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"Water Massaging" Beef To Tenderize It For Chinese Dishes?

Norm Man Aug 12, 2006 10:21 PM

On an episode of the PBS show "Simply Ming," a chef of a Chinese restaurant said he soaks his cut pieces of flank steak in running water for 45 minutes to tenderize it (for Orange Beef). At the end of the 45 minute water massage, the flank steak had a pale color and looked like veal.

Has anyone ever heard and/or used this water massage technique to tenderize beef?

I'm Chinese and my Mother used to marinate her flank steak in corn starch, soy sauce, wine, sugar and a bit of baking soda -- no water massaging.

  1. JMF Aug 13, 2006 11:56 AM

    In many Chinese take out places they marinate in a water/bicarbonate solution for awhile. Also in stir frys the meat is sometimes blanched in hot water first then added after the veggies are cooked. This is why the meat in fast food Chinese is so soft and bland.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JMF
      PBSF Aug 13, 2006 07:54 PM

      This technique is not limited to take-outs but to just about all inexpensive Chinese restaurants. This is to hide their use of inferior and/or tough cuts of meat. One is lucky to get flank steak. The sad aspect of this is that diners are actually starting to like this soft, spongy and bland "mystery meat"

      1. re: JMF
        Olivia Aug 13, 2006 10:39 PM

        Ah! This explains so much. Thanks for this information.

        I always wondered why the beef at some Chinese restaurants I've been to was paler and unpleasantly tender.

        The running water technique is intriguing though, as I imagine it wouldn't make it as mushy/flaccid.

      2. h
        Howard_2 Aug 13, 2006 05:58 PM

        There's a Chinese cookg technique called "velvetting". You mix some egg white and cornstarch, then cut up your meat, chicken, etc, and marinate it in that for maybe 30 mins before stir-frying.

        Try it on a piece of meat, indepewndent of a dish--it really does make the flesh tender.

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