How To Tenderise Beef For Stir Fry? A Complete Guide

Are you tired of tough and chewy beef in your stir fry dishes?

Look no further! We have gathered some tried and true methods for tenderizing beef that will leave your taste buds satisfied.

From using baking soda to velveting techniques, we’ll show you how to achieve that perfect texture for your stir fry.

Say goodbye to tough beef and hello to deliciously tender bites.

Let’s get started!

How To Tenderise Beef For Stir Fry?

There are several methods for tenderizing beef for stir fry, and we’ll cover some of the most popular ones below.

1. Baking Soda Method:

This method involves adding a small amount of baking soda to the beef before marinating. Mix 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 2-3 tablespoons of water and work it into the beef. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water before marinating. This method is quick and easy, but be careful not to use too much baking soda as it can alter the taste of the beef.

2. Velveting Technique:

Velveting is a Chinese method of marinating that keeps delicate meat moist and tender during cooking. To velvet beef, coat strips of beef in a mixture of egg white, cornflour, sesame oil, and salt before deep-frying in hot oil or poaching in simmering water. The coating creates a protective barrier that seals in moisture and prevents overcooking.

3. Cornstarch Method:

Adding cornstarch to the marinade can help seal in moisture and tenderize the beef. Mix cornstarch with soy sauce, rice wine, and other seasonings before adding it to the beef. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes before stir-frying.

4. Chemical Tenderizer:

Chemical tenderizers are available at most grocery stores and can be added to the marinade to help break down tough fibers in the meat. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package carefully and don’t overuse them as they can alter the taste of the beef.

Understanding The Cuts Of Beef For Stir Fry

When it comes to stir-fry, choosing the right cut of beef is crucial to ensuring a delicious and tender dish. While many cuts of beef can be used for stir-fry, some are more popular and recommended than others.

Flank steak is a popular choice for stir-fry due to its intense beefy flavor and affordability. It is best when sliced thin and marinated properly. Boneless beef chuck steak is another economical option that works well for stir-fry, thanks to its extra fat content. However, it requires more trimming and preparation before slicing. Fillet (tenderloin) steak is the most tender of all beef cuts but lacks the beef flavor that other less expensive cuts have. It is also the most expensive option.

Other recommended cuts for stir-fry include skirt steak, hanger steak, and flap meat (also known as sirloin tip). These butcher’s cuts are loose-textured enough to absorb flavorings but beefy enough to stand up on their own. They are also more affordable than tenderloin or strip cuts.

When choosing a cut of beef for stir-fry, it’s important to consider the texture and flavor of the meat as well as your budget. Real butchers can help you choose the best option for your needs and provide cooking tips and advice on how to prepare the meat properly. With the right cut of beef and proper tenderizing techniques, you can create a delicious and tender stir-fry every time.

Using Baking Soda To Tenderise Beef

One popular method for tenderizing beef for stir fry is using baking soda. Baking soda raises the pH of the meat’s surface, making it harder for the proteins to bond and keeping the meat tenderer when cooked.

To use this method, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 cup of water for every 12 ounces of meat. Soak the beef in the solution for at least 15 minutes, then remove and rinse thoroughly with cold water before marinating. Be careful not to use too much baking soda, as it can alter the taste of the beef.

Another variation of this method involves sprinkling 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda on 8 ounces of sliced beef before proceeding with a stir fry recipe. The beef can be marinated with wet or dry seasonings or cooked plain. This method is quick and easy and produces “velvet”-like, soft beef, similar to what you would find in your favorite Chinese restaurant.

It’s important to note that if you decide to use baking soda as a tenderizer, you should do it before marinating your beef. If you marinate the beef with baking soda for too long, it will become tough. Rinse off the baking soda thoroughly before cooking, or it will make your beef smell fishy and taste weird. Once you rinse it off, you’ll have to re-season or marinate the beef before stir-frying.

The Velveting Technique For Tender Beef

The velveting technique is a popular Chinese method of marinating that is used to tenderize beef for stir fry. This method involves coating strips of beef in a mixture of egg white, cornflour, sesame oil, and salt before deep-frying in hot oil or poaching in simmering water. The coating creates a protective barrier that seals in moisture and prevents overcooking.

To velvet beef, start by tenderizing the beef and then marinating it with seasonings, oil, and cornstarch. The tenderizing step makes any beef soft and moist, while marinating the beef gives it more umami flavor and that velvety coating you experience when eating at Chinese restaurants.

The last step of velveting is pre-cooking, which really depends upon the dish you are cooking and the outcome you’re looking for. The traditional method for velveting beef is to pass the meat through hot oil (essentially deep frying) which is literally referred to as zǒu yóu (走油) in Mandarin or “jau yau” in Cantonese. In most cases, searing the meat in a hot wok is preferred since having a wok full of oil at home is simply not practical. That said, searing beef imparts more flavor than the jau yau deep-frying method.

Velveting is a simple yet highly effective technique that any home cook can do, any night of the week. It’s a game changer for making tender beef in Chinese stir-fry recipes. Try it out and let us know how it works for you!

Marinating Beef For Stir Fry

Marinating beef is an important step in preparing it for stir fry. Marinating allows the beef to absorb the flavors of the marinade, making it more flavorful and tender. The length of time you marinate your beef depends on the cut and thickness of the meat. For thin slices of beef used in Chinese stir fry, marinating for 30 minutes is enough time for the marinade to penetrate the meat.

To marinate beef for stir fry, you can use a variety of ingredients such as soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, cornstarch, garlic powder, sugar, and salt. Mix these ingredients together in a bowl and add your sliced or cubed beef. Make sure to coat the beef thoroughly with the marinade and let it sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

When marinating beef, it’s important to keep in mind that some ingredients can actually toughen the meat if left too long. For example, acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus juice can break down the protein in the meat and make it tough. To avoid this, don’t marinate your beef for more than 24 hours.

In addition to marinating, there are other techniques you can use to tenderize beef for stir fry. Cutting against the grain can help break down tough fibers in the meat and make it more tender. You can also use a meat mallet or a rolling pin to pound the beef before marinating.

Cooking Techniques For Tender Beef Stir Fry

Once you have tenderized your beef, it’s time to cook it to perfection for your stir fry. Here are some cooking techniques to ensure your beef is tender and flavorful:

1. Searing Method:

Searing the beef is a great way to lock in the juices and create a crispy exterior. Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat and add a small amount of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the beef in one layer without disturbing it for about 2 minutes. Flip the beef and sear the other side for about 30 seconds.

2. Stir-Fry Method:

The stir-fry method involves cooking the beef quickly over high heat with vegetables and seasonings. Slice the beef against the grain and at a diagonal to form wide strips that are no more than 0.5 cm thick. Heat vegetable oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat, then add the beef and stir-fry until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Move the beef to one side of the wok and add vegetables such as broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, and garlic to the center of the wok. Cook and stir vegetables for 2 minutes, then stir in the beef and season with soy sauce and sesame seeds.

3. Traditional Method:

For a more traditional approach, add enough oil or water to a large wok or pot to fully submerge the beef. Heat the oil or water over high heat until it reaches a temperature of around 375°F (190°C), then add the beef in small batches and cook until browned and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels before using in your stir fry.

By using these cooking techniques along with tenderizing methods such as velveting, baking soda, cornstarch, or chemical tenderizers, you can ensure that your beef stir fry is not only delicious but also tender and juicy.