Mongolian beef is a very mysterious recipe that came to us from Asia. You’ve probably seen it in Asian restaurants, especially Chinese takeaways.
As you probably already know, this dish is not keto-friendly. But as my journey into the keto lifestyle began, I yearned for a version of this classic that would fit my new dietary choices without compromising on flavor.
After much experimentation and a few kitchen misadventures, I’ve crafted a Keto Mongolian Beef and broccoli recipe that’s not only low-carb but also brimming with the rich, savory notes of the original. It’s a delightful fusion of tradition and innovation, and I’m thrilled to share it with fellow keto enthusiasts and food lovers alike
What is Mongolian Beef Exactly?
Mongolian beef is a Chinese-American dish consisting of thinly sliced beef, typically flank steak, that is stir-fried with a savory and slightly sweet sauce made from soy sauce, brown sugar or hoisin sauce, and garlic.
The name of this recipe might make you think it’s from Mongolia – a country in East Asia, but no, it’s not a Mongolian recipe. It’s a delicious and popular dish in the Chinese and Taiwanese cuisines.
The beef is often cooked with sliced green onions and is traditionally served over steamed rice or noodles. Despite its name, Mongolian beef doesn’t have origins in Mongolian cuisine.
You can find this dish at most Chinese restaurants in America. Usually, this dish consists of stir-fried flank steak slices with vegetables in a sweet sauce. The sauce is usually a combination of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar and chili peppers. The dish is often served with steamed rice or noodles.
As you can see, many of these ingredients are not keto-friendly as they contain added sugars, gluten, and too many carbs. However, with a few simple ingredient swaps, you can still enjoy Mongilian Beef on a keto diet without sacrificing flavor.
I recommend serving the beef with a low-carb vegetable of your choice, such as sauteed spinach or steamed broccoli, instead of noodles or pasta.
Ginger is another spice used in this recipe that is commonly used in various Asian meals. It’s full of vitamins, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects so your meat not only wakes your taste buds up but also keeps you keto-healthy.
I use xanthan gum to thicken the sauce as a substitute for cornstarch. You can also use guar gum.
To make the sauce as sweet as the regular recipe, I add some erythritol. You can add your choice of keto sweetener, such as monk fruit, or feel free to not use any sweetener if you don’t like it sweet.
How to Make Low Carb Mongolian Beef
The method I used to cook this dish is stir-frying in a frying pan. You can also experiment with a slow cooker or an instant pot.
Making the sauce: Add olive oil in a hot pan then add minced garlic and fresh grated ginger and fry for 30 seconds. Add coconut aminos (or low sodium soy sauce if not strict keto), water, keto sweetener (as a brown sugar substitute), and red pepper flakes in. Simmer for 3-4 minutes then remove from the stove and set aside.
Prepare and cook beef: Slice beef into finger-size strips then add in a zip bag (or a bowl) with xanthan gum and mix well. This will help thicken the dish.
In a frying pan, add olive oil (or sesame oil) in then stir-fry the beef until it becomes brown.
Add the sauce along with salt and pepper and cook for another minute. Make sure you stir constantly to avoid burning the meat.
Top with sliced scallions. Serve with steamed broccoli or cauliflower rice. Make sure to save this recipe to your low carb beef dishes for dinner.
Keto Mongolian Beef
- 1 lb flank steak sliced into bite-size stripes
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup So Nourished Erythritol
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1-2 tsp xanthan gum to thicken the sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 scallion sliced (for topping)
- In a saucepan, heat half of olive oil, add minced garlic and grated ginger, and fry for 30 seconds. Add water, coconut aminos, erythritol, red pepper flakes, and simmer on high for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Add xanthan gum and beef strips to a zip bag and toss well.
- In a frying pan, heat the other half of olive oil until hot. You can also use sesame oil instead. Add beef strips and stir until they begin to get brown. Set aside.
- Heat a clean pan over medium heat (or use the same pan with beef if you want to), add the beef and prepared sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for another minute stirring constantly.
- Divide between plates and garnish with sliced scallions. The beef can be served in a bowl of some steamed broccoli florets or cauliflower rice or any other side dish of your choice.
Is Mongolian beef keto friendly?
Traditional Mongolian beef is not keto-friendly due to the sugar and cornstarch used in its sauce. You can make it keto-approved by substituting sugar with a keto-approved sweetener and using xanthan gum or another low-carb thickener in place of cornstarch.
What to serve with Mongolian beef on keto?
When serving Mongolian beef on a keto diet, consider pairing it with low-carb side dishes such as cauliflower rice, steamed broccoli or green beans, sautéed spinach with garlic, zucchini noodles, or a fresh cucumber salad with a light vinaigrette.
What cut of beef is used for Mongolian beef?
Mongolian beef is typically made using flank steak, which is sliced into thin strips against the grain to ensure tenderness when cooked. This cut provides the ideal texture and flavor for the dish.
What can I substitute for flank steak in Mongolian beef?
If you can’t find flank steak for your Mongolian beef dish, you can substitute it with other cuts such as skirt steak, hanger steak, or flat iron steak. These cuts, when sliced thinly against the grain, offer a similar texture and flavor to flank steak, making them suitable alternatives for the dish. I wouldn’t suggest using ground beef because it gives an entirely different taste and texture.