How to Prepare Chinese Velvet Chicken for Asian Stir-Fry Dishes

Velvet Chicken
The Spruce
  • Total: 4 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 1 mins
  • Marinade: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 pound (Serves 6 to 8)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
629 Calories
62g Fat
1g Carbs
18g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 pound (Serves 6 to 8)
Amount per serving
Calories 629
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 62g 79%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 95mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 18g
Calcium 10mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

“Velveting” is a Chinese cooking technique often used in stir-fry recipes. The technique can be used with any type of meat to lock in juices and keep the meat moist.

The “velvet” technique is usually used with chicken breast because chicken breast contains less fat than other kinds of meat. So if you velvet the chicken breast, the technique can lock in the juices of the chicken breast; therefore, the cooked breast will still taste moist, juicy and full of flavor.

The most common “velveting” techniques involve coating or marinating poultry or meat for stir-fries with egg white and corn flour or cornstarch. In Asia, many cooks marinate meat or poultry for stir-fries with soy sauce and “potato starch” or “sweet potato starch” before stir-frying or deep frying.

Velveting is an ideal way to prepare chicken for such popular dishes as Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli ChickenGeneral Tso’s Chicken, or Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork.


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or corn flour)
  • 2 cups vegetable oil (or peanut oil)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Velveting chicken ingredients
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  2. Chop the chicken into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes. In a bowl, stir together the egg white and corn flour.

    Chop chicken, stir together egg and corn flour
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  3. Add the egg white mixture to the chicken cubes, tossing or using your finger to coat the chicken in the mixture.

    Add egg white mixture to chopped chicken
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  4. Marinate the chicken in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

    Marinate chicken in mixture
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  5. Lay out paper towels or get a colander ready to drain the chicken after cooking. Heat 2 cups oil in a preheated wok until the oil reaches 180 F. You can taste the heat by placing a piece of chicken in the wok; it should float immediately.

    Heat oil in wok
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  6. Add the chicken cubes, and let cook until they just turn white; this will take about 30 seconds. Using a wooden spoon or chopsticks to gently separate them.

    Add chicken cubes to wok using chopsticks
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  7. Quickly remove the chicken cubes from the wok as soon as they turn white and drain in a colander or on paper towels.

    Drain chicken on paper towels
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  8. Finish cooking the velveted chicken by stir-frying with the vegetables, tossing and stirring to make sure the chicken is cooked through.

    Velveted chicken with cooked vegetables
    The Spruce
  9. Serve and enjoy!


  • You can marinate/velvet the meat or chicken a day before you want to cook it. After preparing the egg white mixture and coating the chicken cubes, store the chicken in a sealed container in a refrigerator until ready to use. Otherwise, you can also store the velveted chicken or meat in the freezer bags and store them in a freezer. You can defrost them before you want to cook it. This way can help you plan ahead and get organized with your weekly dinner.