Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I’m always very keen on chicken dishes at Chinese restaurants, because the chicken is always especially tender and moist, thanks to the Chinese technique of “velveting”, which makes the chicken so sublime.
You can make a batch of velvet chicken beforehand, and then when you finally prepare the stir-fry, the chicken is ready to go. Velveting prevents the chicken from overcooking and gives it a smooth satiny texture. You cook everything else and then add the velveted chicken near the end.  The heat of the food heats the velveted chicken gently. It is a wonderful preparation for boneless, skinless chicken.
I remember making a batch of Jambalaya with smoked sausage, ham and velveted chicken for some friends and the comments were specifically about how splendid the chicken was and nothing else, telling me that velveting is indeed an important cookery tool.
Use the velveting technique and you will want chicken more often. Velveting is not difficult, try it once and you’ll use it often.

Velvet chicken
1.     Have a large bowl of ice-water ready.
  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to boiling in a large saucepan.

  1. 2 lbs of raw chicken skinned and boned or use 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts. Cut into dice.
  2. Pinch of salt
  3. 1-teaspoon soy sauce *
  4. 1 egg white
  5. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Mix all the ingredients except ice water and boiling water together in a bowl and stir to coat the poultry.  Put the chicken mixture in the boiling water, it will be stuck together at first; stir gently to separate.
When the water returns to boiling, remove from heat and let sit for only one minute.
Drain the meat and put into the ice water to cool, and then remove chicken from the ice water and drain it dry. Refrigerate if not using right away.
When making a chicken stir-fry, add the chicken last, the heat will warm up the cooked chicken.  Never again will you be subjected to the misery of hard, dry chicken from frying raw boneless, skinless chicken.  Using the velvet chicken technique improves any dish it is used in.

* Omit the soy sauce when using chicken in non-Asian recipes.


The Book Gatherer said...

I've just popped across from the A-Z Blogging Challenge, and glad I did! Yum... your recipes look devine!

Michelle M. said...

I've never heard of this, but I'm writing it down so I can try it. Sounds easy and makes me want some chicken right now.


kathy stemke said...

It is delious!! The chicken is soooo tender and yummy.

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