Chicken feet dishes are common in cuisines in many countries, but Chinese dim sum is one of the best known worldwide. The recipe is long and requires you to fry, salt and sauté the chicken legs, then cover them with a delicious sauce.
Serves 4 to 6 servings
900 g of chicken feet
- 1 dessert spoon (15 ml) of salt.
- 1 L of cold water.
1 L of vegetable oil or peanut oil
- 1 cup (250 ml) of boiling water.
- 6 star anise.
- 4 5-cm slices of ginger.
- 1 cinnamon in the shell.
- 6 dehydrated bay leaves.
- 6 carnations from India.
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of salt.
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) of rice wine.
- 1 L of cold water.
sautéing the broth
- 1 L of water.
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) of rice wine.
- 2 star anises.
- 4 chives cut into large pieces.
- A 2.5 cm piece of ginger sliced.
- 2 dessert spoons (30 ml) of oyster sauce.
- 2 dessert spoons (30 ml) of soy sauce.
- 1 dessert spoon (15 ml) of Chinese black bean sauce.
- 1 dessert spoon (15 ml) of sugar.
- 1 dessert spoon (15 ml) of rice wine.
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of ground white pepper.
- 2 small chilis, cut into small pieces.
- 2 sliced garlic cloves.
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of cornstarch.
- 2 dessert spoons (15 ml) of cold water.
Method 1 of 5: Preparing
Step 1. Cut your nails
Use kitchen scissors or a cleaver to cut off the nails on the tips of the chicken's feet.
You can also separate the sole of the foot from the leg bone by cutting the joint if you prefer. Both parts can be prepared and cooked in the same way. Separating them makes it easier to fry the chicken's feet, but it does away with their specific look
Step 2. Wash your feet in salt water
Mix a dessert spoon (15 ml) of salt in 1 L of cold water. Soak the chicken feet in the salt water and rub them in with your fingers.
- Rub your feet together underwater to remove all dirt and debris.
- Remove the outer layer of yellowish, flaky skin. If you can't get these pieces out by hand, use kitchen scissors to cut them.
Step 3. Rinse and dry thoroughly
Take the crow's feet out of the salt water and rinse under cold running water. Drain and dry your feet thoroughly with a paper towel.
- It is very important to dry your feet thoroughly after rinsing to reduce spillage when frying them.
- After drying the feet, place them on a clean plate while preparing the oil for frying.
Method 2 of 5: Frying
Step 1. Heat the oil
Put 1 L of vegetable or peanut oil in an iron pan. Put the pan on the fire and heat up to 180 degrees.
- If you don't have an iron pan, use a thick wok skillet or a deep fryer.
- The ideal is to measure the temperature of the oil with your own thermometer, but if you don't have one, throw a piece of white bread in the oil. The bread will brown in about 10 seconds when the oil is hot enough.
Step 2. Fry the feet until they turn brown
Carefully place the chicken feet in the hot oil using a tongs or chopsticks to cook. Fry for three to seven minutes, or until they turn brownish in color.
- The oil will likely spill, so be careful. Protect yourself with the lid of the pan when putting the chicken feet in the oil. Do not throw them into the pan.
- Cover the pan while the feet fry, leaving a small opening.
Step 3. Drain the oil on a paper towel
Carefully remove the chicken feet from the hot oil and place them in a bowl or dish covered with a paper towel.
You can also drain the oil from the crow's feet into paper bags, as long as they are clean
Step 4. Repeat as many times as necessary
Fry and drain the remaining pieces of chicken feet in small amounts.
Fry only three or four feet at a time. The temperature of the oil drops whenever you put the crow's feet in, but the drop won't be as sudden if the pot isn't full. If it is full, the oil will cool down and you may not fry your feet properly
Method 3 of 5: Salting
Step 1. Mix most of the brine ingredients
In a large bowl, mix together the boiling water, star anise, ginger, cinnamon shell, dried bay leaves, cloves and salt. Stir the mixture until the salt completely dissolves.
You can prepare the brine before or after frying the chicken. Choose what you find easiest. If you prepare it beforehand, cover it and let it rest at room temperature until it is time to use it
Step 2. Dip the chicken feet in the brine
Place the fried feet in the pan with the brine so that it covers them completely.
Step 3. Add the other ingredients
Put the rice wine and cold water in the bowl with the brine and chicken feet, and stir carefully to mix the ingredients.
The water must be almost cold. The low temperature will cause the temperature of the brine and chicken feet to drop, ending the cooking process
Step 4. Refrigerate for two hours
Cover the pan and place in the fridge. Let the chicken marinate in the brine for at least two hours.
After two hours, don't be scared if the crow's feet are swollen. This is normal and can even give a better texture to the dish
Step 5. Drain and discard the brine
Turn the contents of the bowl into a colander. Separate the chicken feet and discard the rest of the brine.
Method 4 of 5: Braising
Step 1. Mix the stir-fry ingredients
Place the water, rice wine, star anise, spring onions and ginger in a large skillet or iron pot. Heat over medium high and bring the broth to a boil.
Step 2. Add the chicken feet
Carefully place your feet in the boiling broth. Put them directly in the water instead of throwing them into the pot.
- After placing the chicken feet in the stir-fry, let the liquid boil once more.
- As soon as it boils, turn the heat down to continue boiling.
Step 3. Cook until feet are tender
Partially cover the pan and let the chicken feet cook until tender. The process should take an hour and a half to two hours.
- Check frequently and stir the chicken feet while they cook.
- When they're done, you should be able to cut the meat to the bone using a regular fork.
Step 4. Drain the liquid
Turn the contents of the pan into a colander. Set aside ½ cup (125 ml) of broth and all the chicken feet.
Once you have separated the ½ cup (125 ml), discard the rest of the broth
Method 5 of 5: Serving
Step 1. Combine sauce and stock ingredients
Place ½ cup (125 ml) broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Chinese black bean sauce, sugar, rice wine, white pepper, chili and garlic in a large wok skillet. Heat at medium high temperature.
Stir and heat the sauce until it boils. Bring to medium heat to continue boiling
Step 2. Beat cornstarch and water
While the sauce is boiling, beat a teaspoon (5 ml) of cornstarch and a dessert spoon (30 ml) of cold water until the mixture is doughy.
Immediately mix the paste with the sauce. Continue beating and boiling the sauce until it incorporates all the paste
Step 3. Add the chicken feet
Put your feet in the boiling sauce. Cook for five to 10 minutes or until the chicken feet are completely hot.
The sauce should thicken throughout the process. When you're done, it should be thick and strong enough to stick to your feet
Step 4. Serve immediately
Place sauce-covered chicken feet on trays and eat immediately if desired.
Step 5. You can also store the chicken feet and steam them the next day
If you want to allow more time for the flavors to mix, place the chicken feet in the fridge and reheat them before serving the next day.
- Put the covered chicken feet in a steam-resistant dish. Once they are at room temperature, cover the plate and let it cool in the fridge.
- The next day, place a steaming basket on top of a pot of boiling water. Place the chicken feet in the basket and heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve the chicken feet warm.