A Step-By-Step Guide How to Velvet Meat

All you need: meat, white pepper, Shaoxing wine, salt, cornstarch, oil, 1 hour, a wok or deep saucepan.

What you get: ultra-tender and silky meat that tastes just like what you get at tze char.

Cut meat and soak in lots of cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Cut your meat into bite-sized pieces beforehand. Soaking in water plumps the meat and flushes away any unwelcome fluids. This primes the meat for velveting.

Season meat with Shaoxing, white pepper and salt to taste.

Gerald says that “wok masters aren’t shy to taste raw meat”, but I was still cautious. I seasoned the meat by eye.

Add a pinch of baking soda and some cornstarch to form a slurry around meat. Marinate 30 minutes.

“The alkaline nature of baking soda in the marinade denatures the protein strands and transforms tough cuts into silky soft morsels.”

Deep-fry for a few seconds, until slightly opaque. Drain and use the velveted meat in your stir-fries!

Deep-frying the meat quickly firms the slurry around it, forming a barrier which locks in juices and shields the meat from the heat, resulting in super juicy and tender meat. The oil doesn’t have to be super hot for this (about 120C is fine) because you don’t want colour on the meat.



Pamelia Chia is a Singaporean chef and the author of the bestselling cookbook ‘Wet Market to Table’. After graduating with an Honor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from the National University of Singapore in 2014, she decided to trade a food scientist’s lab coat in for chef whites. She has since been working in restaurants in Singapore and Melbourne, including Candlenut and Carlton Wine Room. Her deepest interest being the preservation and celebration of Singaporean food heritage and culture, she started Singapore Noodles in 2020 as a platform to share about Singaporean food to a global audience. Find her on Instagram @pameliachia.

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