Sticky and tender Dim Sum Chicken Feet will fill your kitchen with aromatic scents of the Orient! A delicious side or appetizer to your favorite dish.
Chicken feet are a popular delicacy not only in Asia but also Africa and Eastern Europe. Each country have their own variation of chicken feet recipe depending on the local ingredients available.
I’m only familiar with the dim sum style of China and the street food version of Philippines and both are amazing. I never pass on a chance to order a plate when dining at dim sum restaurant or buy a couple from side street vendors when visiting Philippines .
Dim Sum vs. Adidas
It is fondly called “adidas” in the Philippines based on the famous “foot wear”. Usually considered as street food like fish balls and kwek-kwek, that are boiled then grilled in charcoal. You then have the option to dip it in either spicy vinegar or manong’s sauce.
In China, it is called fèng zhǎo which translates to phoenix talons or phoenix claws. This dim sum staple of the Chinese is cooked by braising the chicken feet is spices and seasoning such as chili powder, black beans and five spice .
What to expect
When you make this homemade dim sum chicken feet, expect a fall-of-the bone treat with amazing flavors. The claw consist mostly of skin and cartilage which is very gelatinous hence sticky. You’ll enjoy some sweetness, savory flavors plus a bit of heat in every bite because of the slow cooking in braising liquid.
Where to buy?
If you’re planning to make this dish, the first thing you need to know is where to buy chicken feet. In Asia, a trip to the wet market will easily reward you with the amount you need. If living abroad like in the U.S. or Europe, like me, you can buy them at Asian stores.
Before cooking, you need to prepare the talons by cutting the tip of the claws where the nails are either with kitchen scissors or a knife. Rub salt on the skin to remove grime and dirt then rinse with water. Pat dry each claw with kitchen towel giving it a squeeze to remove excess water to avoid oil splatter when frying.
Frying, Ice Bath, Braising
The method used in this recipe to cook the talons leans a bit on the traditional side with a pit stop which is ice bath. Deep frying the chicken feet helps break down some of the feet’s stiffness and makes it more plump.
Soaking the feet in water with ice right after frying and letting it soak for at least an hour allows collagen to form giving it the dish its distinctive texture.
Finally cooking the feet low and slow in liquid with spices and seasoning to soak up all the wonderful flavors and tenderize to avoid tough and chewy skin.
Notes on Spices and Seasoning
These are essential ingredients in making chicken feet dish. You can adjust the sweetness by adding more sugar or give it more punch by adjusting the chili powder.
How to serve and store
Tips for an amiable experience
Dim Sum Chicken Feet
- 1 kg chicken feet
- 1 tbsp salt (for rubbing chicken feet)
- 2 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
- 4 cups iced water (for soaking fried chicken feet)
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 thumb sized ginger (chopped)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp black beans
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp five spice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
- 2 cups water
- salt and pepper (for seasoning)
- 1 tsp corn starch dissolve in 1 tbsp water (slurry)
- Place chicken feet in a large bowl and rub with salt to remove grime. Rinse with water and drain.1 kg chicken feet, 1 tbsp salt
- Pat dry chicken feet using disposable kitchen towels. Squeeze while drying to remove excess water.
- In a pot or deep pan, heat 2 cups of vegetable oil over high heat. Fry the chicken in batches for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.2 cups vegetable oil
- Transfer finished fried batches in a bowl with iced water. When all the chicken pieces are soaking in the water, let it sit for at least 1 hour.4 cups iced water
- Heat 3 tbsp of oil used from frying in a wok over high-medium heat. Saute garlic until fragrant the add ginger and sauté for a couple of seconds.3 cloves garlic, 1 thumb sized ginger, 3 tbsp cooking oil
- Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Tip in black beans, chili powder, and five spice. Stir to avoid burning. Pour soy sauce, oyster sauce and Shaoxing wine and stir until incorporated.3 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp black beans, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp five spice, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
- Lower heat and carefully add chicken feet then coat with sauce. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes for flavors to seep in.
- Add water and stir to distribute ingredients. Cover pot with lid and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until chicken feet are tender.2 cups water
- Taste and season with salt and pepper according to preference. Add slurry and mix to incorporate. Simmer for additional 3 minutes and remove from heat. Serve and enjoy! Bon appetit!salt and pepper, 1 tsp corn starch dissolve in 1 tbsp water