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  • Writer's pictureKevin Dam

"Mastering the Art of Velveting: The Key to Tender and Juicy Meat"

Velveting is a Chinese cooking technique used to tenderize and protect delicate proteins like chicken, pork, fish, and even tofu before stir-frying or other quick cooking methods. Here's how and why it works:


Why Velveting?

There are two main reasons to use velveting:

  • Tenderizing:  Marinating in a mixture with alkaline ingredients (often egg white, cornstarch, and sometimes baking soda) helps raise the pH of the meat slightly, which breaks down some muscle fibers, making the meat more tender and juicy. This is especially beneficial for cheaper cuts that can be tougher.

  • Protection:  The coating created by the marinade helps prevent the meat from drying out during high-heat cooking methods like stir-frying. It creates a kind of barrier that locks in moisture and keeps the meat silky smooth.

How to Velvet:

  1. Marinate:  Thinly sliced meat is coated in a mixture of ingredients like egg white, cornstarch, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (or another cooking wine), and sometimes sesame oil. This marinade can sit for 15-30 minutes.

  2. Blanch (Optional):  Traditionally, the meat is then quickly blanched in hot oil (around 300°F/150°C) for a few seconds. This helps cook the outside slightly and further tenderize the meat. However, some methods skip this step for a healthier approach.

  3. Stir-fry:  The velveted meat is then ready to be stir-fried or cooked in another quick method. It will cook very quickly due to the thin slices and pre-cooking (if blanched).

Tips:

  • Use very thin slices of meat for best results.

  • Don't overcook the velveted meat during stir-frying, or it will become tough.

  • You can use water-velveting, where you blanch the meat in hot water instead of oil, for a healthier option.

By velveting your protein, you'll end up with a restaurant-quality stir-fry that's incredibly tender, juicy, and packed with flavor.




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