Inspiring healthier eating one dish at a time

The Secret To a Better Stir-Fry


Stir-Fry dishes are a great way to add more healthy vegetables into your diet, and they’re usually pretty quick and easy to make – especially if you take advantage of precut veggies at the supermarket and quick cooking chicken breast. However, if you’re usually less than thrilled with your version of “homemade Chinese food” because of tough, rubbery chicken, here’s a great tip…

The secret to really great chicken stir-fry is a classic Chinese cooking technique called velveting.   The chicken breast is coated in a mixture of egg white, oil and cornstarch, then it’s marinated for a short time and finally, cooked in hot water.  The result is smooth, tender, and velvet-like chicken that tastes like it came from your favorite Chinese restaurant.


Here’s the technique, step by step:


Chinese Velvet Chicken


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of any fat and cut into thin slices
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbs canola oil


Combine egg white, oil, cornstarch and salt, and stir well until smooth.

Pour mixture over chicken and stir to coat all pieces.

Marinate uncovered, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Pour 4 cups water in saute pan, and mix in 1 Tbs canola oil.

When chicken is almost finished marinating, bring water/oil mixture to a simmer.

Carefully add chicken to the simmering water; gently stir so it doesn't clump together.

Cook just until opaque, about 1 minute.

Carefully drain chicken in a colander to remove excess water.

Add chicken to stir fried vegetables and sauce and finish cooking through.


Experiment with different combinations of vegetables (the more colorful they are, the healthier they are) and sauces. I used broccoli, red pepper strips, matchstick carrots, and mushrooms, with chopped garlic, ginger, green onions, and a bottled Dashi seasoning sauce I found at the supermarket.

Eat well!

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