May 26, 2016

Braised Chicken Feet With Salted Black (Soy) Beans

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The first time I had chicken feet was in a Thai restaurant in Hong Kong in the early 90s. The dish was a salad, I think. I never had it again and only started buying them a few years ago to make into healthy soup. We never ate it at home or in restaurants.

A few weeks ago, I got one serving of chicken feet in a dimsum restaurant and the flavor immediately reminded me of the noodles I had the first time I went to Hong Kong. The noodles were sold from a cart on the street. The food carts during that time appear on the streets of Hong Kong [near Causeway Bay] after all the department stores have closed. From our hotel window, I could see the steam coming from the large cauldron and the aroma wafting up to our room was calling my name. It was February, cold, and I was pregnant with my first child. I had to have those noodles regardless of the questionable cleanliness of the place. Those noodles were so delicious and tasted exactly like the dimsum chicken feet.

I never knew braised chicken feet with fermented soy beans is a dimsum favorite. We often go to dimsum but never tried them. At least now I know they are very yummy and not too complicated to prepare at home. I read that the correct way to make them is deep frying the feet first, then marinating before braising. I have no time nor the desire to deep fry anything so I went straight to boiling them. They are as good as the restaurant's.

Braised Chicken Feet With Salted Black (Soy) Beans
1 pound chicken feet
2 tablespoon light olive oil
1 cup chopped scallions
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice powder 
4 tablespoons raw sugar
1 star anise
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons salted black (soy) beans sauce
1 cup dry sherry or rice wine or white wine
1 -2 cups water
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder, optional
  • Wash feet very well. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil for 2 minutes. Drain and discard water. Rinse with cold water and drain well.
  • Using sharp kitchen shears, clip off the nails. 
  • Pat dry feet.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot. Stir fry scallions, fresh ginger, and 5-spice powder for 1 minute. Add chicken feet and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients and 1 cup water. Add cayenne if you prefer them a little spicy.
  • Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, and cook, covered, for 2 hours. until sauce has thickened and feet are plump and tender, adding more water during cooking if needed. 
  • Serve with steamed baby bokchoy. 


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