Shrimp overcooks easily, going from translucent and tender to tough and chewy within seconds. To prevent toughness, Asian restaurants and home cooks use a "velveting" process that tenderizes shrimp with a corn-starch marinade followed by a quick blanching. Restaurants blanch velvet shrimp in oil, as it requires a copious amount. At home, you can blanch in water and produce the same supple texture.
Mix equal parts cornstarch, egg white, baking soda and rice wine in a mixing bowl. Submerge the shrimp in the marinade.
Marinate the shrimp in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse the shrimp; they should slightly opaque on the outside but translucent throughout.
Drain the shrimp and dry them with paper towels. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to it.
Blanch the shrimp for 30 seconds in the water and transfer them to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and dry the shrimp then cook them to taste. All cooking techniques -- including roasting, grilling and stir-frying -- will produce soft, tender flesh.