“Mongolian beef” recipe, with a Hungarian twist

Some time ago I pinned this recipe for “30 minute Mongolian Beef” from Just A Taste. Last week I finally got around to trying it out. While the end result was amazing, the process was somewhat different than the easy-peasy route laid out in the original recipe . Which, let me clarify right now at the beginning, is absolutely 100% no fault of the recipe writer: the original recipe is perfect; trying to recreate it in Hungary is what led to my adventure.

First, as usual, the search for ingredients. The two places where I fell short here were the cornstarch and the beef. The cornstarch was easy to substitute with flour (double the amount). The beef… well, shockingly, the main and title ingredient of a recipe is not so easily substituted.

The problem is that “flank steak” or “skirt steak” isn’t sold as a cut of meat here. Sure, I could probably get it from a butcher if I wanted to special order it, but it’s not something that my local grocery store is going to have. The other main difference is that beef in America is aged, and in Europe it is not, which is why it’s impossible to get a really good steak outside of the USA. Long story short, I made do with another cut of meat, but the 5-minute cooking time in the original recipe did not work. After 5 minutes the meat was technically cooked (I mean it was no longer pink) but it was like chewing leather. So we ended up pouring the whole thing into a sauce pan with some extra water and stewing it for another 40 minutes. Slightly longer than the original cooking time, but totally worth it.

Sorry about the lack of pictures. The first time around I didn’t take pictures at all because I was so fed up. Then we had a meal from the leftovers, and we were nearly finished when I screeched, “Wait, stop eating! I have to take a picture!” And, predictably, those pictures turned out terrible. Here is just one, in a very tiny format. If you ignore the fact that you can’t really see the beef (which we ate over pasta stir fried with carrots, celery leaves, and soy sauce) and ignore the fact that it looks all shiny with grease (it wasn’t greasy at all), then this picture is almost acceptable.

Sigh. Long story short: great recipe. Terrible learning curve. Great results. Terrible pictures.

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