Day 8 – Mongolian Beef and Noodle Stir-Fry
Mongolian Lamb. It’s not authentic of course, no more authentic than sweet and sour pork, but it still consistently rates as one of the most popular of all takeaway items from chinese restaurants around the country.
It would be terrific to recreate at home, except for one small factor: Lamb is still the most expensive meat in Australia.
I’ve said before that cost is the main reason I don’t include more lamb recipes but that hasn’t stopped me from having a hankering for this meal for the longest time. It’s been on my to-do list to include this recipe for ages but at no time has the price of lamb dropped far enough to make it.
So, it’s time for an adaptation.
Mind you, beef isn’t exactly cheap, especially when you consider the cuts of meat you need for a quick stir-fry. The result I want is exquisitely falling-apart tender meat, providing the right contrast for the crunch of spring onions and the robustness of the sauce that accompanies it. Beef so tender as to be velvety.
I have told you before about the process of ‘velveting’ chicken but you can apply the same process to cheaper cuts of beef with terrific results. To thinly sliced meat add a mixture of cornflour, soy and rice wine vinegar. Not only do you kick-start the flavour profile of the sauce but the meat tenderises and softens, requiring only the briefest of cooking times. It’s the perfect way to infuse a cheaper cut of beef with flavour and to give your meal the finishing results you want. By adding noodles, you can reduce the amount of meat you need and make this meal stretch even further, making it a real budget winner.
I really like the results of this meal and I hope you do as well. It’s almost enough to remove the lamb craving as well.
400g beef such as a porterhouse steak, rump, round steak or skirt steak; 1 egg white; 2 tbsp soy sauce (salt reduced is fine); 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar; 1 tbsp cornflour; 1 x 450g packet fresh hokkein or rice noodles; 2 tbsp rice bran or peanut or canola oil; 2 cloves garlic, finely diced or crushed; 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger; 1 tsp chinese five spice powder; 3 tbsp (¼ cup) hoisin sauce; 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and cut diagonally into 3cm lengths; ½ – 1 cup beef stock; ½ tsp sesame oil
Slice the steak into thin strips across the grain. The best way to do this is to slice the meat while it is partly frozen so you can get nice thin pieces.
Whisk the egg white in a bowl with the soy, rice wine vinegar and cornflour until just briefly combined and loosened up, then add the beef and toss it well to thoroughly coat each piece. Marinate for one hour.
Bring 1 litre of water to a gentle simmer in a large fry pan or wok. Add the meat, marinade and all, to the simmering water and cook for just one minute. Scoop out the beef and leave it to one side while you finish the rest of the meal. Drain the wok and clean it and put it back over a high heat.
Place the hokkein or rice noodles in a large heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover completely. Leave to soak for three to five minutes.
Heat the oil and add the garlic, ginger, five spice powder, hoisin sauce and all the spring onions (reserve a small amount for a garnish) and toss well for one minute.
Add the stock, sesame oil and cooked beef to the wok and stir-fry for two minutes just to add some colour to the meat. Drain the noodles and add them to the stir-fry at the last minute. Turn off the heat while you finish tossing the noodles through.
To serve, garnish with the reserved spring onions and serve immediately.
$14.40 for four people