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"Velveting" protein

Chinese

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#1 JAZ

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 11:10 AM

I'm familiar with the procedure of velveting shrimp and chicken, although I don't do it very often. But I recently made a recipe from one of Barbara Tropp's cookbooks for a shrimp dish where she velvets the shrimp in simmering water instead of oil. I'd never heard of that, so I gave it a try. It worked okay, but I'm not sure it really made that much difference.

So, I have a few questions. First, is this common - velveting in water? Second, I'm confused about whether the velveting process is only supposed to partially cook the protein, which is what Tropp's recipe called for. It seems to me I've read other recipes where the protein is completely cooked when velveted, and then added to the dish at the last minute. Third, I guess my main question is whether veleveting makes that much of a difference.

#2 Dejah

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 07:32 PM

I've never heard of velveting by sliding the protein in oil or water, to partially cook or complete cook before I read about it on egullet.

From what my parents taught me, velveting meant first marinating the protein in seasonings, cornstarch and oil. Let the protein rest while you cook the vegetables. Clean the wok out, heat it up, just enough oil to coat the surface completely, with a small pool of a couple tbsp at the bottom. (depending on how much protein to be cooked). Add the meat, stir after one side starts to brown a bit, continue until 3/4 done, add the veg and liquid accumulated, mix well, and the meat is like velvet - from the cornstarch / oil marinade.

"Sliding" thru' oil or water bath just seems like an extra step?

The only time I've ever done it was when we had the restaurant. On crazy busy days like Mother's Day, New Years, etc, we'd do the "velveting bath" only to have a large amount of beef, pork, or chicken pre-cooked to quickly add to the veg as per order. Have never done the shrimp that way.

Here's the shrimp I made for CNY - velveting the way I described above. It stays juicy, velvety, and crispy...

shrimpfood4401.jpg
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#3 JAZ

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:42 PM

Dejah, I should have mentioned that the recipe did call for marinating in cornstarch, rice wine, egg white and salt before cooking, and I did understand that this was part of the velveting process. At least in this Tropp recipe, though, the marinade didn't call for oil -- is that typical? I'd also only seen veleveting done for shrimp and chicken -- I had no idea it was done for beef and pork too. Is it done all the time, or just for particular dishes?

In any case, it's good to know I don't have to use a separate pan -- thanks for the information!

#4 heidih

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:01 PM

Here is a prior discussion on this somewhat confusing topic.

#5 hzrt8w

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 11:15 PM

the marinade didn't call for oil -- is that typical? I'd also only seen veleveting done for shrimp and chicken -- I had no idea it was done for beef and pork too. Is it done all the time, or just for particular dishes?


Marinate with a little oil... that's typical. Especially with meat like beef and pork. It's a common technique/process.

Velveting in oil or water... In water, the shrimp will be a bit rough from the boiling water. Cooking in a high temperature oil bath (in less time) would preserve the "bouncy" texture better. Especially with meat like beef and pork. Chicken too.

You may use the same pan. But best to rinse out the pan completely before stir-frying with vegetable or seasoning or else the bitsy meat residual will become bits of burnt charcoal.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#6 OliverB

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 04:43 PM

Since I just read about this (new to me) process in Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge", here's a short run down of what she says:

..typically accomplished by briefly marinating bite sized pieces of beef (etc) in a standard combination of egg white, cornstarch, and a little water or rice wine. The marinated morsels are then blanched in oil or water and thoroughly drained in a collander before bein stir-fried.

She says the blanching can be skipped, but the results won't be nearly as velvety. Aside of maybe rice vinegar, no flavorings are added to the marinade, and it adds no taste to the finished food, just covers and protects.

She also mentions two variations, one where a whole egg is in the marinade, with sometimes some rice wine, the other has no egg at all.

A detailed description follows, too long to quote, but if you have access to the book, it's on page 101.

She says it's usually something that's more often done in restaurants than at home, but I'm intrigued and will give it a shot on my new outdoor wok burner one of these days.
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