The Asian velveting cooking technique is super easy and gives delicious results. A well-known ‘secret’ in Asian cooking, it’s your weapon!
Asian Velveting Cooking Technique
Using this technique with your meats will result in juicy silky slices or pieces of meat in your stir-fry!
Using cornstarch will create a silky texture for the meat. If you don’t have cornstarch, then tapioca starch works fine.
You can use this technique on pork, chicken or beef. And, why not try it on lamb!
Science of Velveting Meat
Velveting meat in Asian cuisine is similar to the French browning meat.
Yes, the meat you use, whether chicken, shrimp, pork or beef, can be tender, it’s not nearly as tender as when you’ve velveted it first.
And, the simple science of velveting meat will be your secret weapon!
Velveting Meat with Cornstarch
There is power in the cornstarch. Actually, cornstarch is a foundational block in Asian cuisine and in this velveting technique.
This basic, albeit elegant skill, occurs without any fireworks or fanfare. The ingredients are basic. The steps are easy. The results are delicious.
Velveting means basically coating and marinating your pieces of meat. The meat can be thinly sliced or cut into bite size pieces.
There’s a mixture of the essential ingredients, and, in this case, egg white, cornstarch, mirin, and salt.
Some recipes might call for oyster sauce, pepper, soy sauce. But, this recipe is the genius of my friend Gideon who lived in Asia for 15 years and who himself is a fabulous chef!
Some recipes for velveting call for baking soda. But, we’re using an egg white.
Egg whites are a natural alkaline ingredient that can help tenderize meats. Some recipes use baking soda. We’re doing the egg white because it’s Gideon’s way!
Velveting Pork with Cornstarch
Basically the cornstarch helps to keep the fibers of the meat from getting tough and tight.
You’ll massage the mixture into the meat with your hands until all the moisture is absorbed by the meat. Sometimes it doesn’t look like a enough marinade, but it will be a suitable amount for one to 1.5 pounds of thinly sliced pork.
Velveting Pork for Sweet and Sour
Once the meat has been massaged and velveted, you’ll refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. However, you can let the meat sit (covered) in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
It’s kind of amazing how this really UNcomplicated procedure helps the overall texture, taste, flavor and tenderness of the meat. You have some simple ingredients that comprise the mixture. This mixture essentially tenderizes the meat creating a barrier between the meat and the heat used in cooking. And, as a bonus, the coating allows the sauce you put on the meat after cooked to adhere so much better!
- 1.5 lbs. pork chops, boneless skinless, sliced thinly for stir fry
- 1 egg, white only
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp. mirin, can substitute rice vinegar
- 3 Tbl. toasted sesame oil
- 1 large zip lock bag
- 6 cups assortment of fresh or frozen vegetables
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and cornstarch into a smooth mixture. Add the salt and mirin and blend.
- Add the meat and coat all pieces well. Place in a zip lock bag. Refrigerate for about two hours before using in a stir fry.
- While the meat is marinading, heat a large heavy skillet on medium high. Add the oil and vegetables, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are al dente.
- Remove to a plate. When the meat is ready to cook, turn heat to medium high. Use the same skillet (veggies were cooked in with residue of oil from veggies), add the meat.
- Stir and blend cooking for about 10 minutes or until pork has cooked. Reduce heat to medium low. Add the veggies back to the skillet. Blend.
- Cover and let this steam about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.