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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Asian-Style Stir-Fried Chicken and Broccoli




From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Recipes ideas, once in your head, are like flies that hover round a picnic table. They just won't go away until you swat them. In order to test one particularly persistent idea, I purchased one of those super-size bags of broccoli from a local warehouse store. I had good results sooner than I expected and I was left with more broccoli than I had anticipated. My creative energies had ebbed by this time, so I decided to fall back on one of the older dishes that Bob and I both enjoy. It is by no means our favorite Chinese dish, but it is one that was taught in a cooking class that I attended in Hong Kong and there are memories associated with it. Prior to that class, I had never used the cooking technique known as velveting. The technique is used to produce extraordinarily tender meat for stir-frying. It involves marinating whatever is to be stir fried in a mixture of egg white and cornstarch prior to blanching it in oil. It is blanched only until its color changes and then drained before adding it to a stir fry to finish cooking with other ingredients. Velveting helps keep the meat moist, as well as adding flavor to it. The class was a mind sticker on several levels. Chicken and Broccoli is a Chinese-American creation and not one you would generally find on a Chinese table, much less a Chinese cooking school. It was selected for the class because our hosts, ever mindful of our comfort, wanted us to have food that we were comfortable with. They really meant well. The instructor was a wonderful cook, but very proud. He refused to use a translator because he thought his language skills sufficient to teach the class. Things sometimes get lost in translation, and when he was asked why meat was velveted he said it was to get rid of bad smells. I think he meant off-flavors, but we'll never know for sure. I've eaten enough street food to know about off-flavors, but for our purposes it's best to think of velveting as a way to assure that meat or poultry cooked at high temperatures has a flavorful coating that also protects it from burning. If you enjoy Chicken and Broccoli at your local Chinese restaurant I think you'll really enjoy this home-style version of it. I promise it smells good. Here's the recipe.

Asian-Style Stir-Fried Chicken and Broccoli...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:

Sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut in 1-inch cubes
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
Broccoli
12 ounces broccoli flowerets, cut in bite-size pieces
2 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, or to taste

Directions:
1) To make sauce: Combine oyster sauce, light soy, dark soy, and water in a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water thickener and set aside.
2) To make chicken: Combine egg white, cornstarch and salt together in a bowl. Add chicken cubes to mixture and toss to coat all surfaces. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3) To cook chicken: Preheat a wok. Add oil and heat to 275 degrees F. Oil is ready when a piece of chicken floats. Add chicken cubes and cook until they just turn white. Remove cubes from oil as soon as they turn white. Reserve oil. Drain chicken on paper towels.
4) To cook broccoli: Set a large frying pan or another wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of chicken cooking oil. When hot, add crushed garlic and stir fry until garlic is fragrant. Add broccoli, sprinkle with sugar and salt, stir frying briefly. Be careful it doesn't burn. Add 1/2 cup water, cover pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until broccoli turns bright green and is crisp tender. Remove from pan and drain.
5) To finish: Clean out pan. Add 2 more tablespoons oil. Add broccoli and chicken, stirring and tossing to cook chicken through, about 2 to 5 minutes more. Add sauce and cornstarch mixture in the middle of the wok and stir quickly to thicken. Mix everything together and serve hot over steamed rice. Yield: 4 servings.







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51 comments:

Martha said...

sounds yummy, I'll have to try the velveting sometime. Thanks for the tip!

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook said...

Great looking stir fry! Looks delicious!

Sandra said...

I love stir fry and you made it so beautifully! Fantastic photography as always!
Hope you have great weekend!

Ginny said...

This looks SO good. It is one of my DIL's favorite Chinese dishes, too

FLORY said...

Wonderful!I won't miss a recipe from your delicious blog!Hope you have great weekend!

Chiara said...

thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe Mary, I love stir fry!!! have a lovely weekend, a hug...

mia xara said...

I've never heard of the velveting procedure, Mary..Thank you for sharing..The chicken looks very inviting and very well paired with the broccoli!Have a great weekend!

My Little Space said...

Oh wow, what a great experience there in HK. Probably, you're now cook better than I do. :o) Have a great day. Take care.
Blessings, Kristy

Duncan D. Horne said...

This reminds me of a sweet-and-sour chicken meal we home-cooked the other day!

Duncan In Kuantan

dr.antony said...

That looks a perfect bite.An original.I haven't seen this combination before.

Joy said...

What a lovely combination! It is time for me to get velveting!

Mercy a.k.a Rogue said...

Your blog is absolutely mouth watering!! Thanks so much for your kind words at Rogues Home Cooked, I am glad you liked my hard work. Will definitely be stopping by again.

Maria said...

I haven't had much success with stir-fries, but I'd love to try this one!

Rita said...

As soon as I saw the picture I knew it was a must try; I must pick up some oyster sauce.
Rita

Lucie said...

Interesting technique, and delicious-looking recipe. I could eat broccoli every single day!

From the Kitchen said...

My stir fries are rarely asked to a repeat performance. I've never heard of velveting. This might be one that stands out. Have a great weekend. May the best "traveler" win in the destination debate.

Best,
Bonnie

Suman Singh said...

Simply delicious!

Have a nice weekend!

Kim said...

Stry fries are always a good way to eat healty! I like this one a lot! Have a nice week-end!

Parsley Sage said...

Great tip on the velveting! I like to stir fry but it never seems to come out 'right' for me. Maybe this is what I'm missing. Yours looks incredibly tasty :) Thanks so much for sharing!

Ann said...

I just love stir-fried chicken and this sounds like a delicious version. Now I'm hungry for some.
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and your sweet comment.

Clint said...

This looks really, really good. My stomach's rumblin' now. Thanks.

ButterYum said...

Yet another tempting and delicious meal. Thanks, Mary.

ButterYum said...

Thank you for the information about "velveting". I was not aware of the technique.

lena said...

hi mary, i think the velveting not only helps to make the chicken more tender, yeah, it helps to get rid of 'frozen' smell..just like some of the fish that really gives us a 'fishy'smell, we marinate and ddep fried them , it will reduce that fishy smell. This chicken of yours simply looks delicious!

CkretsGalore said...

Mmmmm I love chicken and broccoli! Wish anyone else in my household did because I would try this for sure.
Never heard of velveting. Thanks for the info.

Elaine said...

Velveting sounds like such an interesting technique and one I would like to try. Both my kids are still home, so I know they would love this dish. Have a wonderful day, Mary!

June said...

MMMM it looks fabulous and thank you for the info on velveting. I've used the method but didn't know it had a name. I always learn something from you Mary along with a daily chuckle. It's interesting how every culture has their own way of dealing with "off flavors".

Ballerina Girl said...

Yummy! Almost all of my family love Chinese food...unfotunately here where we live we can not find any, nor the ingredients necessary...BUT
now that I have you on my sidebar, once I get back to the US I can find your recipes for these again and try them out!

Thanks!
BG

Pacheco Patty said...

I took a Chinese cooking class years ago and completely forgot about the velveting technique, thanks for mentioning it here. I've been making stir fry broccoli beef using fish sauce instead of oyster sauce for a little different flavor. I will have to try your recipe using chicken, it does look good and I can imagine it has a heavenly aroma;-)

yummychunklet said...

I love the simplicity of a good chicken and broccoli dish. Yours really accentuates the bright green healthiness of the broccoli! Yum!

Joanne said...

I've never heard of this technique before but it's definitely super intriguing! I'll have to give it a try!

StephenC said...

I am wondering if any suitable velveting result could be obtained under the broiler. I really don't like to deep-fry. I suppose it could be worth a try.

The Magic Pie said...

wow!!! it seems delicious :)))

nanny said...

I love stir fry and these flavors are making my mouth water.....wish my husband felt the same way, we'd have it tonight...oh, well!!

Priya said...

Omg, cant take my eyes,simply irresistible..

Tammy said...

You chicken looks so delicious Mary!
I love all the flavors in this dish- my mouth is watering!

xx,
Tammy

Melissa @IWasBornToCook said...

This looks great - my husband would love it. Have a great weekend!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Mary, I love your cooking class stories!! blessings ~ tanna

Katie said...

I've heard of "velveting" but never actually knew what it meant! You learn something new every day I suppose. :)

Claudia said...

I am going to try "velveting" for my next stir fry. I just love the term! I know it's not authentic Chinese but I do love broccoli and chicken in a stir fry and you can vary it each time. The photo received everyone's attention in this home.

teresa said...

what gorgeous flavors, it looks so bright and healthy!

SKIP TO MALOU said...

Thank you for sharing the technique of velveting. I may have done it already but it's only now I learn about its term.
I also hear you about ideas in your head, sometimes I also dream about them too.. haha even in my sleep they hunt me!

Great looking dish... I would love to have a bowl of jasmine rice with it right now.

I hope you are enjoying the weekend Mary!

xo,
Malou

Miri Leigh said...

These flavors looks wonderful! Can't wait to try this out!

scrambledhenfruit said...

I'll have to try that velveting technique. You can tell I'm not much of a cook, as I've never even heard of it before! This beef and broccoli dish looks delicious!

Lynda said...

This is a great recipe Mary, and I learned something new.I have wondered how the chicken at Chinese restaurants stays so moist; now I know. Thankyou!
Have a lovely weekend.

That Girl said...

Stir fried chicken always makes a regular appearance here.

Monet said...

Oh this looks good. Isn't it funny how so many "Chinese" dishes would never be found in a true Chinese kitchen? This is one of my dad's favorites, so I will have to give it a try. Thank you for sharing your sweet self with me tonight. I always know I can find something delicious and uplifting when I visit. I hope you have a safe and happy Sunday.

Katerina said...

I have never seen this technique before! The results look fantastic!

Cooking Creation said...

Mary, this recipe really speaks to me. I love me some Asian food and this sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing. :)

Catherine said...

Dear Mary, Your stir-fried chicken looks great! Love making my own "take out" ~ You control the ingredients and the price is right! Yours looks wonderful. Blessings, Catherine

Jenn @ Youknow...that Blog? said...

I've never seen this method before either - sounds involved, but totally worth it. I'll have to try it :) Thanks Mary!

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