Velveting is a popular Chinese cooking method. Seafood or meat is marinated before being cooked in water or oil before stirring-frying along with other ingredients. Today, we’ll discuss how to make velvet pork for stir-frying.
VELVETING DIFFERENT MEATS
The velveting process ensures soft, silky pieces of meat for your stir-fry. I’ve previously explained the process of velveting beef and velveting chicken on this blog, so what makes the process of velveting pork distinct?
The basic principles of velveting meat are usually identical, with a few minor distinctions. Here’s a brief overview of the main aspects:
The inclusion of starch in any marinade that is velvety provides a silky texture. Starch from cornstarch and tapioca are popular choices for velveting, regardless of whether it’s chicken, pork, or beef. Read our post on how to use Corn Starch for Chinese cooking.
Other marinade ingredients could comprise soy sauce, Shaoxing wines, oyster sauces, white pepper, and vegetable oil. This is contingent on the food you’re cooking.
Certain meats require a tenderizing treatment. However, others don’t. I tend to tenderize my beef using baking soda, whereas I do not believe it is essential for chicken. It could be done in any way; however, we typically don’t use baking soda in our marinades for pork (more on this in the future).
WHAT’S THE BEST CUT OF PORK FOR STIR-FRY?
Pork shoulder (picnic shoulder), pork butt (Boston butt), pork loin tenderloin, and bone-free country ribs are all good for stir-fries, whether cutting the meat into bite-sized pieces, thin slices, or julienned pieces.
Below are some of my opinions on every one of the options:
Pork Shoulder/Pork Butt: I generally prefer pork shoulder and butt when it comes to stir-fries because it contains more fat, and my personal opinion, more taste. It’s also one of the more flexible and cost-effective cuts (see my blog post for more information on how to cut down the entire meat shoulder).
Pork Loin Pork loin can be described as highly tender and supple. It’s more prone to drying out. We typically cut off the ends of the loin at the point where the blade roast begins, which is delicious.
Pork Tenderloin: Also relatively lean; however, it is more tender than loin. It’s pretty expensive in stir-fry, but you can go for it If you’re willing to pay the price.
Boneless Country Ribs: This is a delicious alternative if you don’t mind some streaky fat on the pork slices.
HOW TO SLICE PORK FOR STIR-FRY
Our recipes will guide you on how to cut/slice meat. Pork stir-fry recipes may include small chunks of beef, julienned slices, thin slices, and ground pork.
There’s no need to focus as much on how you cut across the grain as you would for beef. One tip to cut pork (any meat and not just pork) is to chill it for a few minutes. Once it’s cooled somewhat, it’s easier to slice thinly.
SHOULD I USE BAKING SODA TO TENDERIZE PORK?
All Chinese restaurants blend meats for stir-fries but do not employ the same technique. One of the significant differences is how to use baking soda (a tenderizer).
Based on my experience, the choice to use baking soda will depend on the kind of meat you’re eating and the type of texture you’re hoping to create.
I’m not a fan of baking soda for cooking chicken (you can learn more about this in our blog post about the best way to Velvet Chicken). In the case of beef, we offer two methods of velveting beef in our article about How to prepare Beef Stir-Fries. Velveting Shrimp can be performed based on the recipe, but you can learn more about it in our article How to Make Shrimp.
Regarding the best way to soften pork meat, we generally don’t use baking soda since I believe that pork is more like a chicken’s texture. If you’re using pork loins or shoulder and feel the meat is rough, you’re at ease adding baking soda.
As I mentioned earlier in this blog post, you can add various ingredients to the pork velveting marinade. We would suggest including Shaoxing wine in all marinades for pork since it will help balance the more intense flavor of the meat.
Here’s a list of other essential marinade ingredients and the importance they play:
The water: Gives pork more moisture for a juicy texture.
Vegetable oils: The oil adds additional fats to stop the pork from drying out, specifically for leaner cuts, like tenderloin and loin.
Cornstarch: Creates a film around the pork to keep the juices and the meat from drying. Tapioca starch can also be a great substitute.
Oyster sauce: Adds more flavor and umami.
Soy sauce: Adds taste and umami.
Sesame Oil: Optional nutty flavoring, dependent on the food.
Ground White Pepper: A flavoring option, dependent on the food item.
Shaoxing Wine: Balances the strong taste of certain pieces of pork (“the”porkiness”).
A last note…some recipes for velveting require egg white, an naturally alkaline ingredient that may aid in tenderizing meats. Baking soda, however, is widely replacing egg white as a tenderizer in marinades for velveting.
BLANCH, SEAR, OR OIL VELVET?
Velvetizing oil (zou You (Zou Zou ) in Mandarin, also known as “jau yau” in Cantonese) is the method of deep-frying meats before stirring-frying. We suggest searing the pork to stir fry dishes for those who cook at home. It’s delicious and needs less oil. For more tips on how to cook the meat inside your wok, check out Judy’s blog post regarding How to keep food from sticking to the wok.
Suppose you would like to lower the amount of fat you consume or want the delicate flavor of Cantonese cooking; Blanche marinated pork quickly with boiling water. It also offers the advantage of having a less sour sauce in your final meal, specifically in White sauce recipes.
If you use a wok to cook or sear the pork, boil it until it turns opaque. Add 10 seconds. It should be at least 80 percent cooked. Place it in a bowl, and it will cook for a while. Be aware that you’ll cook it once more in your stir-fry.
The recipe is below. You will find measures for blending 12 ounces of smoked pork, a standard amount for one stir-fry recipe. Change the amounts in proportion if you are making less or more. Preparing the velvet pork in advance (the evening before) is possible for ease.