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Very Tender Chicken Breasts

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
This may drive our professional chefs nuts, but... I have always been able to closely replicate dishes I have enjoyed in restaurants within one or two tries. However, there is one, I can't even come close to.

Any number of cheap Newark, NJ lunch have a buffet with pricing based on weight. They are invariably Asian-owned but theonly Asian dishes are a fried rice and a lo mein. The buffets are usually filled with cold dishes with a few hot ones.

One dish they all seem to have is chicken breast in a piccata-like sauce. The chicken breast half is full thickness - i.e., not pounded thin.
It is exceptionally tender with a rather unique mouth feel. One would almost think it was ground very fine and then reformed - but not quite.

The sauce is somewhat lemony and about the consistency of a turkey gravy.

I know it sounds awful, but I grew fond of the whole thing.

Does anyone know how they get chicken that tender? I suspect it is a flavorless or mild marinade of some kind rather than a cooking technique but I can't duplicate it.

How about the sauce? I suspect the thickener is a type of roux rather than a corn/waterchestnut/potato starch but it hasd absolutley none of the typicalroux mouth feel. Plus it keeps consistency in the warming pans.Any ideas how it is made?
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Don't mess with dragons. You will be crispy and taste good with catsup.
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post #2 of 12
Difficult to say really but I'd guess the chix breast is brined to give it the texture you are describing. As for the sauce, perhaps a potato starch or arrow root? They have a neutral flavor and produce a cleaner looking sauce. Flour (in a roux) or cornstach tends to dull the apperance of a sauce.

Jock
post #3 of 12
the chicken is princessed. this is done by putting room temp ck into a container with just enough water to surround and cover. the pot is then tightly lidded and the contents brought to a boil. when that happens, it is taken off the fire, still lidded, and left to sit out of the breeze for one hour. then the ck is stripped. this is also referred to as 'velvet chicken'. now the sauce? that, i got no clue.:smoking:
post #4 of 12
I thought velveting included the cornstarch coating with a fry time? And turned "velvet" in the sauce?

Phil
post #5 of 12
'princessed' chicken is an ingredient in 'velvet chicken'. at least, it is at the 'New Peking' in everett, wa i don't know if this is a classic dish or a name the cook made up or what; but i ordered it and then bugged the chinese lady who owned the place until she told me how it was made. she explained that 'princessing' makes the chicken soft, white and sweet, like a princess. ive come across the method in other chinese cooking books- the old 70's time-life book describes it. as far as the specific dish' velvet chicken' goes, i dunno. i only use the cooking method. it's great during the summer when you dont want to steam up the whole house and the chilled meat takes up a sauce or dressing like magic.
post #6 of 12
I'm basing my knowledge of velveting from Jeff Smith, where it's an egg cornstarch marinade then frying briefly, then into the sauce.

But princessing makes sense too.

Phil
post #7 of 12
hey, i'll bow to jeff smith. anyway, thats a method of getting the unique, soft chicken.
now somebody figure out cape codders 'piccata-like sauce'! thats got me stumped.
post #8 of 12
When I first read capecodder's post I thought "pumped chicken". I hope not. Pumping is one of my pet peeves and the reason I never buy frozen, pre-portioned boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
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post #9 of 12
Tell us more details about the sauce. Light ? Dark? Clear? Creamy? Thick? Thin? Describe Distinguishable ingredients? Etc...:chef:
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One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #10 of 12

Tender Chicken

Cape

You can Marinade it in a citrus mixture of lemon lime and orange juice.

you do not have to cover it just pour a little on each on each piece and let it set for no more than 4 hours because the citrus will break the meat down and make it mushy. The other key to cooking Chicken is always low and slow.

Tracy Carter
www.jacstailgaters.com
post #11 of 12
Wait...

are you guys sure it's chicken? :P
post #12 of 12
I use to work with this crazy chinese banquet chef in a hotel once. He use to cook his chicken from the frozen point and it always came out tender. In fact, pretty much like how its being desscribed. My problem with this is that you take a real chance of semonilla poinsoning. Ya but he use to put it on a rack, on the tray with a little water in the tray and cook it at 375 F for maybe 15 - 20 minutes. Always came out. Or he would braise it in a sauce but always frozen. I like the princess method though. Do you think this is dangerous though. Do you leave it there for very long and is it then finished for service or do you do that a la minute?
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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