Have you ever wondered why the meat dishes served in Chinese restaurants are so silky and tender? That art is called velveting – it is a Chinese technique used in preserving the moisture of meat, and provides a velvety texture.
The technique of velveting meat is an often used but not really appreciated. It is known as the coating of meat with cornstarch, wine and salt. Sometimes some Chefs introduce soy sauce, ginger, garlic into the marinade. This technique is applied to raw meat, chicken, beef, pork, lamb. Velveting meat is as important in Chinese cuisine, as browning of meat is important to French cuisine, more likely, the meat you are eating in a Chinese restaurant has been velveted prior to deep-frying, stir-frying, steaming.
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The basic ingredients for velveting are cornstarch, egg white, rice wine, salt, and a bit of water, different recipes will call for additional ingredients such as ginger, garlic, sugar, soy sauce. Water is added to loosen the mixture.
An example of a velveted dish is the Beef in Black Bean Sauce, the velveted beef is stir-fried with shitake mushroom, garlic, ginger, carrot, bamboo shoot and then beef broth is added to it. It is classic, simple and a quickly prepared dish.