To Tenderize or Not: Chicken Rice's Chicken


Some chicken rice stalls opt to use bicarbonate of soda or otherwise known as baking soda to tenderize chicken. Baking soda acts to break down proteins and therefore is sometimes used as a meat tenderizer (also used in baking as a leavener), especially in Chinese cooking. Tenderizing meat is a very classical method which has been done for centuries and it was also done sometimes to add flavor like in marinades. Yet, tenderizers are used commonly to tenderize tough cuts of meat so is it really necessary to tenderize chicken -which in my opinon are not tough cuts of meat at all? No one would tenderize a beef tenderloin right? Some critics rave about the "melt in your mouth" experience with foodstuff. I am not saying that this is a bad expression but when it comes to some cuts and type of meat, isn't is wonderful to chew a chunk of meat and as you chew, more flavor explodes in your mouth? This is all a matter of personal preference but maybe that is the reason why I don't really enjoy A5 rank wagyu beef -melt in your mouth but overly oily. I would rather enjoy an incredible US Prime grade, rib eye that has been dry-aged (natural method of tenderizing beef), where enzymes breakdown proteins and release the umami amino acids. In my opinion, if you cook the chicken at a right temperature that denatures the proteins and controlling the temperature so that the loss of juice kept to a minimum, you do not need any tenderizer to cook a good piece of chicken. The goal is not to have the most tender chicken, the goal is simply, not to lose the juices -this is where a cook needs to pay most attention, namely right cooking temperature entails minimized loss of meat juices.

1 件のコメント:

Tiantianchi さんのコメント...

Your observation is absolutely right and indeed it is not necessary to tenderize chicken meat. Unfortunately, very few people can appreciate the taste of the meat while they get wowed by a soft and tender texture. It is very difficult to tell the difference when you place texture and worst of all, sauce (which should compliment and not overwhelmed) above the chicken itself.