what if I made a saucy Mongolian beef and tossed it with spaghetti?
The resulting pasta is one that defies culinary boundaries, and yet has a sweet and savory taste profile that will appeal to almost anyone. With long slender strands of pasta and big strips of tender marinated beef, this is a simple weeknight meal that feels like it should have been invented long ago.
Because this is a quick stir-fry, be sure to use a tender cut of beef, ideally with some marbling. I used ribeye, but a strip steak or tenderloin would work as well. If your kids can’t handle spicy, just leave the chili paste out. Conversely if you want more heat, than just increase the amount of chili paste, or add some dried chili peppers when you fry the garlic.
Mongolian Beef Pasta
- 7 ounces (200 grams) beef, sliced into strips
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon Asian chili paste (such as doubanjiang or sambal oelek)
- 6.3 ounces (180 grams) pasta such as spaghetti or linguine
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced (7 grams)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced (60 grams)
- 5 scallions, sliced (60 grams)
- Put the beef in a bowl along with the soy sauce and sugar, mix to combine and then allow the beef to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.
- For the sauce, put the hoisin sauce, water and chili paste into a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and boil the pasta for one minute less than what the package directions say. For example, if the package says to boil it for nine minutes, add the pasta and set the timer for eight.
- When the pasta is five minutes away from being done, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat until hot. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the beef and spread it out into a single layer, and let this fry on one side until the edges start to turn brown. Add the bell peppers and then stir-fry until the beef is cooked.
- When the pasta is done, drain it.
- Add the scallions in with the beef, and then add the noodles. Pour the sauce over the noodles and use tongs to mix until the sauce is evenly dispersed and the scallions are cooked.
- Plate and serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.