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Old 02-27-2013, 06:30 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Sydney
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Problems with Chinese food -help needed!

Hi there, this is my first post - hope everyone is well

I've recently bought a new Wok and want to make the most of it but really need some advice to get the best out of my time, cooking and ingredients..

Does anyone know how to get that (for want of a better word) slimy, almost syrupy texture that Chinese/Vietnamese restaurants serve up for dishes like Chicken Chow Mein. I think the technique is like braising, which I do fine, but I can't get that syrupy, thicker texture which makes these dishes complete.

Any tips would be most welcome, thank you!

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Old 02-27-2013, 07:58 AM   #2
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They thicken the sauce with a mixture of starch (corn or potato) and water. It gets added right at the end of cooking.

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Old 02-27-2013, 08:21 AM   #3
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Also, they use a technique called velveting to give the meat that very soft, tender texture. It amounts to making s slurry of water, soy sauce, vinager or rice wine, cornstarch, and a little black pepper. The meat is cut into thin strips, or small cubes and marinated for about 20 minutes. It is then poached either in hot water (about 200'; F.) or or hot oil (about 235-240'F.) until the coating turns opaque. The meat is then removed from the water or oil, and set aside until the rest of the dish is made.

The slurry that powerplant top reffered to is usually a combination of water, a bit of sugar, and starch, about 1/4 cup of water for a tsp. of cornstarch. The pan juices from the veggies and seasonings flavor the sauce. Typical seasonings for chicken chow mien are garlic, soy sauce, and ginger. Veggies include lots of sliced onion, bias-sliced celery, bias-sliced carrot, fresh bean sprouts, and maybe some snow peas. The veggies are stir-fried until crisp-tender, with the seasonings and soy sauce. Then the starch slurry is added, then the meat. Everything is served hot. If the dish is served without noodles, it's chop suey. With noodles, it's lo mien, or chow mien, depending on the noodles used (google teh terms for the difference). Hope this helps.

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