How To Tenderise Beef Strips For Stir Fry? A Simple Guide

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

Fear not, because we have some tips and tricks to help you tenderize your beef strips like a pro!

From using baking soda to velveting techniques, we’ll explore various methods to achieve that perfect texture.

So, grab your wok and let’s get cooking!

How To Tenderise Beef Strips For Stir Fry?

1. Choose the Right Cut of Beef

The first step to tenderizing beef strips for stir fry is to choose the right cut of beef. Opt for premium cuts like flank steak or fillet, as they tend to be more tender. If you’re on a budget, flank steak is a great option as it strikes a balance between tenderness and affordability.

2. Use Baking Soda

One shortcut method to tenderize beef strips is to use baking soda. Simply add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 2-3 tablespoons of water to the beef strips before marinating. Mix and work the baking soda into the beef before marinating. This will skip the rinsing step and tenderize the meat effectively. Increase the marinating time by at least 15 minutes for best results.

3. Try Velveting Techniques

Velveting is a Chinese method of marinating that keeps delicate meat and seafood moist and tender during cooking. To velvet beef strips, coat them 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 the food from overcooking and becoming tough.

4. Slice Beef Strips Thinly

When slicing your beef strips, make sure to cut them against the grain and at a diagonal to form wide strips that are no more than 0.5 cm (0.2 inches) thick. This will help break down the muscle fibers and make the meat more tender.

5. Use Acidic Marinades

Soaking meat in acidic marinades made with lemon or lime juice, vinegar, buttermilk, or yogurt can also help tenderize tough proteins. However, be careful not to leave the meat in the marinade for too long as acids can weaken the protein structure of the meat too much, making it too soft and mushy.

Why Beef Strips Can Be Tough In Stir Fry Dishes

Beef strips can be tough in stir fry dishes because of the cut of meat used. Pre-packaged beef strips for stir fry are often made from cuts that require long-slow cooking, such as chuck or round steak. These cuts are not ideal for stir fry dishes as they become dry and chewy when cooked quickly over high heat.

Another reason why beef strips can be tough is that they are often cut too thickly. Thick strips of beef require longer cooking times, which can result in overcooking the outside while the inside remains undercooked. This can make the meat tough and chewy.

Lastly, cooking beef strips for too long can also make them tough. It is important to cook stir-fries quickly over high heat to prevent the meat from sweating and stewing, which can result in toughness.

To avoid tough beef strips in stir fry dishes, it is important to choose the right cut of beef, slice it thinly against the grain, and cook it quickly over high heat. Using tenderizing techniques like velveting or acidic marinades can also help break down the muscle fibers and make the meat more tender.

Using Baking Soda To Tenderize Beef Strips

Baking soda is a simple and effective way to tenderize beef strips for stir fry. This method works by raising the pH level of the meat’s surface, making it harder for proteins to bond and keeping the meat tender when cooked. To use baking soda, mix 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 2-3 tablespoons of water and work it into the beef strips before marinating. Increase the marinating time by at least 15 minutes for best results.

It’s important to note that using too much baking soda can alter the flavor of the meat, so be careful not to overdo it. Additionally, make sure to thoroughly rinse off the baking soda before cooking the beef strips, or else it may give off a fishy smell and taste weird.

Velveting Technique For Tender Beef Strips

Velveting is a popular Chinese technique used to make beef strips tender and moist during cooking. To velvet beef strips, start by tenderizing the meat and marinating it with seasonings, oil, and cornstarch. The tenderizing step makes the beef soft and moist, while marinating it 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. In most cases, searing the meat in a hot wok is preferred over deep-frying in hot oil, as having a wok full of oil at home is simply not practical. Searing the beef imparts more flavor than the deep-frying method. Some recipes, including soups, will only require cooking the beef in water as the final step.

To velvet beef strips, coat them 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 the food from overcooking and becoming tough. This method works well with pork and chicken as well, especially with chicken breast. If you want to have tender and soft chicken slices that are also difficult to overcook for your hot pot gatherings, velveting is a must.

It’s worth noting that velveting is not just limited to beef stir-fries; it can be used for any type of meat or seafood. Simply adjust the marinating time and pre-cooking method according to the recipe you’re following. With this technique, you can enjoy restaurant-quality dishes right at home!

Marinating Beef Strips For Added Tenderness

Marinating beef strips is another effective way to tenderize them for stir fry. To begin, choose a marinade that contains acidic ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, or citrus juices. These ingredients help to break down the proteins in the meat, making it more tender.

To make the marinade, mix together soy sauce, water, cornstarch, baking soda, white pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl. Add the beef strips to the marinade and let them sit for at least 3 hours. If you plan on marinating the beef strips for longer than 3 hours, reduce the amount of baking soda used as it can over-tenderize the meat.

Another tip is to add a little bit of water to the marinade. This will help rehydrate the meat and make it juicier. When combined with soy sauce, it also creates a mini brine that adds another level of hydration to the beef.

Once the beef strips have marinated, remove them from the marinade and pat them dry. Heat a wok until it’s very hot and add a generous amount of oil. Sear the beef strips in batches until they are browned and crispy on the outside. Remove them from the wok and set them aside.

Next, sauté onions and dried red chilies in the same wok before adding minced garlic. Once fragrant, add all of the beef strips back into the wok and toss them with the garlic. Pour in the sauce and let it sizzle and evaporate while stirring constantly. The cornstarch on the meat will help soak up most of the sauce.

Finally, add scallions and give everything a good toss before serving. For an extra touch of flavor and texture, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top of your stir fry.

Slicing Beef Strips Against The Grain For Optimal Tenderness

When it comes to slicing beef strips, it’s crucial to cut against the grain for optimal tenderness. The grain of the meat refers to the direction in which the muscle fibers run within the piece of meat. Cutting against the grain means cutting through the fibers and making them shorter, resulting in a more tender and easier-to-chew meat.

To determine the direction of the grain, take a close look at your meat and identify the lines running through it. Then, position your knife perpendicular to those lines and slice thinly against them. This technique will help break up the muscle fibers and make the meat more tender.

It’s especially important to slice against the grain when dealing with tougher cuts of beef like flank steak or skirt steak. These cuts have more pronounced long muscle fibers due to their location on the animal and can be quite tough if not sliced correctly. By slicing against the grain, you’ll be able to enjoy a more tender and flavorful dish.

Cooking Beef Strips To Perfection In Stir Fry Dishes

Once you have tenderized your beef strips, it’s important to cook them properly in your stir fry dish to ensure they are cooked to perfection. Here are some tips for cooking beef strips in stir fry dishes:

1. Preheat Your Pan

Before adding your beef strips to the pan, make sure it is heated properly. This will help create a nice sear on the meat and prevent it from sticking to the pan.

2. Don’t Overcrowd the Pan

When cooking beef strips in a stir fry dish, it’s important not to overcrowd the pan. If you add too much meat at once, it will release moisture and steam instead of searing, resulting in tough and rubbery meat. Cook in batches if necessary.

3. Stir Fry Until Browned

Once you’ve added your beef strips to the pan, stir fry until they are browned on all sides. This will give them a nice caramelized flavor and help lock in their juices.

4. Add Flavors

To add flavor to your stir fry dish, you can add minced garlic and ginger, brown sugar, beef broth, and green onions to the pan with your beef strips. This will create a savory and aromatic sauce that will coat the meat nicely.

5. Cook Until Tender

Finally, make sure to cook your beef strips until they are tender and cooked through. This will depend on the thickness of your strips, but generally should take no more than 5-7 minutes. Once they are cooked to your liking, remove them from the pan and set aside before serving with your stir fry dish.