(This article first appeared on Jan 2016 and now updated with new pictures and recipe.)
There are some food which I find completely gross (pig’s brain for example) but not when it comes to chicken feet.
I. Love. Chicken. Feet. I can’t say I have a favorite way to eat them. Whether they are braised, boiled, steamed, etc, I like them all.
Recently, I made some chicken stock at home and had some leftover chicken feet. Using them to make a pot of chicken feet soup was a no brainer for me. I paired them with some peanuts and other ingredients and the result is this delicious soup.
I always buy chicken feet from a wet market as they are sold with skin and nails removed. If you’re buying from a supermarket, you’ll have to give them a pedicure yourself but it is a very simple and quick process. Remember to wash and blanch them in boiling water to remove all the nasty stuff before transferring to your soup pot.
Also known as phoenix claws, chicken feet is full of collagen. And collagen, as we know, maintains skin’s elasticity and promotes youthful looking skin. This is definitely a beauty soup for me! 🙂
If cooked long enough, chicken feet will become very soft and gelatinous as they consist mainly of skin, tendons and cartilage. Cooking collagen transforms it into gelatin which explains why a soup or stock with a high concentration of gelatin will solidify when cooled. Collagen also contain trace minerals which are beneficial for our hair, nails and joints. It helps with the healing and repair of the body’s damaged tissues. And all these goodness at very little cost as chicken feet and bones are inexpensive.
So, even if you don’t eat chicken feet, don’t toss them away. Save them to make homemade chicken stock or soup. They are a natural super health supplement. Why pay more for expensive collagen and glucosamine supplements when you can have it cheap, right?
Any soup pot can be used for this soup but I’m partial towards my claypot and thermal cooker. Do not overboil the soup or the chicken feet meat will become too soft and shrink.
How to Soften Peanuts for Soup
Soak peanuts in hot boiling water for 2 to 3 hours before cooking to soften them. In the past, I boiled them without any prior soaking and they turned out slightly crunchy despite simmering them for nearly 2 hours on the stovetop.
How to Eat Chicken Feet
The way to eat chicken feet (at least that’s how I do it) is firstly, dip them in some soy sauce mixed with bird’s eye chillies. Then bite off the toes and suck out the skin and whatever ‘meat’ that’s sticking on them. Repeat the process on the ‘palms’.
Spit out Discard the bones.
So, have you tried this beauty soup yet? Excuse me while I go finish up my bowl of soup. Take care and eat well. 🙂
See also: Pig’s Trotter with Ginger and Black Vinegar Stew.
- 20 chicken feet
- 280 g pork spare ribs
- 200 g peanuts - soaked in hot boiling water for 1 - 2 hours. Discard soaking water
- 8 dried red dates
- 3 small dried cuttlefish
- 2 large dried honey dates
- 20 g ginger - sliced into thick pieces
- 9 cups water
- Blanch chicken feet and ribs in boiling water for about 3 - 5 minutes to remove scum and dirt. Remove from pot, rinse and set aside.
- Put all ingredients into a soup pot and bring it to a boil. Then let it simmer for 2.5 hours. Season with salt to taste and serve hot.
2. If you cook this in a thermal cooker, put in all the ingredients and bring to a rolling boil. Then simmer for about an hour.
When you are ready to transfer the inner pot to the outer pot, turn up the heat and let it boil vigorously. Remove the pot from the stove and transfer it into the outer insulated pot. Let the trapped heat continue to cook the soup for 1-2 hours. Season with salt to taste.
Tony Quant says
Hi, I am cooking chicken feet soup not chicken stock. I ate the skin, cartilage, ligament, discard the bone and the tough tendon. I boiled the chicken feet on the stove and removed the scum before transferring the soup into a slow cooker, continue cooking for 1.5 hr at high setting (the slow cooker is designed to reach 190F with the lid covered)
the way I cooked the chicken feet soup, will I got the collagen benefits cooking the chicken feet soup for only 1.5 hr? or should I cook it longer time? I am trying to save money on electricity, how long should I cook the chicken feet soup using a slow cooker in order to extract the nutrients from the chicken feet ?
I haven’t tried cooking chicken feet soup with a slow cooker before. I think you’ll have to boil it for a longer time. Maybe at least 3 to 4 hours. Do let me know how it turns out!
Tony Quant says
the internet said cooking chicken feet stock, you can extract 9 g of collagen from 100 g of chicken feet using slow cooker for 3 – 5hr, I try cooking my chicken feet soup using my slow cooker (95w, 190F) for 4 hr, all the chicken feet skin and connective tissue become too soft, its like melted, taste awful. So in my experiment, I am using the stove top, I always like to hard boil the water (212F) to kill all the germs and bacterias first, so I boiled 4 chicken feet, peanut, tofu, seasoned then transfer the contents to my slow cooker setting at “high” for 2 hr, then add pok choy for another 15 min and serve. the chicken feet are delicious. my question is do I get the same collagen benefit as compared to cooking chicken feet stock for 3-5 hr?
I don’t like to make chicken stock for many hours using slow cooker, slow cookers are invented by a lazy person who plugs on the slow cooker, go to work, then come home and eat the food from slow cooker. it is not safe, the electrical fire is not caused by how much power the appliances drew, but by the deterioration of electrical outlets
I am not an expert on the matters of collagen but I did some research for you. In a slow cooker chicken stock recipe from the Kitchn, it says to cook for at least 8 hours on the slow cooker on ‘low’ and even up to 24 hours. If you’re using a slow cooker to make chicken stock, most recipes recommend 8 – 10 hours cooking on low setting.
Have you tried refrigerating the stock? If it turns out to be jelly-like when cooled, it means it is loaded with collagen and gelatin.
The slow cooker is very convenient but I agree that they do pose a fire hazard especially for old cookers with frayed cords. You have to follow the safety precautions carefully to avoid cooking disasters. That’s why I much prefer using a thermal cooker as there is zero fire risk and it cooks and saves energy at the same time.
Teo wei sheng says
Hi for the chicken feet soup and peanuts what can I use to replaces large dried honey dates?
Hi Wei Sheng,
You can add some dried scallops if you wish. Alternatively, leave out the dried honey dates if you can’t find them. 🙂
Hi , lovely blog and recipes. Currently i am living in Beijing china and i am 5 months pregnant too. I want to know which soups i can have ? and what other dishes you recommend in pregnancy.
Thanks for writing in. You may choose from the following soups as I’m not sure of your soup preference.
1. Chinese Yam Soup with Chicken
2. Pear Soup with Pork Ribs
3. Chicken Feet Peanut Soup
4. Egg Drop Soups
5. Salmon Belly Soup
6. Black Beans Soup
7. Lotus Root Soup
8. Chicken with Corn Soup
9. Old Cucumber Soup
For dishes, you may want to read this article which talks about what foods to take during the various stages of pregnancy.
Thank you , 谢谢 ☺
You’re welcome! 🙂