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Nov 26, 2012 01:10 PM

Chicken feet (with toenails still on!) need to be cooked! How should I cook them?

I was in the local market just browsing the meat case, and found packages of chicken feet, with their toenails still intact. I succumbed to temptation, and popped them into my cart. They look beautiful, and I want to make something delicious out of them. DH was horrified, but I think they will be fantastic. I just don't have the faintest idea of what to do with them. What do you suggest?

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  1. I use them to make stock - they contribute an awesome amount of flavor and gelatin. Beyond that, I have no clue - I've never actually eaten them!

    2 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      My friend who is from Chile swears by them fried. How it is done I have no clue. I do buy them occasionally for stock myself.

      1. re: biondanonima

        yes, that's what we do, learned from my mom who believed they gave tremendous boost to chicken soup.

      2. You can red-braise them. Or do phoenix claws like at dim sum.

        11 Replies
        1. re: wattacetti

          What is red-braise, and phoenix claws. Neither of those are familiar to me.

          1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

            Red-braise is just braising in a soy-sauce based braising liquid. There's typically rock sugar, chiles, star anise, ginger, garlic and spring onions in there to boot.

            Phoenix claws are what the feet go by in dim sum restaurants. They're deep-fried, then braised, then marinated, then steamed before serving.

            1. re: wattacetti

              Fung jao (various spellings) are what I call them when we get them at dim sum.

              I'm bumping this thread, probably hopelessly, in hopes of getting something different to do than fung jao or for stock making. I've using them for stock for some years now, along with other parts (necks and backs usually). And I have several recipes for the dim sum dish. I found a Jamaican soup that didn't particularly excite me. Does ANYONE do anything else with these little guys (or gals)? I'd love to here.

              1. re: c oliver

                As I said above, in Chile they are very popular as a deep fried snack. Sort of like chicken wings here.

                1. re: coll


                  That foot looks pretty darn tasty, doesn't it? I froze them six or seven to a pack. I'll try this for sure. Thanks, coll.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    As I told my friend at the time, maybe as a joke on Halloween! Or maybe if I closed my eyes.....

                    1. re: coll

                      Girl, you just don't know what you're missing. Sucking on some good Chinese chicken feet is pretty darn close to heaven :) We had two orders of them as part of our Christmas morning breakfast in SF. Mmmmm.

                2. re: c oliver

                  Well, there's something you can attempt to do, though it really depends on how good your knife skills are.

                  I've only seen a photo of this dish and it was made with goose, but essentially you debone the feet in a manner that the feet stay intact. Then you carefully braise, chill and serve as part of a cold plate at the beginning of your banquet.

                  1. re: wattacetti

                    My knife skills are definitely NOT up to that. And never will be :) But thanks. I'd love to eat it if someone else did the hard work.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      i saw "boneless" chicken feet in chinatown the other day. $14 pp!

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        Holy shit!!!!! :) Let me rephrase that I'd love to eat it if someone else paid for it. Wow. 'Course imagine the work involved.

          2. I use them for stock, too. makes the stock gelatinous. However, a lot of the Asians I know fry them. I think usually deep fat fry them. They eat on them like snacks. Primarily they are after the really crisp skin.

            The chefs on Chopped think the nails are supposed to be removed prior to frying... just sayin.

            1. i use them, along with heads and backs, for stock. i used to roast them til crispy and give them as a treat to my dog. he LOVED them.

              1. Do a websearch using "Chinese chicken feet". You'll come up with tons of delicious-sounding recipes. The ones I've seen on tv cooking/travel shows (like Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" have always been braised in some thick & uber-delicious-looking sauce. Can't recall ever seeing them fried, although I'm sure they're prepared that way as well.