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How do I cook chicken to be really soft? Answered

How do I make chicken really soft after cooking , like they do in chinese restaurants? It invariably becomes a bit hard.
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8 Replies

BLASTFEMI (author)2014-10-04

The way to make the best chicken or turkey is to brine it first. You can cook it anyway you want from there-bake, crockpot, steam or saute`. If you want super soft chicken without brining, you can pressure cook it for 15 minutes, as per your cooker instructions.

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Jayefuu (author)2014-09-17

Look up "velvet chicken". There are lots of instructions for it on Instructables.

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Triclaw (author)2014-09-15

Heat it low and slow in a sauce 165 for 2 hours that's how you do it after cooking. They keep it in a heat table for 2 or more hours and it softens whilel in the table.

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mole1 (author)2014-09-15

We put the chicken thighs (skin on) in a covered baking pan at 350 degrees F for 2.5 to 3 hours. The meat is soft and falls off the bones. Towards the end, if you want, you can pour off excess liquid and add sauce of some sort. If you want the skin less flabby, you can finish by taking the cover off and broiling the chicken pieces until the skin is the color you like... maybe 5 minutes?

Another method (like rickharris's) might be better for leaner chicken pieces - like breasts.

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rickharris (author)2014-09-15

This is how I do it.

Put chicken in a roasting pan with a tray in it so the chicken is above the base. Put about a pint (500 ml) water in the bottom - I put a chopped up onion in there because I will use this water to make the gravy afterwards.

Cover with aluminium foil wrapping tightly round the pan edge to keep the steam in.

Cook for normal time - for a 2 pound chicken - about 1 hour at 160 deg C

Then remove the foil - Raised the temp to 200 deg C for another 15 mins or until the skin is browned.

Remove chicken and allow to rest for at least 15 mins under loose foil whilst you make the gravey.

Now I have 2 ovens so I make the roast potatoes in the other oven because they will not roast at 160 degC.

Never fails for me.

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JM1999 (author)2014-09-15

Have you ever heard of a "Thermos"?

We use them all the time and always get perfect meat.

You put your desired food in the pot, warm it up for 5 minutes an then put the pot into the thermos unit, it stays warm for about 15 hours, if you take it out at 5 hours it will be to hot to eat, 8 hours will still be too hot to eat, 10-15 hours is about gulping temperature so you can cook your meal in the morning an eat it for either lunch or dinner!

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bwrussell (author)2014-09-15

A slow cooker (crockpot) will make most meats soft, given enough time.

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seandogue (author)2014-09-15

Although I can't speak to how they cook chicken in Chinese restaurants (and frankly, even though I like Chinese american food on occasion, I really don't want to know what goes on behind the doors of their kitchens. I'm afraid to know ;) ), I have been battling chicken for three decades, and this is what I've found.

Five tricks for the oven:

1) Cook it a lower temperature. 325-375F is recommended for baked chicken. 325 when you want it soft. 375 for crisp skin. (I often cook at 3256, then as a final step, because I love the skin, I crank it up to 375 or 400 for the final ~5 minutes and baste it to render out as much of the fat as possible from the skins so they crisp up

2) Do not cook too long. Over cooking will result in dry meat

3) Leave the skin on, at least while cooking. The skin will trap moisture.

4) as soon as the meat rests (5-10 minutes after removing from the oven) put it on a platter, wrap with cellophane/saran-wrap, and put in the fridge to chill.

5) use the top rack. It took me years to learn this (at least with my oven). Top rack produces more consistent results, although for whatever reason, it seems to take a little longer to crisp the skin


**You can also poach or boil the chicken, which I believe my mom used to do when she was making chicken and dumplings when I was a kid. That tends to suck out the flavor though (the gravy put it back in as a post step). My guess is that chinese restaurants do it this way, since the chicken in Chinese restaurant dishes tends to be flavorless on its own. (try it for yourself. Bring home some and wash off a few pieces under the tap. Then eat them (before you dig into the rest of your meal) I think you'll find it has almost no flavor of its own.

In general I'd suggest (having been there) that most of the time, people simply cook it a little too long or a little too "fast" (too high a cook temp) or both!, leading to overhard/dry meat.

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