Stirfried Chicken oozing water, help please?

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jpinmaryland

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The discussion about mongolian beef prompted me to bring this up. Do you ever get like boneless breast from the supermarket and when you stir fry it, it starts to release a ton of water? which of course stops the stir fry process and will really mess up the meat if you leave the water in there. Taking the chicken out and wiping out the water helps, but the chicken will often continue to exude more water after you place it back in...

It seems to me that these supermarkets somehow freeze the chicken from the inside so that while the chicken is soft and pliable on the outside it still has frozen water on the inside. Is that what is going on?

any work arounds this problem? more an annoyance than anything.
 

Alix

Everymom
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I have had the same trouble. I now let my chicken thaw out completely before stir frying, and I have been known to squeeze it before slicing.

If you find a solution here I would like to hear it too.
 

Raine

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JP, or more likely it was

1. flash frozen
2 frozen when the store got it and they let it thaw once in the meat case.
 

jpinmaryland

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yes I think that is what is happening (flash frozen). it seems that more and more stores are doing this.

Alix: how long do you defrost it to get out all the water? a day?
 

PA Baker

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I'm wondering if it might have been injected with some sort of saline solution type thing, to enhance flavor, etc. Would that cause excess water when cooking then?
 

jpinmaryland

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see thats sort of what I was thinking, that it was frozen from inside. I asked the guy at the meat dept about this but he denied it. I probably shoudl ask around a bit more.
 

Andy M.

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Sometimes, when you put too much meat into a pan at one time, the pan cools down and can't sear the meat properly.

When that happens, the juices in the meat will be squeezed out by the contracting muscle fibers and appear in the pan. Then, you have to get rid of the water before you can brown the meat.

Consider sauteing the meat in smaller batches, in a very hot pan, to help with this problem.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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As usual, when Andy M speaks, the cooking world should listen. He nailed it. Use a very hot, very heavy pan, and reduce the pan contents.

A similar discussion took place some time ago. Those who worked professionally with oriental food, who were on the site, said that normally, the comercial wok is heated until the metal is near glowing for all stir-fries. Keep the pan hot, both for the meats and veggies.

I had the chance to travel to many places in the orient while in the U.S. Navy. In Hong Kong, the street vendors used a large blow-torch to keep the woks extremely hot. From the time they threw the meat and veggies into it, until the time it was cooked, was a matter of minutes, literally. And it was great stuff.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
 

Alix

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jpinmaryland said:
yes I think that is what is happening (flash frozen). it seems that more and more stores are doing this.

Alix: how long do you defrost it to get out all the water? a day?

Usually not all day. A few hours will do. Sometimes I start the defrosting in the microwave and it goes quickly after that.
 

Heat

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I have to agree with Alton Brown he he he, I mean Andy M. Hes so right! To much chicken will cause more water. Or should i say... I second what Andy M. said.:ohmy: :LOL:
 

jpinmaryland

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you know I understand what ANdy is saying, but the only thing is...I take pains to place small amounts of chicken in the wok a little bit at a time. I mean this is one thing about stir fry I am very aware of....

Still may be this is what is happening..
 

ironchef

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If you're already adding the chicken in small bunches, then most likely your pan is not hot enough. Are you heating the oil until it smokes? Once the oil starts to lightly smoke, let it go for just a bit longer and then add your chicken. You might want to dust your chicken in a light amount of flour as well.

I think the worse example of showing someone how to properly fry food is Emeril Lagasse on his "Live" show. He adds oil to the pan, lets it heat for like 10 seconds and then he adds the food. The food just sits there in the oil and doesn't even cook.
 

Andy M.

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Goodweed of the North said:
As usual, when Andy M speaks, the cooking world should listen. He nailed it. ...

Goodweed, you're too kind! Thanks for the compliment. I may hurt myself trying to live up to your expectations!
 

Lizannd

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Many meats now have water injected into them. Remember

when it was only ham. Now beef, pork and chicken have added liquid but the labels should CLEARLY state this.
It could be that when your store repackages the chicken pieces they are not labeling them properly. I would be very specific when you ask the butcher about the chicken and maybe even ask to see the original labels.
 

jennyema

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I'm with Andy IC and Liz

Stir fying, especially, takes a HOT HOT wok, which is why it's so hard to do on an electric cooktop.

Poultry that has been injected with brine will be labeled as such. I have never seen chicken treated like this, just whole turkeys.

But that wouldn't necessarily cause this problem.
 

jpinmaryland

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I dunno, I usually let the wok get real hot. I turn the heat up max. high, and this is a gas range we're talking about. It should be very hot. But I dunno if I let it get to the smoke pt.

Lots of good ideas in here, I will have to explore several possibilities and get back...
 

ironchef

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jpinmaryland said:
I dunno, I usually let the wok get real hot. I turn the heat up max. high, and this is a gas range we're talking about. It should be very hot. But I dunno if I let it get to the smoke pt.

Lots of good ideas in here, I will have to explore several possibilities and get back...

You HAVE to let the oil get to the smoking point. If you don't, you cannot stir fry properly.
 

velochic

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This is interesting for me and it made me think of another question. Not to hijack the thread :unsure:, but if you sear the meat, then does the flavor still get into the meat?

I ask this because I cheat and use a bottled stir-fry sauce (Mr. Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce - from the Sam's Clubs of the homeland). I want the chicken to absorb the sauce, so even though the chicken gets watery, I let it boil off in the sauce and the meat absorbs the sauce. I must be doing this wrong, but I don't know how to really stir-fry. Any suggestions>??
 

Andy M.

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velochic said:
... I want the chicken to absorb the sauce, so even though the chicken gets watery, I let it boil off in the sauce and the meat absorbs the sauce...

VC:

The chicken won't absorb much flavor in the pan. What's happening is, the liquid in the sauce is evaporating.

Marinate the chicken (or other meat) in the sauce for 30 minutes to two hours before cooking. Then stir-fry in a super hot pan in small batches to sear without experiencing the water problem. Then you can add the other stir-fry ingredients and the sauce to finish the dish.
 

ronjohn55

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On the ubject of stir frying, I often wonder if regular home gas stoves can get hot enough. Ever seen those 'turbo wok' burners that are used in commercial kitchens? They look like they could power an F-16 fighter... :ohmy:


I've got a home equivalent, but using a propane burner indoors is very bad mojo.

John
 
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