Food

Velveting: The trick to making restaurant-quality stir-fry

By: Canadian Living
Canadian Living
Food

Velveting: The trick to making restaurant-quality stir-fry

By: Canadian Living
Have you ever noticed that stir-fry from restaurants has meat that is extra tender and silky, compared to the stir-fry you make at home? Well, there's a trick for that! The secret is "velveting" the meat. All that means is to mix in some cornstarch and a bit of egg (or, just the white or yolk), a little water and a few flavourings into the sliced meat before you stir-fry it. Velveting meat This does multiple things:
  • gives it an imperceptible layer of, for lack of a better word, "batter" that insulates the meat and makes it more tender in your mouth
  • adds a layer of silkiness around the meat that you will recognize from Chinese food as soon as you try it
  • helps to thicken any sauce you add to the mixture along the way
  • and adds flavour
  The "flavourings" I mentioned above are up to you. Minced ginger, rice wine or dry sherry, salt, sugar, minced garlic, hot peppers, ground white pepper, soy sauce, Chinese five spice, sesame oil... the list goes on and on. The "velveting" acts as a vehicle for these aromatics and helps to distribute them evenly among the slices of meat. Try these delicious recipes using the velveting method: Beef and Oyster Mushroom in Oyster Sauce Chinese Lemon Honey Chicken Sweet-and-Sour Pineapple Chicken Pork and Rainbow Vegetable Stir-Fry Pro Tip: Remember to also stir-fry your meat in  small batches so that it actually fries and doesn't just steam/boil in the pan. A pound of sliced meat will require two to three batches of browning. Seems fussy, but actually, the meat cooks really efficiently this way and the result is much nicer. Photography: Annabelle Waugh
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Velveting: The trick to making restaurant-quality stir-fry

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