Velveted Chicken Breasts
The Chinese technique of "velveting" - coating meat in cornstarch, egg whites, wine, and seasonings - makes this chicken extra tender.
- 4 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 egg whites
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 scallions, green parts sliced on a bias and white parts roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 inch ginger, sliced
- 2 star anise
- 10 Sichuan peppercorns
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- Blanched Chinese broccoli, for serving
- Brown rice, for serving
- Slice the chicken breasts into 1/2-inch-thick cutlets and season with salt. In a mixing bowl, combine the sherry and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add the egg whites and whip until the mixture holds soft peaks. Add the chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours.
- In a small pot over medium heat, simmer the chicken stock, scallion, garlic, ginger, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and shiitakes, until it is reduced by half. Strain and whisk in the sake until the sauce is smooth.
- In a skillet over medium, heat oil. Add chicken breasts to the pan and saute for 30 seconds per side, without browning. Remove and blot with paper towels. Discard oil and wipe out the pan.
- Return the skillet to the stove and add the sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add chicken back to the pan, simmer for 1 minute, flip chicken, and cover pan. Simmer for 2 minutes, turn off heat, and leave covered for a few minutes until meat is firm to the touch.
- Serve with blanched Chinese Broccoli and brown rice.
- Recipe provided by Jonathan Wu, chef and partner at Fung Tu in New York City.