How to Prepare Velvet Chicken for Asian Stir Fries

Chinese chicken stir-fry
Haoliang Getty Images
  • 4 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins,
  • Cook: 1 mins
  • Yield: 1 pound (Serves 6 - 8)
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“Velveting” is a Chinese cooking technique often used in stir-fry recipes. The technique can be used with any type of meat to lock in juices and keep the meat moist.

The “Velvet” technique is usually used with chicken breast because chicken breast contains less fat than other kinds of meat. So if you velvet the chicken breast, the technique can lock in the juices of the chicken breast and after it has cooked the breast will still taste moist, juicy and full of flavor.

The most common “velveting” techniques involves coating or marinating poultry or meat for stir-fries with egg white and corn flour or cornstarch. In Asia, many cooks marinate meat or poultry for stir-fries with soy sauce and “potato starch” or “sweet potato starch” before stir-frying or deep frying.

You can marinate/velvet the meat or chicken a day before you want to cook it. After preparing the egg white mixture and coating the chicken cubes, store the chicken in a sealed container in a refrigerator until ready to use. Otherwise, you can also store the velveted chicken or meat in the freezer bags and store them in a freezer. You can defrost them before you want to cook it. This way can help you plan ahead and get organized with your weekly dinner. Velveting is an ideal way to prepare chicken for such popular dishes as Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli ChickenGeneral Tso’s Chicken, or Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork.

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups vegetable or peanut oil

How to Make It

  1. Chop the chicken into 3/4 – 1-inch cubes. In a bowl, stir together the egg white and corn flour.
  2. Add the egg white mixture to the chicken cubes, tossing or using your finger to coat the chicken in the mixture. Marinate the chicken in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Lay out paper towels or get a colander ready to drain the chicken after cooking. Heat 2 cups oil in a preheated wok until the oil reach 180c. You can taste the heat by placing a piece of chicken in the wok; it should float immediately. Add the chicken cubes, and let cook until they just turn white, this will take about 30 seconds.  Using a wooden spoon or chopsticks to gently separate them. Quickly remove the chicken cubes from the wok as soon as they turn white, and drain in a colander or on paper towels.
  1. Finish cooking the velveted chicken by stir-frying with the vegetables, tossing and stirring to make sure the chicken is cooked through.