Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WW: Velvet Chicken and Asparagus

Wok Wednesdays wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young

This recipe takes a little bit of advance planning before you can start the actual stir-frying; the asparagus needs to be blanched and the chicken marinated (not for adding flavor, but to create tenderness) thirty minutes prior to cooking - a process called velveting.

If like me, you fail to read the recipe beforehand, you can still get this on the table in a reasonable amount of time - oh the joys of stir-frying!

Chicken breast can and usually turn out dry, no matter how you cook it - until now. To velvet chicken (or other meats/fish) you combine it with some egg white, cornstarch, rice wine, salt and oil. Chill for thirty minutes then give it a quick blanching in some water that oil has been added to. The result after stir-frying is amazing; tender, soft and silky smooth.

I only wish I could use this technique with chicken that I plan on barbecuing. It is not advised to "brown" the meat you have velveted - I'm not real clear as to why not. It has something to do with overcooking the velveting ingredients themselves.

Once again, we have another successful recipe from the book Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge (a must have!).

Success meter (1-3): 3

 The chicken in the "marinade".

Asparagus is blanched and dried. With stir-frying you want to make sure your ingredients are dry as possible to avoid hot oil splatters and the braising of your dish. I find using a salad spinner works well at getting the water off of the vegetables.

 You can almost see the silky smoothness the chicken has obtained after marinating.

Trust me - you'll get past the eating of "white" (not browned) chicken with the first bite. The velveted chicken is sublime.

A career in food styling is not in my future...

One of the rules of the Wok Wednesdays group is we are asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 128 in Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed. 

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  1. Your photos look great! Who knew that "velvet" could be used as a verb? =)

  2. You can't go wrong when a dish includes velvet chicken!

  3. I was surprised at how soft the chicken became with the velveting technique. I did wish the dish had more punch to it. It was a little bland for me. BTW, I think your photos look great!


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