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Old 02-08-2015, 07:35 AM   #1
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"Velvet" Chicken

I had noticed for years that many Chinese restaurants offered their chicken pieces in dishes that actually were a bit rubbery and slippery.

I googled this and that and found there was a particular method used for chicken - called 'velveting' chicken. Paradoxically this process should bring about tender chicken - hardly rubbery or slippery - so I had not answered my own question.

Anyhow I tried it a few months go and it produced something OK - but nothing that special IMO.

Last evening I thought I'd try again. I had some 'orange section'-size pieces of chicken fillet.

I used corn starch, egg white, salt - and then I recalled sherry vinegar in the original recipe - I couldn't find my bottle so used some apple cider vinegar.

I put the mixture in fridge to marinate - then used Panko and shallow-fried.

The rsult was an AMAZINGLY tender chicken - no lingering taste of the vinegar.

(The only problem I had was the Panko not sticking as well as I'd have liked - even though I had added the yolks from the eggs before putting into the Panko.

Anyone have any idea of what I actually did? (Defintely will re-do)

++

And, of course, I'm still wondering how many Chinese restaurants manage to make these rubbery, slippery pieces of chicken.

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Old 02-08-2015, 07:56 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Coates View Post
I had noticed for years that many Chinese restaurants offered their chicken pieces in dishes that actually were a bit rubbery and slippery.

I googled this and that and found there was a particular method used for chicken - called 'velveting' chicken. Paradoxically this process should bring about tender chicken - hardly rubbery or slippery - so I had not answered my own question.

Anyhow I tried it a few months go and it produced something OK - but nothing that special IMO.

Last evening I thought I'd try again. I had some 'orange section'-size pieces of chicken fillet.

I used corn starch, egg white, salt - and then I recalled sherry vinegar in the original recipe - I couldn't find my bottle so used some apple cider vinegar.

I put the mixture in fridge to marinate - then used Panko and shallow-fried.

The rsult was an AMAZINGLY tender chicken - no lingering taste of the vinegar.

(The only problem I had was the Panko not sticking as well as I'd have liked - even though I had added the yolks from the eggs before putting into the Panko.

Anyone have any idea of what I actually did? (Defintely will re-do)

++

And, of course, I'm still wondering how many Chinese restaurants manage to make these rubbery, slippery pieces of chicken.
Velveting chicken is a bit misleading. What makes the chicken, or pork tender is that it is cooked, or poached, either in low temperature oil, or water. In oil, the temp should be no greater than about 330' F., in water, the liquid must be less than simmering, about 180' F.

I don't use egg in my marinade, I simply use soy sauce, water, some kind of acid (vinegar or an acidic fruit juice), and cornstarch to make a slurry. This process isn't usually breaded.

I slice the meat into thin strips and place it into the marinade/slurry. The meat sits in the marinade for 15 to 20 twenty minutes, and is then placed in the hot liquid. Though I've done it in water, I prefer to poach the meat in oil.

The meat is left in just until the slurry turns opaque, then removed to be used in stir-fry or whatever.

To prove that Cooking the meat to the right temperature is what makes it so tender, try this. Cut chicken meat into half-inch cubes, white or dark, it doesn't matter. Heat oil in a pan, then place the meat into the pan. Stir fry until it is must lightly browned. Remove and taste it. It will be supremely tender.

So why velvet, it adds a silky texture from the cornstarch slurry to the outside of the meat.

Tempura chicken, creates chicken that is equally tender, as does proper roasting, deep frying, grilling, barbecuing, etc. Also, it helps to use a frying chicken, as roasting chickens are older, and tougher to begin with.

For your panko coated chicken, try this. Make an egg whash. Dip the chicken pieces into flour to coat, then into the egg wash, then into the breadcrumbs. The flour and breadcrumbs should be seasoned before the chicken is coated with them. Pan fry in 360' oil until the chicken is golden brown, then remove and place into a 350' oven for twenty minutes. Your chicken will be very tender, very juicy, and the coating will stay on.

Hope this helps.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:06 AM   #3
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Thanks much - that whole Velveting procedure looks like something to pay attention to and try - will do.

But actually my question was what did I run into with the procedure I used which in fact only used part of tht process - mostly the corn starch and egg white - and then even used vinegar instead of a fortified wine like sherry.

Basically I just ran off into a different direction and used vinegar - but the result was GREAT - could the vinegar somehow been the key? And didn't even end up being in the taste.


----

And thanks for the breading clues!
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Old 02-08-2015, 12:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Harry Coates View Post
Thanks much - that whole Velveting procedure looks like something to pay attention to and try - will do.

But actually my question was what did I run into with the procedure I used which in fact only used part of tht process - mostly the corn starch and egg white - and then even used vinegar instead of a fortified wine like sherry.

Basically I just ran off into a different direction and used vinegar - but the result was GREAT - could the vinegar somehow been the key? And didn't even end up being in the taste.


----

And thanks for the breading clues!
Basically, you made fried chicken. The marinade added flavor and cooking small pieces with panko bread crumbs helped insulate the chicken from the heat, at least a little bit. By the time the breadcrumbs were browned, the chicken was cooked just right. You made fried chicken strips instead of chicken nuggets, but with the flavors of the marinade added.

Acidic marinades don't really make proteins tender, in fact, just the opposite happens. When proteins are subjected to either heat, or acid, they tend to contract, or tighten up. Marinades flavor just the outer surface of the meat as the contracted proteins act as a barrier to keep the acidic marinade from penetrating the muscle tissue.

The main reasons your chicken was tender, juicy, and flavorful were that it wasn't overcooked, and it was seasoned properly. Add to that the flavor of a marinade you like, and you made great chicken strips.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:51 PM   #5
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You can get better Panko coverage by first tossing the meat in flour before the eggs or sauce, then the Panko.
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:08 PM   #6
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I don't see that panko (breadcrumbs?) are necessary really. I have used this method of dipping chicken pieces into cornflour and eggwhite (I also add some soy sauce and crushed garlic) which I leave to marinate e.g. overnight. (I stir it around for the 1st hour).

I shallow fry in a kind of stir fry method and find that the coating is like a batter i.e. I see no need for the crumbs.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:00 AM   #7
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You can get better Panko coverage by first tossing the meat in flour before the eggs or sauce, then the Panko.
The problem there is the marinade has made the chicken wet and gooey - so double battering would be necessary if you want 'breading.'

Without any breading would also work as a preparation - just different.
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