I recently tried a recipe for Mongolian BBQ that I found online. The sauce consists of garlic, ginger, water, soy sauce, cornstarch, and the main ingredient is 2/3 cup of brown sugar. While it tasted good, I was wondering what I could add to offset the sweetness, perhaps giving it a bit of heat?

The garlic and ginger are first sauteed in vegetable oil before the other ingredients are added. Would using hot chili oil instead of vegetable oil give it any heat?

What other ideas would you recommend?

  • 2
    just use less sugar and if not thick enough you can add a bit more cornstarch at the end (but do this to taste, you may not need it) Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 0:13

1 Answer 1


American versions of Mongolian BBQ are often pretty sweet (this doesn't sound like an authentic recipe). More soy sauce (or more of everything but the sugar) would cut the sweetness. Chili oil would certainly give it heat, but isn't going to temper the sweetness much. Any of the following would offset the sweetness and be appropriate for this type of dish:

  • Any tart apple (a common ingredient in the Japanese version of Mongolian BBQ)
  • Onions (not caramelized)
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • 100% this. Go more authentic for a more satisfying experience. Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 16:14

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