This quick and simple stir-fry features cod that's been water-velveted—an easy technique that guarantees tender, silky meat. Light, delicate and full of gently cooked vegetables, it's a perfect dish in a multi-course meat-heavy menu.
Why this recipe works:
- Marinating the cod in a mixture of cornstarch, egg white, wine, and seasonings—a process known as velveting--guarantees silky, tender meat.
- Par-cooking the meat in a bath of boiling water with just a little oil is much easier for home cooks than the more traditional hot-oil-bath method, with equally good results.
Note: To make egg white easy to measure, beat it with a fork until it has a thinner viscosity.
- For the Cod:
- 1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten (see note)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or sake
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 pound cod or other firm white-fleshed fish such as halibut, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vegetable, canola, or peanut oil
- For the Stir-Fry:
- 3 tablespoons homemade chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium broth
- 1 medium clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon vegetable, canola, or peanut oil
- 1/4 pound yellow squash, sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 1/4 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
- Kosher salt
- Cooked white rice, for serving
For the Cod: In a small bowl, thoroughly combine egg white, cornstarch, rice wine, and salt. Place cod in a bowl and pour cornstarch mixture on top, tossing gently to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Fill a wok with the water, bring to a boil, and add oil. Add cod and cook, stirring with chopsticks or a strainer, until opaque outside and still raw within, about 30 seconds. Gently drain cod in a colander and gently shake to remove excess water. Wipe wok clean and dry.
For the Stir-Fry: In a small bowl, combine chicken stock, garlic, sesame oil, and cornstarch and mix well.
Heat vegetable oil in wok over high heat until smoking. Add squash and asparagus and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Add cod and continue to cook, turning gently to avoid breaking up the fish, for 1 minute. Add sauce, season with salt, and cook, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens and coats fish and vegetables. Transfer to a platter and serve with white rice.