Now that you’ve made homemade seitan, it’s time to do something fancy with it! This Mongolian Seitan is my version of vegan Mongolian beef, made by tossing crispy pan-fried seitan in a sweet and slightly spicy Asian-inspired sauce.
Just like with my General Tso’s chickpeas, kung pao chickpeas, and vegan drunken noodles, the origin for Mongolian seitan is not authentic Asian cuisine, but the Americanized version of it. Us Americans tend to make recipes sweeter, less spicy, and a little more bland when they arrive over here. Usually when adapting those adaptations to be vegan I also reduce the sugar, switch to less refined coconut sugar, add more aromatics to the sauce, and reduce the cornstarch and oil. This time is no exception.
Vegan Mongolian beef is made by pan-frying pieces of seitan until they’re lightly crisped, and then simmering them in a sticky, sweet and spicy sauce. I add a pinch of Chinese five spice to mine – I noticed that Gardein was using it in their meatless szechuan beef, which is a guilty pleasure of mine.
Some recipes for Mongolian seitan/etc. use hoisin sauce, but I didn’t have that on hand so I built up the flavors from scratch. Even despite this, the recipe comes together very quickly. I made it on the saucy side so that I could steam some extra veggies to toss together with the mock beef.
If Asian-inspired recipes aren’t your cup of tea, don’t worry – I have more seitan recipes coming soon too! Hope you enjoy!
Mongolian Seitan (Vegan Mongolian Beef)
Pan-fried seitan pieces are tossed in a sweet garlic ginger soy sauce to make this meatless Mongolian beef.
For the Mongolian beef-less sauce:
- 2 tsp vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
- 1/2 tsp minced or grated ginger
- 3 cloves minced or grated garlic
- 1/3 tsp Chinese five spice (optional)
- 1/3 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (see note)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut sugar (or use a scant 1/2 cup brown sugar)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp cold water
For the crisped seitan:
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- sliced scallions (optional)
To make the sauce:
Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic; stir constantly. After 30 seconds, add the five spice (if using) and red pepper flakes, and cook for 30-60 seconds more, until fragrant.
Add the soy sauce and coconut sugar and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer until the coconut sugar is dissolved and slightly reduced, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Whisk together the cornstarch and cold water, then add it to the pan and stir. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the sauce becomes glossy and thickened slightly. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and keep simmering gently until ready to add to the seitan.
To make the seitan and finish the vegan Mongolian beef:
In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the seitan and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4-5 minutes or until slightly browned and crisped around the edges.
Reduce the heat to low and add the sauce to the pan. Stir to coat all of the seitan pieces, and continue cooking until the sauce has adhered to the seitan. Remove from the heat and serve hot, with rice and/or vegetables of choice, and garnished with sesame seeds and scallions if desired.
LOW-SODIUM SOY SAUCE: I strongly recommend against using full-sodium soy sauce. The sauce will be too salty. If you can't get low-sodium soy sauce then dilute 1/4 of the soy sauce with water.
CRISPY-NESS: With this method of browning the seitan, the end result after adding the sauce isn't super crispy. I also tested this recipe with tossing the seitan in about 1/4 cup cornstarch before frying it, and the result got and stayed more crispy but also required more oil and worked best in a non-stick pan. Give it a try if you'd like!
Adapted from PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef.