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Water Velveting -- The Secret to Tender and Moist Stir Fried Meat

 
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Water Velveting (The Chinese restaurant secret to tender stir fried meat)

1) Beat an egg white and a tablespoon or two of vinegar in a bowl with a little corn starch (Increase proportions if you are doing a lot of meat, obviously)
2) Slice meat of choice (chicken/pork/beef) into strips or pieces.
3) Mix the meat and egg white/vinegar mixture and cover with plastic -- let it sit for 30 minutes or so.  
4) Bring a pot of water to a boil. When it is boiling rapidly blanch the meat for a minute or two. You only want to cook the outside, not cook it all the way through.
5) Stir fry the meat in a hot skillet until cooked/brown as usual.

The egg white mixture acts as a meat tenderizer and blanching it seals in the moisture. The result is tender stir fried meat for your dishes. Since discovering this trick I use it every time I make stir fry now. Yes it takes an extra 5 minutes but it is so worth it.

Some sources say you can get a similar result using baking soda and water. Those sources lie!!! I tried it once with chicken and it came out horrid, the texture and flavor of the meat was not good at all.

Here is an article on water velveting if you want to read more: https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/07/chinese-velveting-101-introduction-water-velveting.html
 
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I would guess you could do the soak and blanching well ahead of time, then store the partially cooked meat in the fridge until it's time to throw dinner together.  

(Of course, you'd have to make sure nobody snacked on the partially cooked meat, at least if it's grocery store chicken or turkey, which is pretty much guaranteed to have pathogens in it.)
 
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Adding to the guesswork here, I bet that cornstarch coating both helps any seasoning stick to the meat and thickens any sauces used in the final fry.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Julia Winter wrote:I would guess you could do the soak and blanching well ahead of time, then store the partially cooked meat in the fridge until it's time to throw dinner together.  

(Of course, you'd have to make sure nobody snacked on the partially cooked meat, at least if it's grocery store chicken or turkey, which is pretty much guaranteed to have pathogens in it.)



Yeah you probably can blanch it ahead of time, I haven't tried that yet.

I also found a super easy sweet and sour sauce recipe for pork or chicken. The sauce ingredients are basics that most everyone has in their kitchen cabinet.

Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe:
   1 tbsp cornstarch
   1/4 cup water
   1/2 cup cider vinegar
   1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
   1/4 cup ketchup
   1 tbsp soy sauce

Mix ingredients and bring to boil on stove, then cool so it thickens.

I usually just use regular white distilled vinegar and white sugar (because that is what's on hand) and it tastes just like the Chinese restaurant sauce to me. Only difference is it has a dark red color (without food coloring).
 
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