How To Velvet Chicken for Restaurant-Quality Stir-Fry at Home

Next-level stir-fry coming right up!

Ever wondered how the meat from your Chinese takeout tastes so moist and tender? It's all down to a simple cooking technique called velveting. You can use this process with any kind of meat, and it will ensure succulent and tender results every time. It's a technique you can easily master at home, and will change the way you make stir-fry recipes.

What is velveting?

Velveting meat is essentially a process where you coat the meat in egg white, rice wine vinegar, corn starch, and salt and leave to marinate for about 30 minutes before cooking. The meat is then briefly cooked in a mixture of boiling water and oil, then strained and dried before stir-frying.

How does velveting make stir-fries better?

The method works by locking in the juices and keeps the meat moist when you cook it over a high heat. It is a little more work, but the combination of the marinade and the quick blanching in hot water ensures moist and succulent meat.

How to velvet meats for stir-frying:

For one pound of sliced meat (chicken, beef, or pork):

  1. Whisk together one egg white, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add the meat and stir to coat. Cover and marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. Bring water and oil to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium.
  3. Strain away the marinade and discard. Add chicken pieces to the pot and boil until the chicken is white on the outside but still raw in the middle.
  4. Strain off excess liquid and proceed with your stir-fry recipe, or store meat in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few hours until ready to use.

Stir-Fry Recipes to Try

Try the technique on these Asian stir-fry recipes where velveting would enhance the flavor and texture:

This velveting technique works with any type of meat. Here is a recipe that uses chicken: Velveting Chicken Breast, Chinese Restaurant-Style

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Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry with Chicken and Broccoli
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