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Chicken Feet


bleudauvergne
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I've recently had an operation and am at home without much to do. When cooking I've been favoring the long cooking less labor intensive dishes, because I'm not up to much. But oh my goodness did I have a huge craving for chicken feet today. They're really rather simple to prepare, my Chinese Ayi showed me when I lived in Beijing.

First you get the scales off and parboil them. There are lots of places you can buy them ready to cook, with the scales already off. They're kind of a bother to peel, as I discovered once when I cajoled my poulet de Bresse vendor once to give me all of his feet.

Today I got a friend to bring me some already de-scaled from Chinatown. What I do is throw them in a pot with star anise, cloves, a little ginger, and a good spoonful of salt, bring to a boil, and simmer for an hour and a half. Then I turn off the heat and let them cool down to room temp. My method of eating them is to first pick the claws off. I don't debone them, I like them better with the bones because there's some nice cartilage in them that adds texture in between the digits. I always save the meaty pad for last. :smile: The broth is lovely and nourishing. I am eating these alone, as my husband does not particularly like chicken feet. :sad:

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I'd love to hear other's recipes and stories. I know that chicken feet are not only eaten in China, but my father, who was a deep Southerner (U.S.), also loved them in his youth. I have only had them prepared the Chinese way since we didn't carry that tradition along with us growing up.

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Old-time Jewish Ashkenazic cookery also placed great, well, stock in the use of chicken feet — known as fiselakh in Yiddish — which contain lots of gelatin and thus serve to thicken the soup nicely.... Like calves' feet, chicken feet are today seen by most Jewish cooks as somehow primitive and to be avoided, and so the traditionally minded soup-makers must seek out chicken feet in the butcher shops and live poultry markets of immigrant groups more recently arrived, and less thoroughly Americanized in their foodways
The Forward article ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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When i go to china, I really look foward to the end of the day eating chicken feet and a cold tsing tao.. So good.. They have them free at a lot of the bars.. The chicken foot has taken on a strange symbol of relaxiation to me.. :biggrin:

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Here's a more end of the day kind of photo of the feet I am eating now.  Yes, a cold Qing Dao would be perfect just about now with these feet.  Sorry about the first creepy pic.   :smile:

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Some people like to soak there feet at the end of the day, and others like soaked feet at the end of theirs.

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I had a friend who told tales of Taiwanese movie-goers buying a box of chicken feet the way Americans purchase popcorn, and then noisily spitting the toenails out while the movie rolled.

Perhaps that image subverted my one foray into feet-eating; I got down a couple but quickly found other delights on the dim sum cart.

GG: Maybe old Tommy Keller had an Ashkenazy bubbie, as he is also a strong advocate he foot-in-stock technique (as, through the work of the master, I have become).

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The broth is like ambrosia. Really just as good as the feet. It packs a powerful chicken punch. It almost reminds me of the country version of the last consomme I prepared. Plus the star anise ... In my circles it's totally appropriate to spit the bones. No messier than eating a taco in my opinion.

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GG: Maybe old Tommy Keller had an Ashkenazy bubbie, as he is also a strong advocate he foot-in-stock technique (as, through the work of the master, I have become).

Odds are that Keller has very little Jewish ancestry but if I could claim him as a long-lost relation, I see no conflict of interest there :rolleyes: ...

:laugh: and it might even help me get one of those scarce-as-hen's-teeth reservations at TFL ... (poor choice of words? or brilliant? you decide!!)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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The stock is like ambrosia.  Really just as good as the feet.  It packs a powerful chicken punch.  It almost reminds me of the country version of the last consomme I made.  Plus the star anise ...

Yes, that second picture is more soothing... thank you.

I would definitely put chicken feet in stock, but eating? They seem to be all about bone and gristle and soft (not crispy) skin. Although the pad was mentioned, so maybe some meat is hidden there. I try to be open minded and did try them after some encouragement from the eGullet crowd, but to no avail. I just don't like munching on them.

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They should not be overcooked, because there is cartilage there that tastes very good for you if you don't cook it out of existence. I once had a yucky batch in London, they had simmered them till there was nothing left and I felt like I was eating sacks of bones. However if you do prepare them yourself, and don't simmer them for hours and hours, you should be able to enjoy the nice texture of the flesh in the feet. I must tend to the other dinner now.

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I follow a traditional recipe that marinades the feet and then slow cooks them. The toes are removed first though! "The Chinese Kitchen" by Yin-Fei Lo. -Dick

Dick, can you tell us what the marinade consists of? I'd like to expand my horizons on this one of a kind dish.

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The broth is like ambrosia.  Really just as good as the feet.  It packs a powerful chicken punch.  It almost reminds me of the country version of the last consomme I prepared.  Plus the star anise ...  In my circles it's totally appropriate to spit the bones.  No messier than eating a taco in my opinion.

I got no problem with bone spitting, though I would have thought the French had a special chicken foot fork or something to make that unneccessary. :laugh:

It was the idea of sitting in a darkened room surrounded by people making that little "thhhpt" sound and the tinkle (as my friend described it) of bones and nails on concrete that kind of put me off my (chicken?) feed.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The broth is like ambrosia.  Really just as good as the feet.  It packs a powerful chicken punch.  It almost reminds me of the country version of the last consomme I prepared.  Plus the star anise ...  In my circles it's totally appropriate to spit the bones.  No messier than eating a taco in my opinion.

I got no problem with bone spitting, though I would have thought the French had a special chicken foot fork or something to make that unneccessary. :laugh:

It was the idea of sitting in a darkened room surrounded by people making that little "thhhpt" sound and the tinkle (as my friend described it) of bones and nails on concrete that kind of put me off my (chicken?) feed.

A special fork? Oh goodness no, the French don't eat the feet! I wouldn't even serve them to the adventurous French friends unless they had a special history with them or said they liked them. It was very funny when I served the poulet de Bresse feet. It was with a Chinese friend. She and I were having a good time in the kitchen skinning them but it took a long time. Therefore we started with the meal before the feet were done. We then realized that they were way undercooked when I brought them out to the table, but I wanted to serve them because she'd been with me all evening. We all had a good time and gnawed on these tough feet for the heck of it. My husband (French) did the same, though quietly and with less gusto. We had a good time, or so I thought. My husband later expressed to me that he really didn't like the experience at all. I have spared him the horror of eating chicken feet since. I have full respect for his food aversions. I'll see if I can dig up some photos from that evening, they're funny.

:smile:

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My Father makes the Jewish-style fiselkh. They look very similar to the photos that were posted here but he gives the feet, well...a manicure first by cutting off the tips of the fingers.

South Florida

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We had a lot of fun the night I brought the feet home from the Bresse producer. I can't say why we thought it was so funny. My Chinese friend and I have both been here for several years, she is from the area of China where I spent the most time, and we really share a certain humor. We thought it was just so perfect that we were preparing those feet that night. I guess you had to be there. :smile:

This is the same friend who went and got me some feet this morning. You know you have a friend when she'll go to Chinatown for you and drop a sack of chicken feet off at your house, no questions asked.

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The first time you try chicken feet is the hardest. As for me, I just kept telling myself: "This is what makes everyone's grandmother's chicken soup so good." I always make sure the dim sum cart bearing them doesn't pass me by without stopping, and I always add at least a couple of feet to my chicken soup.

Chicken feet = essence of chicken.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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To de-scale and peel chicken feet, dunk them into boiling water for about a minutes, then cold water and the scales come off easily.

To cook: GOLDEN PHOENIX CLAWS

I brush my feet - chicken feet, that is, with maltose first, then deep fry until golden brown. This first step makes the feet light and fluffy. Drain well.

Boil some water with fresh ginger, star anise, cilantro roots (if you can get them). Add the feet, bring back to a boil and simmer for about 1.5 hours.

Then I make a marinade of oyster sauce, sugar, soya sauce, sake or cooking wine, chili peppers (you decide on the heat), minced garlic, pepper, mashed black beans and sesame oil. Marinate the feet for 24 hours. Just before serving, steam feet WITH the marinate for 15 minutes and serve.

I have made a big pile at one time, put into plastic containers and into the freezer. When I get the hungries, just thaw, heat and spit! :laugh:

Hubby and the kids can't be bothered eating feet that have been scratching all over a barnyard. I prefer them over popcorn!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I love chicken feet, or phoenix claws as the Cantonese call them, but I don't have any experience preparing them.

The ones I've had the most all seem to have been braised in a dark sauce, probably dark and light soy, star anise, ginger, garlic, black bean paste, and maybe some Chinese five spice? I think it's important to use quite a lot of spices, as sometimes you can get chicken feet with a particular odour, that you also sometimes get with boiled chicken. I think par-boiling the chicken feet first would help to get rid of this odour.

But done right, chicken feet are truly delightful. I like mine on the soft side, such that when I have bitten off a mouthful of digits, it's easy to separate the cartilage from the bones by just maneuvering them between the tongue and the top of the mouth. Once that's accomplished, one simply spit the little bones out, kinda like how one would deal with watermelon seeds.

I like chicken feet more for the texture, not that I mean to discount their taste. I think the way that they're prepared in dim sum restaurants, where I usually eat them, is a fairly common braising method that can be used to prepare a number of meat dishes. The flavour is not that unique, and the natural chicken feet taste is less dominant in comparison to the spices added.

I have seen recipes where the chicken feet are first deep fried before being braised, so that the skin pucker up like prunes in the finished product.

Edited to add: Ahhh Dejah... I see that I've just repeated a lot of what you posted. :raz: Teaches me for being a slow poster. :biggrin:

Edited by Laksa (log)
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I like the "white cloud"(direct translation) chicken feet in dim sum, it is served cold and I think it is marinated with chili and vinegar. It is also called Thai style chicken feet.

There are deboned chicken feet in the market but I would be scare to get them. How did they manage to all those tiny bones out of the feet? There are stories that chicken feet prepared in China is placed in bleach to make them appear more clean and white. Anyways, I am still eating chicken feet but prefer to do them in the privacy of my home. When grandma comes back home, I will ask her to make me a big batch of chicken feet. :biggrin:

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We had an older thread about chicken feet but I can't seem to find it!

I like the nice, brown braised chicken feet at dim sum, but not the white ones. I also love the chicken feet my mom throws into her chicken soup. The bones get slightly soft and the cartilage is just delectable. I don't understand the purpose of boned chicken feet; why would I want to eat chicken feet without the bones?

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