Did You Know? Secrets to thin and tender chicken for stir fry

14 Dec

This is my first “Did You Know?” post (of hopefully many more), where I’ll write about a cooking tip or technique.

Today it’ll be secrets to making chicken stir fry at home that mimics that from Chinese takeout restaurants.  Not that saucy crispy stuff, but the very thin and tender chicken in vegetable stir fries, that looks like this:

Image from Here

The Tips:

1.  To slice the chicken very thin, slice it when it’s semi-frozen.  This makes it significantly easier to cut it very thin because it isn’t squishing beneath your knife (also – a very sharp knife makes this MUCH easier).

2. Slice the meat against the grain.  With chicken, this is cutting it the short way, not the long way (the width of the meat, not the length) – so you end up with oval shaped pieces, not long strips.

3. Velveting the meat.  This is official name for the Chinese cooking technique, and it’s great for both chicken and shrimp!  It’s very easy and definitely worth the extra step.  Whisk together:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

plus an optional teaspoon or so of soy sauce, if you so desire.  Toss the sliced chicken (or shrimp) with the mixture and let sit 30 minutes in the fridge.  Drain off any excess liquid before stir frying.  This coating will, as the name implies, give the chicken a nice velvety texture.  But to taste the difference, also make sure you….

4. Don’t overcook it!  Get your wok (or large skillet) very hot, add the oil, place the meat in the pan and cook until just opaque.   Take it out and set it aside while you cook the rest of the ingredients (vegetables and sauce), then add the chicken in at the last minute to coat and warm through.

These simple tips will really help transform your ho-hum stir fry to something extra delicious.  Stir fry is my go-to meal – I make it at least once every two weeks – so expect more stir fry recipes on the way soon!

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