How to Velvet Beef in Water (Bak Cheuk): A Healthier Alternative for Tender Stir Fries

*FYI - this post may contain affiliate links, which means we earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from them. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out our Privacy Policy and Disclosure for more info.

If you’re hoping to make tender beef dishes but want to cut down on the amount of oil you use, then this post is going to teach you a healthier velveting technique known as Bak Cheuk.

That’s right – you can make tender, restaurant-quality stir fries without relying on oil-heavy cooking techniques!

How? Read on for the full scoop.

What is Bak Cheuk?

Bak Cheuk is a Chinese cooking technique that has no real English equivalent. Google Translate would say that it (more or less) means “boiling”, but that word alone doesn’t quite capture the technique of Bak Cheuk.

Essentially, Bak Cheuk is a form of velveting that involves passing your meat through hot water, as opposed to hot oil, which is what most restaurant-style stir fry recipes call for.

And while the term ‘Bak Cheuk’ is usually linked to Bak Cheuk Ha (白灼蝦), AKA White Boiled Shrimp, it’s a technique that can actually be applied to other ingredients to yield a tender (yet relatively healthy) result.

Papa G recommends Bak Cheuk as a ‘lighter’ way to tenderize beef for popular dishes like Beef and Broccoli, Stir Fried Beef with Ginger and Onion or Beef and Tomato Stir Fry.

While the results may not be AS tender as flash frying the meat in oil first, it’s a close substitute, and definitely worth a try!

Ingredients for ‘Bak Cheuk’ing Your Beef

As with any velveting technique, the magic happens in the marinade.

Whether you end up velveting your beef with oil or water, marinating the beef first in a tenderizing mixture.

Here is the marinade that Papa G recommends, for every 250g of beef:

  • 1/2 egg white (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp oil

How to Bak Cheuk Beef: Step by Step

Mix your beef, soy sauce, cooking wine, baking soda, cornstarch, and half of your water (2 tbsp) and mix well.

30 minutes later, add in the rest of your water (2 tbsp), along with a table spoon of oil). Mix, cover and keep in the fridge.

Boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, add your beef in, and stir to ensure the pieces don’t stick to each other or the bottom of the pan.

When the beef is about 80% done (still a little pink), drain it and run it under cold water for about a minute. Drain and set aside.

Any Questions About Velveting Beef in Water?

Let me know in the comments!

Leave a Comment