Are you a fan of Chinese takeout? Do you often find yourself ordering Mongolian beef?
While it may be a delicious and satisfying meal, you may be wondering if it’s actually healthy. With its savory and sweet sauce, tender strips of beef, and crispy vegetables, Mongolian beef is a popular dish that can be found in many Chinese restaurants.
But is it a nutritious choice? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the ingredients and nutritional value of Mongolian beef to determine whether it’s a healthy option for your next meal.
So, let’s dive in and find out!
Is Chinese Mongolian Beef Healthy?
When it comes to Chinese takeout, Mongolian beef is a popular choice for many. However, the question remains: is it a healthy option?
First, let’s take a look at the ingredients. Mongolian beef typically consists of thin strips of beef that are coated in cornstarch and cooked in a sweet and tangy soy sauce. The dish is often garnished with scallions and served with rice or noodles.
While the beef itself is a good source of protein, the sauce can be high in sodium and sugar. Additionally, the cornstarch used to coat the beef adds extra calories and carbohydrates.
However, there are ways to make Mongolian beef healthier. For example, using leaner cuts of beef and reducing the amount of sauce can help cut down on calories and sodium. Adding more vegetables, such as bell peppers or broccoli, can also increase the nutritional value of the dish.
It’s important to note that not all Mongolian beef dishes are created equal. Some restaurants may use more or less sauce, or add additional ingredients such as MSG. It’s always a good idea to ask about the ingredients and nutritional information before ordering.
What Is Mongolian Beef?
Mongolian beef is a Chinese-American dish that typically consists of thin slices of beef that are coated in cornstarch and stir-fried with a sweet and savory sauce. The sauce is usually made with soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and sometimes chili flakes for a slight kick. The dish is often garnished with scallions and served with rice or noodles.
While the origins of the dish are unclear, it is believed to have been created by Chinese immigrants in the United States in the early 20th century. Despite its name, Mongolian beef is not a traditional Mongolian dish and does not have any direct ties to Mongolia.
Mongolian beef has become a popular choice for Chinese takeout and can be found on many restaurant menus across the country. However, as mentioned earlier, it can be high in sodium and sugar due to the sauce and cornstarch coating. Making healthier ingredient choices and being mindful of portion sizes can help make Mongolian beef a healthier option.
Ingredients In Mongolian Beef
Mongolian beef is a simple dish that requires only a few ingredients. The main ingredient is thinly sliced beef, usually flank or skirt steak, which is coated in cornstarch before being cooked. Soy sauce is a staple in the sauce and adds a kick, while dark brown sugar enhances the flavor. Garlic and fresh ginger add aroma and depth to the dish, while green onions or scallions add flavor and color. Red pepper flakes are an optional ingredient that provide a spicy kick, while sesame seeds can be added for a hint of nuttiness and beauty.
It’s important to note that some ingredients in Mongolian beef can be high in sodium and sugar. Cornstarch, used to thicken the sauce, adds extra calories and carbohydrates. However, there are ways to make Mongolian beef healthier, such as using leaner cuts of beef and reducing the amount of sauce. Additionally, using non-GMO cornstarch or tapioca flour can be a healthier alternative for thickening the sauce. Overall, Mongolian beef can be a delicious and satisfying meal when made with healthier ingredient choices.
Nutritional Value Of Mongolian Beef
One serving of Mongolian Beef typically contains around 240-770 calories, depending on the restaurant and specific recipe. The dish is a good source of protein, with around 25g per serving. However, it can also be high in fat and carbohydrates, with some versions containing up to 42g of fat and 39g of carbohydrates.
It’s important to note that the nutritional value of Mongolian beef can vary greatly depending on the ingredients and preparation methods used. For example, using leaner cuts of beef and reducing the amount of sauce can help make the dish healthier. Additionally, adding more vegetables can increase the fiber and nutrient content.
Health Benefits And Drawbacks Of Mongolian Beef
Mongolian beef does have some health benefits. For one, it is a good source of protein, with 27% of the beef being protein. Protein is essential for cell formation and repair, making Mongolian beef a great option for those looking to maintain or build muscle mass.
Mongolian beef also contains various minerals such as iron, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus which are important for maintaining body functions and promoting growth. The iron content in Mongolian beef can be especially beneficial for those with anemia, a health problem caused by a lack of iron in the blood.
However, Mongolian beef can also have some drawbacks. It is relatively high in carbohydrates, with 4.64g net carbs per 100g serving. This makes it a less ideal option for those on a low-carb or ketogenic diet.
Additionally, the sauce used in Mongolian beef dishes can be high in sodium and sugar, which can be problematic for those with high blood pressure or diabetes. The cornstarch used to coat the beef also adds extra calories and carbohydrates to the dish.
How To Make A Healthier Version Of Mongolian Beef At Home
If you’re looking to enjoy Mongolian beef in a healthier way, making it at home is a great option. Here’s how to make a lighter version of this classic dish:
– 1 pound flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
– 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
– 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
– 1 tablespoon honey
– 1 tablespoon grated ginger
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
– 4 scallions, thinly sliced
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and soy sauce until smooth. Add the sliced beef and toss to coat.
2. In another small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, and garlic.
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the beef and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sauce to the skillet. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened and coated the beef.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced scallions.
6. Serve over brown rice or quinoa, and enjoy!
By using leaner cuts of beef and reducing the amount of sauce used, this homemade version of Mongolian beef is much healthier than what you might find at a restaurant. Plus, you can adjust the ingredients to your liking and add more vegetables for extra nutrition.
Alternatives To Mongolian Beef For A Healthier Chinese Takeout Option
If you’re looking for a healthier Chinese takeout option, there are plenty of alternatives to Mongolian beef. One great option is chicken and broccoli. Like beef and broccoli, this dish is packed with protein and vegetables, but with less saturated fat than beef.
Another option is shrimp stir-fry. Shrimp is already low in calories and fat, making it a great starting point for a healthy meal. Pair it with plenty of vegetables and a garlic sauce for added flavor without the added sugar and sodium of other sauces.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, try tofu and vegetable stir-fry. Tofu is a great source of plant-based protein and can be seasoned to add plenty of flavor to the dish. Add in plenty of colorful vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and snow peas for added nutrition.
Finally, if you’re craving something spicy, try szechuan pepper chicken instead of Mongolian beef. This dish is packed with flavor and spice, but with less sugar and sodium than some other spicy Chinese dishes.
No matter what dish you choose, be sure to ask about the ingredients and nutritional information before ordering. And remember, adding plenty of vegetables to your meal is always a great way to boost nutrition and make your Chinese takeout meal healthier.