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Jun 2, 2013 11:33 AM

tenderizing with baking soda??

Too hot/humid to do much of anything outdoors, so have just been veggin' in from of tv watching PBS cooking shows. Just finished an episode of "Cooks Country" on making stir fry favorites at home. One dish was pokr and other chicken. In both dishes, the meats were sliced and went into some water with some baking soda for... don't recall time?!?

Does anyone else do this?

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  1. Yes, it is a popular method for tendering meats for Chinese cooking. You really don't need a lot of water. In fact, you can sometime get by without any additional water as long as the baking soda dissolves.

    I used do this, but not anymore. It is actually more useful for beef than for pork or chicken.

    1. The guest chef, on an episode of Nick Stellino’s show, tenderized a flank steak, first with the back of a cleaver, and then with baking soda dissolved in water. Then he marinated the meat pieces in a marinade that included corn starch, which is also used to tenderize meat, IIRC. Recipe and video here

      1 Reply
      1. re: EM23

        The cornstarch can help thicken the sauce.. very common in Chinese cooking. Good to first disolve the cornstarch and remove any lumps using a touch of water.

      2. This is the first I've ever heard of this, but after Googling it a bit, apparently it works.

        Regarding the cornstarch, I think that's another technique known as "velveting" - where you dredge the meat in cornstarch and let it rest for a few minutes before cooking it. It's supposed to give a velvet-y texture to the surface of the meat, and it helps the sauce stick to it. It doesn't necessarily do anything to tenderize the meat as far as I know.

        I did read an article a while back on Serious Eats where they were using baking soda and baking powder on chicken wings before baking them in the oven to give them a "fried" crispy effect that is supposed to be just like they were cooked in a deep fryer. Some people commented though that it had an odd metallic taste - so I would be careful using this method on a big cut of meat. Maybe try it on something small first.

        1. I saw that episode, the technique is indeed called velveting, as Atomic pointed out. I've seen them use baking soda for tenderizing purposes several different times (as well as add it the boiling water for potatoes to give them a crispier crust).

          1. i use corn starch, pounded into chicken, pork, and beef. Yes, it works.