Mongolian beef just got better with our healthy take on the Chinese classic. Most traditional recipes use a lot of sugar and corn-starch or regular flour to thicken the sauce. Our version is low in sugar and uses corn-free, gluten-free ingredients. Don’t worry, it still tastes pretty amazing and will get the thumbs from kids and grown ups alike.
A few things before we begin…
Beef. Most Mongolian beef recipes call for flank steak, which is a tasty yet cheap cut of beef. I used skirt steak, which is very similar to flank and is interchangeable in my opinion. Flank steak is probably a little more tender, so by all means use that instead. Here is a bit more info about the differences between flank and skirt steaks. You can use rump steak or other type of steak as well.
Sugar. You can use less sugar, if you like. We like coconut sugar as it has lower glycemic index and much lower % of fructose than regular sugar.
The sauce. Many recipes call for brown sugar (a lot of it) and soy sauce. I am using coconut sugar and gluten-free Tamari sauce instead. Coconut sugar is a great natural sweetener as it has a lower glycemic index than most other sweeteners. It has a lovely nutty, caramel sweetness, so it’s a great alternative to brown sugar. I found that I didn’t need to use as much as other recipes use. You can find tamari and coconut sugar in most health food stores and online. This brand of coconut sugar is quite popular, and this is the Tamari sauce I use.
Thickener. I prefer to use arrowroot or tapioca flour instead of corn starch, but you are welcome to use whatever you have on hand. Because we’re not flash frying the beef in a hot pan, we’re going to add the thickening starch at the end of the cooking process, rather than coat the meat before frying.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 5 slices of long red chili
- 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1.1 lb / 500 g beef skirt steak or flank steak, cut into thin strips
- 3 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1/3 cup tamari sauce (regular soy sauce or coconut aminos can also be used)
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar, as a less healthy alternative)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional but I love it)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional but adds a little umami flavour)
To finish off
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour or arrowroot flour (starch)
- 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 2–3 green onions, cut into 1-2” long pieces (green and pale green part only)
- Serve with cooked white rice or cauliflower rice
- Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot (it should say Normal, 30 mins). Add coconut oil, ginger and chili and stir through. Add the beef strips and garlic. Cook for a minute, stirring a couple of times.
- Add the rest of the ingredients but not the tapioca, carrots or green onion. Cancel the Sauté function by pressing Keep Warm/Cancel button. Place and lock the lid, make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual (High Pressure) and adjust to 12 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
- Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release for 2-3 minutes naturally and then use the quick release method before opening the lid.
- Add the carrots and press Sauté key again. Cook together with the beef for 2 more minutes.
- In the meantime, combine 1/4 cup hot water with the tapioca or arrowroot starch in a small bowl. I used my fingers to dissolve the starch. Add the green onions to the beef and then add 4 tablespoons of the tapioca slurry liquid. Stir through and turn the pressure cooker off. The sauce will thicken as soon as you stir in the starch. Transfer to a bowl and serve with cooked white rice or cauliflower rice.