The best part of Indo-Chinese food is the added spice, addictive flavours, and the perfectly tender, bite-sized meat. Replicating these dishes in the kitchen might seem impossible, since this cuisine requires high levels of heat that tend to dry the meat out completely. However, the truth is a lot more pleasant. Not only is it possible to prepare restaurant style Chinese dishes right at home, but with a simple technique, it is also very easy. Chinese restaurants use a technique called velveting to keep the meat juicy and retain its consistency.
Meat velting involves marinating meat in a simple velveting marinade, which ensures that it maintains its juicy consistency even while being subject to intense heat.
Here are some tips that will help you velvet meat in a jiffy, and make your favourite Chinese dish right at home:
- Velveting Marinade:
Velveting works well with a marinade of egg white, wine, corn starch, sherry or rice wine. Using this marinade before cooking locks the moisture of the dish, preventing it from evaporating. A ratio of 2:1 parts cornstarch and water, with a tablespoon of Shaoxing wine and the other ingredients such as salt, pepper, and other ground spices is perfect for the marinade. Keep away from adding fresh aromatics like ginger or garlic as they burn up easily.
- Water Blanching:
The traditional method of velveting requires a lot of oil so an easier option was created called water blanching. It’s a lot healthier and works well for a quick velveting. Simply boil enough water to cover the meat and cook till the meat turns opaque. Marinate the meat with a little oil in the boiling water, to give it that oil blanched texture. Thoroughly drain the meat and cook to perfection.
Here’s a step by step guide to water velvet your meat, right at home:
- Beat an egg with a fork.
- Combine the egg with cornstarch, rice wine, and salt.
- Dry the meat well and pour the velveting marinade on top.
- Refrigerate the meat for 30 minutes in the marinade.
- Fill a large pot with water and boil with a teaspoon of oil, and add the meat. Cook for 30 to 40 seconds, after breaking apart the meat into smaller pieces inside the water.
- Remove the meat with a strainer when the water turns opaque. Dry completely.
That’s it! Your meat is now ready to face the heat, as you make the rest of your dish.
Although velveting may seem like a tedious process, it’s the quickest way to get out of eating rubbery, bland meat while cooking your favorite Chinese food. And remember, techniques like these will likely work better with the freshest meat possible, which is readily available on Brown Apron. Now order fresh, cut to order meat on the Brown Apron app, the online meat store, and start planning your next feast.