Cantonese Velvet Chicken and Asparagus

A great recipe to practice your velveting technique. Velveting creates a slippery mouthfeel that I adore. This is one of my favorite dishes in the world.


Serves 4-6

Marinate chicken overnight in beaten egg whites mixed with Chinese rice wine, kosher salt, cornstarch, and Chinese chili sauce.

Heat the large volume of oil to 375 degrees and “boil” the chicken for 30 seconds, spreading the chicken out over the oil as you go. Separate the cubes. Concentrate on undercooking the chicken. Strain chicken immediately into a very large colander over a plate, do not stack the chicken. Proceed to stir fry immediately.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add the small volume of oil. Allow the oil to smoke and add the aromatics, move them quickly in the wok, to and fro. After 30 seconds add the chicken and the asparagus and continue to cook for 30 more seconds. Add the liquids and incorporate quickly. Continue to cook for 30-45 seconds and then serve immediately.


Cantonese Velvet Chicken and Asparagus


  • 2 lbs. boneless chicken meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 lb. Asparagus, sliced thin, tips left whole


  • 2 beaten egg whites
  • 2T Chinese rice wine
  • 1t kosher salt
  • 1T cornstarch
  • 2T Chinese chili sauce

For Velveting the Chicken

  • 6 cups peanut oil

The Aromatics

  • 2T peanut oil
  • 2T ground ginger
  • 1T sliced garlic
  • 5T minced scallion
  • Several dried red chilis
  • 1T sugar

The Liquid Seasonings

  • 1T hoisin
  • 3T Chinese rice wine
  • 2T dark soy sauce
  • 1T cornstarch dissolved in 2T water

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