Tonawanda News

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July 31, 2012

Tenderize chicken with baking soda

Tonawanda News — Ever wonder how Chinese restaurants get their chicken so moist? So ... well, almost fluffy?

No matter how hard I try, chicken — especially of the white meat variety — is always a little dry, at worst a little tough, when I cook it. 

That is until pen-pal friend Rick Schrager from The Letter Project told me about the magic powers of baking soda. Not only does this stuff keep your fridge smelling fresh and leaven your baked goods, it can help make your chicken “beautifully white and pillowy plump,” as Rick described it.

He shared his recipe for an admittedly not-very-Chinese cashew chicken by way of example and to my delight, it gave me a chance to try cooking with edamame beans at the same time. I had tried edamame for the first time in May at a sushi restaurant, steamed with a little bit of salt. Served that way, they taste a bit like soft peanuts ... delicious!

In this stir fry, they’re more cooked so they lose a bit of that crunch, but still delightful all the same.

The wonderful thing about a nice stir fry is that you can really use any vegetables you prefer. The combination of carrots, water chestnuts and edamame was particularly pleasing to me ... I’m a fan of my veggies having a bit of snap or crunch to them. But you could easily use mushrooms, bell peppers, snow peas, broccoli, bok choy, those little mini corncob things, the sky’s the limit. You could even go the super easy route and just grab a bag of the frozen stir fry vegetables at the super market.

As for the chicken, I would recommend cutting it into pretty small, bite-sized pieces. Mine were just a touch on the large side, but thankfully the baking soda had tenderized it so much, I could easily cut through the meat with a fork (and the plastic spoon I used on my leftovers at work the next day). 

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