So every year my lovely and talented friend Tasha throws a Mongolian BBQ for her boyfriend Mike on his birthday. The party is always a hit and every year it gets bigger and bigger. Let me preface this instruction with the notion that this party takes a lot of prep! I only help dice and slice and my hands still smell like garlic. But the result is always amazing. You can base the amount of food you prep depending on the number of party goers. I would suggest starting small, a dozen or so people and work your way up to Tasha and Mike’s level of 50-100. Here’s what you’ll need:
- An outdoor wok or a grill with a flat tray to grill up your food
- A meat slicer – otherwise you’ll be doing it all by hand
- Disposable bowls for raw ingredients
- Bowls for finished product
- Clothespins for identifying whose bowl is whose
- Utensils for cooking and eating including chopsticks for fun
Sauces: Make as many as you can for diverse tastes. Garlic water is always the biggest hit so make plenty. Add boiling water or chicken broth to ingredients to bring out the most flavor and let cool. Water is what makes the food cook quickly and evenly. So be sure to have plenty of flavored water on hand. Here are some of the ones Tasha offered.
- Garlic Water
- Garlic Lemon
- Sweet and Sour
- Hoisin Wasabi
- Mushroom and Eggplant
- Ginger and Black Pepper
- Hot Pepper
- Soy Sauce
- Sugar water
Meats and Noodles: Slicing can be done days in advance and frozen until the day of the party. Soba noodles can be cooked the night before and left in a drizzle of sesame oil to keep them from sticking together.
- Sliced Beef
- Slice Chicken
- Sliced Pork
- Large Shrimp
- Diced Tofu
- Soba Noodles
Vegetables: Be sure to dice in similar sizes so that the food cooks evenly. Include anything you would enjoy in a stir fry type meal. Some of these can done the day before but most are best when done the day of the party.
- Bok Choy
- Napa Cabbage
- Red Cabbage
- Green Beans
- Water Chestnuts
- Pea Pods
- Bean Sprouts
- Green peas
- Baby Corn
- Bamboo Shoots
- Sesame seeds
Guest Prep: Making signs with instructions is the easiest way to let guests know how the process works. We got inventive with our list:
Be sure your wok or grill is nice and hot before you begin. Here in Florida, the chef gets pretty warm in the outdoor kitchen so be sure to keep the cold beverages coming. It’s best to have 2 chefs so one can cover for the other so everyone can enjoy the party. It also helps to have a sous chef of sorts to help keep bowls in the order they were turned in.
Bowls cook really quickly. Add oil to the wok before adding a bowl. Constantly stir to get an even cook on all pieces. Be sure to cook chicken and pork thoroughly. Beware of any guests with allergies. We couldn’t do shrimp or pineapple for this reason. Be sure to clean your wok with water occasionally to get out old pieces of food that may burn and effect future bowls. Also clean after your friend who likes things spicy has theirs done. You don’t want a 5 year old getting residual heat in their bowl.
A constant stream of bowls will be coming in so it’s best to have the prep chef not be the same as the chef that cooks the bowls. Because, well… exhaustion. Be sure to have a pitcher of plain water on hand for guests who didn’t add enough liquid to their bowl. Bowl should be filled to the brim with water after meats and veggies are added.
And this is me, a happy girl with a bowl of Mongolian! Enjoy your Mongolian Barbeque!