• Just like ordering in (Camellia Aebischer)Source: Camellia Aebischer
Turn your budget cuts of beef into tender soft stir-fry slices with this simple Chinese marinating technique.
Camellia Ling Aebischer

7 Sep 2021 - 1:24 PM  UPDATED 10 Aug 2022 - 12:18 PM

Ever wondered why Chinese takeaway meat is always so tender and soft, but when the same dish gets recreated at home it turns out dry, chewy or not quite right?

We answered this question not long ago in a great article unpacking the technique of velveting meat. It works a charm with beef, chicken or pork and is easy to recreate at home.

Velveting: The Chinese cooking technique you need to know about
Chefs Adam Liaw and Sarah Tiong give SBS Food the low down on how to cook ever-so-tender stir-fry.

There are two ways to go about it: one is coating the meat in a marinade that includes cornflour and egg, which gets blanched before stir-frying and creates a protective coating. The other way is to marinate the meat in bicarb soda before rinsing and frying as usual.

Growing up adding bicarb soda to sliced beef before cooking was commonplace in my house. Dad had his own technique of adding just enough to tenderise the meat but not enough to taste the bicarb flavour.

I’m opting for a soak and rinse technique these days to mitigate any bicarb overpowering the final dish. Even so, when you cook the meat you may notice the pan foam up a little, don’t worry about it, just continue cooking, it will settle down as the sauce gets added.

Beef and broccoli

Serves 2

In a bowl place:

  • 300 g rump steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda

And cover with water. Stir well, then set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rinse the beef well and strain off all the water to remove the bicarb.

Heat a wok or large frypan on high heat with a little neutral oil. Once it’s hot, add:

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced

Brown slightly then add the beef. It may bubble as it cooks if there’s a little residual bicarb but don’t worry this will stop when you add the sauce. Brown the beef then add:

  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 head broccoli, thinly sliced

Stir-fry until broccoli softens slightly, about 2 minutes then add:

  • 2-3 tbsp (a few splashes) water
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp cornflour dissolved in a little water

Cook, stirring until sauce thickens then remove from heat and serve.

Thinly sliced broccoli means you don't have to blanch it before stir-frying.

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