Who knew shaved beef could be turned into a sweet and savory Mongolian beef dish in minutes? Instead of cooking with scallions and white rice typical for Mongolian beef, here the meat is dusted in a dry rub of sweet and savory spices, marinated and seared in seconds, then tossed with my super easy-to-make Herby Tahini Sauce and noodles.

shaved seasoned sautéed beef on tahini noodles with green tahini sauce.

Honestly, I never thought of using shaved beef in a recipe until I noticed it at our local store. I thought about it and realized it would be great in homemade Asian hotpot meals or Pho (Vietnamese soup with beef) but wondered what it would be like to create a homestyle Chinese-type dish. It’s a brilliant cut of meat because all that surface area holds a lot of seasoning or marinade, and while slow-cooked beef is meant to fall apart, meat in stir fries and noodle dishes is meant to have more of a chew. In this rendition, I’ve gone less traditional. First I seasoned the beef with dry spices before marinating, then paired it with noodles dressed in a tahini sauce bursting with bright Vietnamese flavors.

What is Shaved Beef?

Shaved beef is made from various cuts of beef, that are very thinly sliced. It is sold pre-packaged and sealed, in the meat department of your grocer and I’ve also seen it prepackaged at Asian food markets specifically for hot pot, if you cannot find it at your local market. It cooks very quickly. You probably have heard of a Philly Cheese Steak. Shaved steak is used for those sandwiches, but it’s great in quick-cooking Asian dishes as well.

How to Cook Shaved Beef that is Tender and Delicious

  1. First, the shaved slices of beef are laid out on some parchment to sprinkle with all of the dried spices from my Asian Spice Blend. Don’t worry if you haven’t made the blend and/or don’t want to or can’t because you don’t have all of the ingredients. You can season with the ones you do have, such as garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper (black pepper is a key spice in Mongolian beef as well as other Asian meat dishes). A bit of sugar of some type is also key. Powdered ginger and sesame seeds complete the blend if you have them.
  2. The spiced beef is tossed in a simple marinade, for 30 minutes or overnight.
  3. The marinated beef is seared in a hot pan (cast iron is great, but stainless or non-stick works), for barely a minute per side. The use of coconut sugar (or other sugar) when spicing and marinating the beef is key in creating the signature Mongolian beef flavor and allows the beef to caramelize nicely when searing in the pan.

Above: 1. Shaved beef dusted/rubbed with spices. 2. Shaved beef in marinade. 3. Shaved marinated beef cooks in seconds in a saute pan.

Mediterranean Food Pyramid Ingredient Notes

  • Beef – In the Mediterranean regions, beef is not eaten as much as poultry, fish, seafood or plant-based proteins, but there’s a place for it in smaller amounts, featured at the top of the food pyramid.
  • Noodles – this recipe calls for Soba noodles which are made either from 100% buckwheat or a combination of buckwheat and wheat flour. I chose it for the whole grain ingredient with great flavor and a tender bite.
  • Herby Tahini Sauce – the seared tempeh and noodles are tossed in Sofa Dinners’ tahini sauce full of herbs to the point that it glows a lovely green color :).

Above: 1. Uncooked soba noodles often come in smaller bunches that serve two, so check the package. 2. cooked soba noodles. 3. Ideally drop the cooked noodles directly into the sauce with tongs.

Method + Timing

  • Prepare the beef – I recommend mixing the marinade, spicing the beef first to ensure the spices hit all the surfaces of the meat, and placing it in the marinade as a first step of this recipe, so it can marinate while you prepare the tahini sauce. Alternatively, toss and marinate the meat earlier in the day or a day or two ahead, for even more flavor, and to save time on the day you make the recipe.
  • Make the tahini sauce – After the meat is marinating, whiz up the Herby Tahini Sauce with Bright Vietnamese Flavors. Alternatively, this too can be prepared earlier in the day or a day or so ahead to make prep on the day you make the recipe incredibly fast (less than 30 minutes!).
  • Sear the beef – this happens in tandem with cooking the noodles. A bit of oil is heated in a saute pan over medium-high heat and the beef is laid in the pan and left to cook without disturbing for a couple of minutes, then flipped once you see the underside is golden (the soy and sugar in the marinade may even char a bit) for the other side to cook. Meanwhile, the pot of water is on the burner to boil.
  • Boil the noodles – This is the last step. I recommend using tongs to move the cooked noodles from the pot of boiling water directly into a bowl with all the tahini sauce so that a bit of the noodle water ends up in with the noodles and sauce. It just helps create a nice creamy texture.

Above: 1. Gently mix cooked noodles with sauce using tongs. 2. Add most of the cooked beef and toss with noodles and sauce using tongs. (save some to place on top).

Serving, Reheating, Substitutions

  • Serving – A simple toss and turn of the shaved beef, noodles, and sauce and this Mongolian shaved beef recipe is ready to eat. I like to save a few of the beef slices to go on top. The herbs/scallions in the sauce add plenty of nutrition but if you want more vegetables, you can add some to stir fry with the beef, once it’s been browned. In warmer weather, it works to rinse the noodles under cool water in a colander and toss with the sauce and cooked beef for a cold dish.
  • Reheating – I don’t recommend pan frying any leftovers, as the tahini tends to seize up (to many solids in it, so it sticks). A quick microwave or eating leftovers cold both work.
  • Substitutions – you can toss it with any other tahini sauce you prefer. If you don’t have soba, or do not like them, I find 100% whole grain thin spaghetti (I love the Barilla brand) is a great substitute for Asian noodle dishes that is full of nutrition. Using rice or brown rice traditionally used in many Asian dishes is certainly an option as well.
Mongolian shaved beef on top of noodles and green tahini sauce.

Above: Here I tossed noodles with less sauce, and added the rest of the sauce on top of the noodles, with beef on top of that. Nice way to taste the Herby Tahini Sauce more. Also, this photo shows whole-grain thin spaghetti as a substitute for soba noodles.

FAQs

What cut of meat is shaved beef?

Typically it is a nice cut, such as sirloin or Rib Eye (nicely marbled). I’ve also seen chuck roast sliced and rolled in Asian markets, specifically for hot pot meals.

What is the point of shaved beef?

The point of shaved beef/steak is be able to cook the meat very fast and it does not dry out. Maybe it originated more for hot pot meals.

Is shaved beef tough?

No, it is not tough, unless you were to overcook it.

Is shaved beef good-tasting?

Yes! The shaved pieces are well marbled, so the meat has good flavor and is not tough

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shaved seasoned sautéed beef on tahini noodles with green tahini sauce.

Quick Mongolian shaved beef recipe (with tahini noodles)

Prep Time30 minutes
Make the Herby Tahini Sauce: 10 minutes
Servings4
Calories617
Who knew shaved beef could be turned into a sweet and savory Mongolian beef dish in minutes? Instead of cooking with scallion and white rice typical for Mongolian beef, the beef here is dusted in a dry rub of sweet and savory spices and seared in seconds, then tossed with my super easy-to-make Herby Tahini Sauce and noodles.
Kitchen Tools
  • 1 3 qt soup pot
  • 1 saute pan

Ingredients
 

  • 16 oz. shaved beef (a.k.a. shaved steak) (tends to come in 10-12 oz prepacks-see notes)
  • 8 oz. soba noodles (see notes)
  • 1 recipe tahini sauce (takes less than 10 min) (Herby Tahini Sauce)
  • 1 tbsp Asian spices (see notes or use >) (Homemade Asian Spice Blend)
Beef Marinade
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil (plus a tad to sear)
  • 1 lime (juiced-see notes)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (if not using my Asian Spice Blend)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos (or low-sodium tamari)

Method:  

Season + Marinate Beef
  • Mix marinade ingredients (see notes about Asian spices).
  • Lay beef out on parchment or sheet pan and sprinkle with all of the dried spices and rub into meat evenly and thoroughly.
  • Place beef in marinade (including any dried spices that fall off of beef onto parchment) while you prepare below, or overnight.
Make the Herby Tahini Sauce
Sear Beef + Cook Noodles
  • Heat skillet on medium high with 2 tsp. sesame oil.
  • Lay slabs of beef in heated skillet and cook barely a minute or two, checking for seared doneness on underside. Flip to sear other side. Move to plate.
  • Cook noodles according to package directions.
  • Ideally, drain noodles and place directly into bowl of tahini sauce, or use tongs to move noodles directly into sauce from boiling water.
  • Toss noodles with tahini sauce and shaves of beef, reserving a few beef shaves to place on top of dish. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds. Consider an extra squirt of lime juice. Start slurping!

Notes

Soba Noodles: made from buckwheat flour, they are nutritious and have a great nutty flavor and tender texture. A great substitute is whole-grain thin spaghetti (I like the Barilla brand). You could use rice noodles or brown rice noodles too. 
Asian Spice Blend: if you don’t have or don’t make my Asian Spice Blend, you can reference my recipe for it and use what you can. The key elements are a bit of sugar to caramelize with the protein, garlic, onion, a bit of spice, and ginger. The mushroom powder adds a great umami flavor but is extra. No stress here. Use what you can.
Lime Juice: I’ve only used fresh lime juice and don’t recommend reconstituted lime juice. Rolling the lime on the counter, pressing firmly with your hand, helps to loosen the fruit inside and release the juice more easily when you cut and squeeze the lime.

Nutrition (an estimate)

Calories: 617kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 640mg | Potassium: 803mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 226mg | Iron: 7mg | Magnesium: 186mg | Net Carbohydrates: 62g
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