Next-level stir-fry coming right up!

By Vicky McDonald
Updated February 26, 2020
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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

Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry with Chicken and Broccoli: Garlic, crushed red pepper, and chili paste add heat; the hoisin sauce and ginger sweeten the deal. Great served over jasmine rice!

Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry with Chicken and Broccoli
Credit: Allrecipes Magazine

Quick Beef Stir-Fry: "Quick and easy," says inesgosner. "I make this on my busiest weeknights."

beef stir fry with vegetables
Credit: naples34102

Pork Lo Mein: "I was inspired by another recipe that I changed to add more vegetables, ginger, and sesame oil," says Kendra.

Pork Lo Mein
Credit: linda2d

VIDEO: Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken: This quick-and-easy sweet-and-sour chicken is on the table in 30 minutes. See how it's done:

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