Chicken feet may not offer much meat to speak of, but when they're deep-fried, they make up for it in crunchy texture and chicken-y flavor. Simmering them first in a water bath with simple flavorings—garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and cinnamon—leaves them abundantly tender inside, ready to take on the crispy shell that makes them such an addictive snack.
Why It Works
- A simple mix of aromatics, salt, and sugar in the simmering liquid adds flavor to the chicken feet.
- You can batter the chicken feet before deep-frying to achieve a crunchy texture reminiscent of fried chicken, or skip the batter for a snack similar to pork cracklings (though much less fatty).
Read more: The Nasty Bits: Chicken Feet, Reconsidered
- Yield:Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer
- Active time: 40 minutes
- Total time:About 2 hours
- For Simmering:
- 1 pound (450g) chicken feet
- 1 teaspoon (4g) kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15g) sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 stick cinnamon
- For Deep-Frying and to Serve:
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup flour (about 4 1/2 ounces; 128g) mixed with 1 teaspoon (4g) salt
- 1 quart (900ml) oil for deep-frying
- Sea salt, for serving
Clip the toenails from the chicken feet and wash the feet, removing calluses and any loose-hanging skin.
Place the chicken feet in a 2-quart sauté pan and add enough water to cover. Add all simmering ingredients to pan and bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until feet are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Remove feet from cooking liquid, which can be reserved for another purpose. Allow feet to cool.
Whisk eggs and flour/salt mixture in a medium bowl. Dip feet into batter, shaking off excess flour. If needed, dip the feet twice, to ensure they're fully coated.
In a wok, bring 1 quart (900ml) oil to 375°F (190°C). Add feet in batches and deep-fry until batter is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Have a lid ready in the event of splattering oil. Serve immediately, adding a sprinkling of sea salt if needed. (Alternatively, you can skip the batter and fry the feet plain. Dress with more soy sauce and chili oil, as desired.)