Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Cantonese Chicken’s Feet
Growing up in Hong Kong, it was very often the occasion to go to Dim Sum for lunch. A traditional Dim Sum is when you are seated (often rather haphazardly, and sometimes at a table with complete strangers as there is not enough room for a table of your own), and trolleys of delicious food (sometimes called hor d'oeuvres-style) are pushed around by women. The atmosphere is very loud, plates thrown across a table by harried-waiters getting them set before the next patrons are walked over to the table.
Lunchtimes are not a quiet affair in Hong Kong, especially in the restaurants serving Dim Sum.
One of my Mum's favourite dishes was chicken feet... otherwise known as Phoenix Claws in the West. This was often met by stares by other patrons, and nervous laughter of the serving girls, as they waited to see a white woman put a chicken foot in her mouth, and delicately remove the meat from the bone, while IN the mouth, and then elegantly spit out the bones!
It has also become one of my most favourite Dim Sum treats also... in the "main course" arena that is.
In Chinese this is known as Fung Jao
1 pound chicken feet (about 1 dozen)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 quarts oil
2-inch piece of fresh ginger
3 pieces star anise
For the marinade:
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons black bean sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shao-xing rice wine, sake, or vermouth
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1 ounce dried red chile pepper, broken up, or 1 jalapeño, sliced
1. Wash feet thoroughly in cold water. With kitchen shears, clip off the toenails.
2. Very carefully dry each individual foot, so as to minimize the splattering of oil later on. Place the feet in a dry bowl and toss to coat with the sugar. The sugar will help the feet to brown in the oil.
3. Bring the pot of oil to 300°F. If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the oil by dropping in one chicken’s foot. The feet should take approximately 5 to 8 minutes to reach a light golden brown color. Every few minutes, very carefully move the feet around with a metal tong, to promote even frying.
4. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. As soon as the feet are done frying, remove them with a metal tong and immediately plunge them into the bowl of ice water. At first, the feet will float on the surface, but eventually they will soak up the water and sink into the bowl. Let sit for ten or so minutes. You will notice that the feet will start to puff up, looking very wrinkled and bloated.
5. Bring a pot of water to boil and add toss in the ginger and star anise. Add the feet and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. The feet will be very tender and engorged by the time they are done cooking.
6. During the last half hour of simmering, combine all the marinade ingredients in one medium bowl. Gently mix the simmered feet with the marinade, and let cool before refrigerating. Marinade the feet overnight, or for up to twenty-four hours. The next day, steam the feet along with their marinade for fifteen minutes, using a bamboo steamer or a metal insert. Serve piping-hot.
I LOVE chicken feet and found this recipe here: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/08/cantonese-chicken-feet-jalapenos-black-bean-sauce-dim-sum-recipe.html