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Dec 23, 2005 08:18 AM

How do you get tender beef in Chinese dishes?

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Could you provide some tips on how they get the beef and chicken in Chinese dishes (especially stir-fry dishes)so tender?

Although I thinly slice the beef and try not to overcook it, the results are disappointing.


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  1. Marinating in oil is one technique. Are you using flank steak?

    1. If you have no problems with MSG, use some Accent in the maranade. Will really tenderize the meat.

      1. Some restaurants put some baking soda in the marinade. It really makes the beef tender but a bit spongy. Some people really like the texture, some don't care for it.

        1. As the other poster have started MSG and baking soda will soften the meat. But not everyone can take MSD and I can taste baking soda if left on the meat too long.

          If you make sure the meat is accross the grain straight down with no angle at all this will help. Also keep it thin.

          Also the marinade you can use to help it be tender with out affectting the taste is

          soy sauce
          sesame oil

          Let stand for at least 30 minutes.

          Also it has cook quickly over high heat. If your cook top can not give you high heat, you may have cook in batches.

          1. With chicken, I have used the technique of "velveting" that Barbara Tropp describes in her tome on Chinese cooking. Cube chicken; marinate it in a mix of beaten egg whites, cornstarch, and Chinese rice wine; gently parboil the cubed chicken; finally finish cooking the chicken in whatever sauce you are using.

            Parboiling the marinated chicken apparently seals the juices in because the cornstarch and eggwhite harden into an imperceptibly thin film. The taste and texture are hard to believe -- moist and almost bouncy. The first couple of times I tried it, I was concerened that the finished chicken was raw because it was juicier than any cooked chicken I had ever tasted.

            I have never tried velveting beef, pork, or seafood. My hunch is that it would work very well for shrimp and scallop. I haven't cooked enough with beef or pork to guess whether velveting would work.