Mongolian BBQ at Home – Ryan’s Recipe
One of my family's favorite restaurants in all of Evansville is a locally owned Mongolian BBQ joint on Evansville's North Side.
But just like any time you take a family of 4 out for dinner to a non-fast food restaurant, it can get pricey. So to save some cash and still enjoy one of our favorite meals, we started making it at home.
If you've never had Mongolian BBQ before, I strongly suggest you give it a try. It's not a typical Asian restaurant experience. There is a buffet, but every item is cold and features everything from noodles, to vegetables, to your choice of meats. All you do is create your meal any way you want it and the chefs behind the counter cook it for you on a huge flat-top grill after adding your choice of available sauces ranging from garlic, lemon, cooking wine, Asian BBQ sauce, etc.
What makes it great is that everyone in your family can build their meals anyway they want and it can be as healthy or flavorful as you want. If you prefer your food with a little extra kick, like my wife and I do, pick up some jalapeno's or other hot peppers while you're at the store. Or do what we do and pick up a jar of Hot Chili Oil from the "international" aisle. My daughter likes green peppers, but my son doesn't, so he has the option of leaving them out. They love it because they get a say in what's for dinner. Here's what to do:
- Noodles like spaghetti or fettuccine, although any style of noodle would work including Asian rice noodles
- Your choice of steak, chicken, or pork (something you can slice thin). For a healthier option, go with sliced turkey breast.
- Your choice of vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, green pepper, broccoli, etc...)
- Sauces such as hoisin, sweet 'n' sour, stir fry sauces, teriyaki, any of which can be found in the grocery store's "international" aisle.
- Peanut, Vegetable, or Canola oil for frying
The most time consuming part of this whole process will be preparing the ingredients. The more you have, obviously the longer it will take to cut them all into bite-size form. Before you get started, know this; make sure the meat is sliced as thinly as possible. This helps it cook quicker. If using pork, I'd go with a tenderloin or roast as it will be easier to slice than a pork chop or pork steak. I should also note that I've never tried using any type of ground meat nor have I ever seen it on a Mongolian BBQ buffet. I'd steer clear of it. If they don't use it at the restaurant, there must be a good reason.
As for the vegetables, they can be sliced, chopped, or diced. The same cooking rule applies here as it does with the meat. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they cook, and the sooner you eat.
- Cut ingredients.
- Boil your noodles according to package directions and drain once cooked al dente
- Start choosing the ingredients for your first meal and put them in a bowl or on a plate*
- Top with your choices of sauce(s)
- Pour 1-2 tablespoons of oil into your wok or large skillet and kick the heat on your burner to medium-high heat. Give the oil time to get hot.
- Dump everything in the prep bowl into the skillet at once.
- Stir or toss frequently until meat is cooked through and vegetables are done to your liking.
*NOTE: To keep things sanitary and give you (or someone else) less dishes to clean, use one bowl or plate for building each meal since you will be dealing with raw meat. And this may sound obvious, but I don't want to take any chances, DON'T PUT THE COOKED FOOD BACK INTO THE BOWL THAT HAD RAW MEAT IN IT!
One more thing before I send you to the kitchen. I do suggest using hot water to rinse out the skillet along with the prep bowl/plate after each dinner is cooked to help keep one person's flavors from showing up in someone else's dinner. As I said before, my wife and I prefer to spice ours up a bit more and we don't want those flavors ending up in the kids' plates.
I hope you'll take some time to try this out on your own and if you have any recipe's you'd like to share, e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration in future blogs.