Sweet & savoury stir fry

Posted on Sun 08 May 2022 in blog • 3 min read

This is inspired by a dish that goes by “Mongolian beef” in parts of the U.S., but I opted for the generic title since it’s neither Mongolian, nor does it require beef. It works with any red meat, but you can also leave the meat out altogether, at which point this becomes a vegan dish.

I normally serve this with jasmine or basmati rice. I have yet to try it with udon, which I am guessing should work well too.


Amounts are for 4 servings.

Meat (optional):

  • About 400g of red meat (beef flank steak, or leg of lamb)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (or Shaoxing wine, for a finer flavor)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3-4 tbsp cornstarch or potato starch
  • 4-5 tbsp peanut oil (for frying)


  • 2 tbsp peanut oil (for frying)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 red bell peppers, cut into 2cm squares
  • 1 hot chili pepper, seeds removed (alternatively a jalapeño pepper, if you like it milder), chopped
  • 180g (drained) bamboo shoots
  • 5-6 scallions (spring onions), cut diagonally into 2-3cm pieces


  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (optional)


  • 1 small bowl (for sauce)
  • 1 medium-size bowl (for meat)
  • Cooking knife and board
  • Whisk
  • Large skillet or wok


  1. Prepare the sauce: whisk sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame seeds, and optionally rice vinegar together in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. If you’re including the meat: prepare the marinade by whisking all liquid ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cut the meat into very thin strips and put them in the bowl. Marinate for at least 20 minutes.

  3. Toss the meat in the cornstarch or potato starch.

  4. Heat peanut oil in the skillet or wok on high heat. Fry the meat in batches until the starch turns golden brown, about 3 minutes or so per batch, keeping heat on high. Put fried meat aside in a bowl.

  5. Vegetable fry: heat peanut oil in wok or skillet on high heat. Sauté garlic until fragrant but not brown. Add bell peppers, chili pepper, and bamboo shoots. Continue frying on high heat for about a minute.

  6. Add the cut scallions, mix thoroughly. Cover skillet or wok with a lid, and cook vegetables for about 5 minutes in their own steam. Taste the scallions. If they’ve lost their onion punch and developed a slightly sweet taste but still retain some crunch, they’re perfect.

  7. If going for the meat option, return the fried meat to the wok or skillet.

  8. Pour the sauce prepared in step 1 over everthing, mix thoroughly, and keep cooking for another 30-60 seconds until sauce thickens.

  9. Serve.

Nutrition facts

No warranty of any kind on these. Values are per serving.

With meat:

Calories (kcal) 561
Total fat (g) 34.9
Saturated fat (g) 7.8
Total carbohydrates (g) 29.4
Sugars (g) 13.6
Protein (g) 32.8

Without meat:

Calories (kcal) 223
Total fat (g) 13.0
Saturated fat (g) 2.1
Total carbohydrates (g) 24.8
Sugars (g) 13.4
Protein (g) 4.2