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Ever wonder how your favorite Chinese restaurant creates those tender bites of chicken? It's easier than you think!

Velvet Chicken and Broccoli


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced

  • 1 egg white

  • 1 tbsp white wine

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • Stir-fry sauce:

  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

  • For the rest:

  • 3 cups broccoli florets

  • 3 tbsp water

  • 2 tsp ginger root, grated

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • Oil for pan


  1. In a bowl, combine egg white, wine, cornstarch, and salt. Add the sliced chicken and coat well. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.

  2. Fill a medium pot with water and heat to a boil. Add marinated chicken and gently separate the slices to avoid clumping. After about 30 seconds, remove the chicken with a strainer and set aside.

  3. In a small bowl, mix sauce ingredients together and set aside.

  4. In a pan on medium-high heat, add oil, broccoli, and water. Stir and then cover for 2 minutes. Uncover and allow the water to evaporate. Drizzle a little more oil, then stir in garlic and ginger. After 2 minutes add the slightly poached chicken and allow to slightly brown. Add sauce, stir, and cook until thickened and is evenly distributed.

Velvet Chicken and Broccoli




Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox


- Alright, listen up, because today, I'm about to spill the tea and share the real reason why Chinese American takeout meat tastes so good. The not-so-secret secret here? Velveting, mhm, it's a classic cooking technique used in Chinese cuisine, and it produces those very soft, tender, velvety pieces of meat that we love in Chinese takeout. It's very simple to do and starts with a marinade. I've just got a few ingredients here. First up, an egg. You only need the white, some rice wine, or white wine will do. Before I add the rest of the ingredients, I just wanna break up the white a little bit. Now, for some corn starch. And a little bit of salt. Give that all a really good whisk, and now, for the protein. To prove how effective this technique is, I'm goin' in with some chicken breast. Now, we all know that this tends to overcook and become drier than my crusty ass lips in the winter. I like very thin slices of chicken. So with this chicken breast, I'm looking for the grain. Do you see these lines that come across here? You wanna cut against that to help with the tenderness. Gonna go in there. And just slice 'em up. See how thin, not too-too thin, but thin enough. Last little piece there. Now, this goes straight into the marinade. You can mix this up with some tongs, but I suggest going in with your hands. Ooh. What this marinade is supposed to do is to further tenderize the chicken and to lock in that moisture when it's cooking later. So you gotta make sure each and every piece is coated. This works with different proteins. You can do beef, you could do pork, shrimp even. Alright, that looks good, now this needs to marinate for at least one hour, preferably overnight. I'm gonna go put this in the fridge and give my hands a wash. The next step to velveting is the pass through. I have a pot of boiling water here. I'm just gonna add a little bit of oil. This is just one way to do a pass through. The popular method is with oil. Now, this is only going to cook very briefly in this water. So I think doing this with a whole bunch of oil is a little bit of a waste, I'm not a restaurant. I'm just making this for me, myself, and I, you know? I'm gonna do this in two parts. So then, just drop in the half of this chicken. Give that a quick little stir so it doesn't clump together and leave it there for 30 seconds. And that's it, fish it out with a strainer and pop it onto a plate. Now, this is the step that really locks in those juices before any other cooking preparation. This chicken is ready to be prepared however you'd like into any stir fry, noodle, soups, it's up to you. My favorite Chinese takeout dish is chicken and broccoli with brown sauce, super easy to do. It is so easy, in fact, that the next time you have the urge to pick up the phone and place an order, you just call yourself and be like, ay yo, self, can I get an order of chicken and broccoli? You're like yeah, I got you. Except why are you calling me? Nobody uses the phone to place orders anymore. They just go on the phone and go boopity-boop-boop. To make the brown sauce in a bowl, add low sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, a little water. A little sweetness with brown sugar. And to help thicken the sauce and make it glossy, some corn starch. It's good to prep the sauce before you actually cook so that everything goes boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, done. You get my language, right? It's time to cook, I have a pan on medium heat. I'm just gonna drizzle some oil. If you like your broccoli to be really soft, you can blanche 'em for a little bit, and then, add 'em to the stir fry, but I like mine to have a little bite to it, so I'm gonna add this straight into the pan. Stir it around a little bit, and then, add just a tiny bit of water. Then, pop on the lid. And just let this steam for about two minutes. Ready to see that green, wow. Money, turn up the heat a bit and let that water evaporate. You can add a little bit more oil here. It's sizzling, things are happening. Time to add garlic and ginger. Let those aromatics brown up just a bit. I'm gonna set the broccoli to the side, and then, dump the chicken right in the middle. You want the high heat here. You want the water to evaporate and let the chicken get just a little bit brown. Alright, now is the time to add the sauce. Just pour it in and let it thicken up. Oh man, it smells so good. The sauce is glossy. It's coating every piece of chicken, every piece of broccoli. Alright, you just turn off the heat, this is done. It cooked like that, and it's chicken breast. It's not gonna take long to cook. I like mine served right over some steamed white rice. Oh yeah. And there you have it, velveting, the secret to Chinese takeout chicken. Mm. This is like melt in your mouth, mm. And it's so tender like a love poem in your mouth. I really hope you give this a try. I am drooling, I'm gonna go finish this. I'll see you next time.