This Instant Pot Mongolian Beef is the perfect dish to satisfy all your quick fix Asian/Chinese food cravings! Tender, succulent pieces of beef are cooked in a sweet and savory sauce that is sure to make you go for seconds. Trust me this homemade pressure-cooker Mongolian beef is way better than any Chinese take-out that you have had before.
Who can resist Chinese food? I’m not talking the real deal Chinese food, let’s face it, not many places serve authentic Chinese cuisine here in the US. It’s the same deal in India, we have our Indo-Chinese dishes to satisfy the Indian palate. I’ve yet to taste some authentic Chinese or Mongolian cuisine for that matter.
As for this Mongolian beef, nothing like this exists in Mongolia. This is a purely American dish, also popular in Australian-Asian restaurants. You will certainly find it in most of the buffet and Chinese restaurants.
Now, don’t we all love PF Chang’s Mongolian beef coated with that thick, sticky, sweet and savory brown sauce? hmm hmm..
Well, guess what? You don’t need to visit an Asian restaurant or order take out anymore, you can easily make this in the pressure cooker/instant pot and enjoy it at home.
This homemade Mongolian beef has an amazing balance of ingredients, with the right amount of umami flavors from the low sodium soy sauce, earthy sweetness from the brown sugar, a pop of zing from fresh aromatics like garlic and ginger, a little something from the hoisin sauce and a kick of spice to round it all off. Hmm yum yum!
WHY IS IT CALLED MONGOLIAN BEEF ANYWAYS?
This dish is named after a cooking style rather than the country of origin. This cooking style known as the Mongolian barbecue was made popular in Taiwan, China where meat and veggies were stir-fried on a large, round cast iron griddle.
It has now become a popular cooking technique in the Western world, however, there is no connection with authentic Mongolian cuisine. So that was a little info for you if you weren’t aware of it. Expect nothing like this if you ever visit Mongolia.
INSTANT POT MONGOLIAN BEEF INGREDIENTS
To make this easy pressure cooker Mongolian beef you will need,
- 1/4 inch thick beef strips, (more on that mentioned in tips below)
- For the Mongolian sauce recipe, you will need low sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, black pepper, lots of fresh minced garlic and ginger. You will also need some beef stock. I’ve also added some red pepper flakes to lend a subtle heat.
TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST INSTANT POT MONGOLIAN BEEF
1. THE MEAT: WHAT CUT OF BEEF TO USE FOR MONGOLIAN BEEF?
Flank steak or skirt steak are the most popular choices for this recipe. However, London broil, top round, sirloin tip, flat iron are also good options. To ensure you have a tender and melt in the mouth beef it is essential that you slice it correctly. Always cut it across the grain or else you will end up with tough, chewy meat.
Pro-tip: Keep your meat it the freezer for 45-60 minutes. And then go ahead and slice it. Freezing the meat makes it much easier to slice it uniformly.
You can always get your butcher to cut the meat in thin slices or buy pre-cut, packaged beef strips at the store. I actually got a really good deal on the pre-cut beef strips for stir-fry which turned out to be cheaper than buying a steak and slicing it myself, so I just used that instead. Worked like a charm in this recipe.
2. MONGOLIAN BEEF SAUCE
I feel the sauce for this recipe is a very personal one. I know some people don’t mind if it is salty, some folks enjoy the sweet sauce, while some do not like it, that sweet at all. It all depends on personal preference.
Mongolian sauce tends to be on the sweeter side, and so you definitely need some amount of sugar, brown sugar to be more specific in this recipe. The sugars caramelize on cooking giving the sauce a richer flavor. The sauce here that I’m sharing has the right balance of flavors and hits just the right spot for us.
I experimented with 3 different quantities of soy sauce and brown sugar each since those are the two important ingredients for this Mongolian sauce.
Experiment 1: I used 1/4 cup each of both, the resultant sauce was sort of diluted after adding the beef stock. It lacked the savory flavor and had a tiny bit of sweetness.
Experiment 2: I used 1/3 cup each of both, the resultant sauce was slightly better in terms of the savory taste, the sweetness was okay too. But it still lacked something.
Experiment 3: I used 1/2 cup each of both the ingredients. The resultant sauce was spot on, had the savory flavors going on along with the perfect amount of sweetness. I finally settled for these proportions after eating Mongolian beef for days.. haha 😀
3. FRESH AROMATICS
Since this homemade Mongolian sauce uses such few ingredients, fresh aromatics like ginger and garlic contribute a lot to the flavor of the sauce.
Please do try and use fresh minced ginger and garlic, as the sauce is far superior with fresh aromatics rather than the powdered form or minced garlic in a jar. When you want to make the best, I say spending the extra 5 minutes on mincing ingredients is totally worth it.
INSTANT POT MONGOLIAN BEEF TASTE
This Mongolian beef has a savory and slightly sweet flavor, with tender, juicy and melt in the mouth beef. It is much better than any greasy, Chinese take-out. Thanks to the pressure cooking process, the beef is infused with a lot of flavor from the homemade Mongolian sauce, making this an incredibly tasty dish!
Customize your Mongolian beef to suit your family’s palate,
Like it sweeter? Add 2/3 to 3/4 cup of brown sugar in this recipe.
Not a a fan of sweet sauce? Reduce the brown sugar to 1/4 cup.
Prefer a spicy Mongolian beef? Then add more red pepper flakes, you can also add some dried Chinese red chillies, broken in half. And if that is still not spicy enough, add some Sriracha sauce after it’s cooked.
Don’t care much for soy sauce? Reduce it to 1/4-1/3 cup in this recipe.
If you like a crispy Mongolian beef, then do not use the Instant Pot. I would prepare it on the stove top by velveting the beef, a process similar to the one in my orange chicken recipe. Velveting is a process of coating the meat with eggs or egg white and starch such as cornstarch. This helps in locking in the moisture of the meat while it is being stir-fried before coating in the sauce.
The resultant meat has a crispy exterior from the coating, but the meat itself is moist and tender. With the Instant Pot, the meat is always tender, regardless of any searing. I’ve simply seared the meat to brown it on the outsides for added flavor. But this is totally optional. If you have time to spare, marinate the beef strips with the Mongolian sauce, dump everything and pressure cook. Really easy with great results.
SIDE DISH FOR MONGOLIAN BEEF
You can serve this Instant Pot Mongolian beef with either of the following,
- Asian style noodles such as chilli garlic noodles.
- Vegetarian Fried Rice
- Stir-fried veggies or steamed veggies of choice, such as broccoli, bok choy, carrots, etc
- Or simply enjoy Mongolian beef piled over rice or swap the rice for healthier options like quinoa or cauliflower fried rice.
ENJOYED THIS INSTANT POT MONGOLIAN BEEF? THEN YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY THESE ASIAN INSPIRED RECIPES,
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE INSTANT POT MONGOLIAN BEEF
Step1: Prepare the Mongolian beef sauce
In a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup less sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup light/dark brown sugar, 2 tbsp hoisin sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp minced ginger, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Mix well to combine. Add 3/4 cup of beef stock or water, mix everything and set it aside. You can make the sauce a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator.
Step 2: Sear the beef strips
Press ‘SAUTE’ button, and set it to ‘NORMAL’. Once its displays ‘HOT’, add 1 tbsp vegetable oil, place the beef strips in a single layer. Sear it for about 2 minutes on one side, then flip and cook the side for another minute. Do not crowd the pot by piling the beef, it will steam in its own juices. I did this in 3 batches. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.
Step 3: Deglaze the pot
Add 1/4 cup of beef stock or water, scrape off the browned bits with a wooden spatula. Make sure nothing is stuck or else you may get a ‘BURN’ message.
Step 4: Add all the ingredients and pressure cook
Add the prepared Mongolian sauce mixture and the beef along with its juices. Mix lightly.
Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the valve to ‘SEALING’. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. It will take some time for the pressure to build up (about 5 minutes), after which the timer will begin. You can prepare the cornstarch slurry during this time, and set it aside.
Step 5: Natural pressure release
Let the pot depressurize for 10 minutes. Then do a quick release of any leftover pressure as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the silver pin drops, turn the knob to ‘VENTING’ and open the lid away from you.
Step 6: Add the cornstarch slurry
Press the ‘CANCEL’ button and turn on the ‘SAUTE’ button. Push the meat to one side of the pot. Once the sauce begins to bubble, add the cornstarch slurry (whisk it again before pouring as cornstarch settles down) into the sauce, and keep stirring until it thickens and turns glossy. Mix the beef with the sauce to coat it evenly.
You can add some scallion greens cut into 2 inches and mix it in. Finish off with 1/2 tsp of sesame oil. Press the ‘CANCEL’ button and switch off the Instant Pot. Serve hot with steamed rice and sides of your choice. Garnish with more scallion greens and toasted sesame seeds if desired.
- If you have time to spare, marinate the beef strips with the mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar for a couple of hours. Then dump everything in the Instant pot, add 3/4 cup of beef broth, and cook as directed.
- Mongolian beef and broccoli: Add about 3 cups of steamed broccoli florets in the last step i.e step 6, after adding the cornstarch slurry and thickening the sauce and mix it in gently. Or, steam the broccoli florets directly in the IP after thickening the sauce. Press ‘CANCEL’ to turn off saute mode and add the florets, close the lid and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- If you’d like to add veggies, you can add some onion wedges, diced carrots, bell peppers etc. in step 4. Make sure the veggies are chunky, or else they will turn mushy, place them over the beef.
- You can cook rice using the Pot in Pot method. Use a tall trivet, add equal amounts of white rice and water with a pinch of salt in a bowl, and place it on the stand. Pressure cook everything for 10 mins with 10 mins NPR. This will not work for brown rice as it needs more cooking time.
- You can double the recipe, cooking time remains the same.
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT MONGOLIAN BEEF?
Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
Measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml, 1 tsp = 5 ml
- 1.5 lbs flank steak, sliced across the grain into 1/4 inch thin strips
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1/2 cup less sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup light/dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar, substitute with apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup beef stock or 1cup water + 1 tsp better than bouillon beef base, divided
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
To thicken the sauce
- 2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water
- 2-3 stalks scallion greens, cut diagonally
- 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, optional
- In a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup less-sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup light/dark brown sugar, 2 tbsp hoisin sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp minced ginger, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Mix well to combine. Add 3/4 cup of beef stock or water, mix everything and set it aside. You can make the sauce a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator.
- Press 'SAUTE' button, and set it to 'NORMAL'. Once its displays 'HOT', add 1 tbsp vegetable oil, place the beef strips in a single layer. Sear it for about 2 minutes on one side, then flip and cook the side for another minute. Do not crowd the pot by piling the beef, it will steam in its own juices. I did this in 3 batches. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.
- Add 1/4 cup of beef stock or water, scrape off the browned bits with a wooden spatula. Make sure nothing is stuck or else you may get a 'BURN' message.
- Add the prepared Mongolian sauce mixture and the beef along with its juices. Mix lightly.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the valve to 'SEALING'. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. It will take some time for the pressure to build up (about 5 minutes), after which the timer will begin. You can prepare the cornstarch slurry during this time, and set it aside.
- Let the pot depressurize for 10 minutes. Then do a quick release of any leftover pressure as per the manufacturer's instructions. Once the silver pin drops, turn the knob to 'VENTING' and open the lid away from you.
- Press the 'CANCEL' button and turn on the 'SAUTE' button. Push the meat to one side of the pot. Once the sauce begins to bubble, add the cornstarch slurry (whisk it again before pouring as cornstarch settles down) into the sauce, and keep stirring until it thickens and turns glossy. Mix the beef with the sauce to coat it evenly.
- You can add some scallion greens cut into 2 inches and mix it in. Finish off with 1/2 tsp of sesame oil. Press the 'CANCEL' button and switch off the Instant Pot. Serve hot with steamed rice and sides of your choice. Garnish with more scallion greens and toasted sesame seeds if desired.
PIN IT FOR LATER
Did you enjoy this Instant Pot Mongolian beef recipe? I would love to know if you try it out! I’d appreciate it if you could leave a review below in comments, as it helps others know the recipe better too. You can also share your feedback and suggestions at [email protected] Thanks so much 🙂
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