CANTONESE CHICKEN FEET SOUP
Considering how iconic this dish is, I feel like something of a failure for not having shared it sooner! I hope you’ll give this traditional recipe a whirl during this season of soups. It’ll warm you up, and the collagen-rich soup may help your skin and slow down the aging process!
In fact, those are chicken feet.
The use of chicken feet in this recipe may be a turn-off for some readers. I could refer to them as “phoenix claws” to mask any awkwardness, but I’ll just call them what they are.
This is not a recipe for everyone, and that is the harsh reality of it all! It’s hard for me to forget the first time I tasted this soup––when I first met Bill and his family.
That’s where I learnt how to prepare Cantonese Chicken Feet Soup from my folks. Every Cantonese kid has undoubtedly tried this soup at least once, most likely at their parents’ or grandparents’ house. That’s the way it was done in the old days!
Soups from the Cantonese cuisine are known not only for their delicious flavor, but also for the nutritional value and specific health benefits they provide. To properly mix and blend ingredients, it takes years of study and practice, as each element is critical to the final product’s flavor and health benefits.
Season, age, health, and constitution all play a role in the preparation of Cantonese soups. I’ve come to know that this is a one-of-a-kind experience. The components are what give the dish its flavor. SALT is the sole seasoning, and you should add it only before eating!
Those few wonderful components combine to create a harmony of flavors after hours of simmering, rather than a single dominant flavor. The only culinary techniques required are time, patience, and a methodical approach to building flavor.
- 700g chicken feet
- 15 grams of dried seaweed (haidai), sliced into thin strips
- 12 cups of water
- 4 slices of ginger
- 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine
- 1 cup of raw shelled peanuts
- 1 chopped scallion
- Rinse the dried seaweed several times with water to remove any remaining debris. Drain the water and set it away for later use. Likewise, rinse and drain the peanuts before using them.
- By using a pair of kitchen shears, clip off any remaining fingernails from the chicken feet. Make a soup in a pot. Make a full submersion with water and 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine. Boil, and then remove from heat after one minute. Drain and clean after removing from the burner.
- The hai dai, peanuts, ginger slices, and 12 cups of water are then added to the soup pot with the chicken feet. Boil, with the lid on, for a full minute or two.
- Cook for another 20 minutes with the lid on at medium-low heat once the water has come to a boil.
- Add salt and pepper as desired and simmer for 2 hours, until the chicken feet are falling off the bone tender. Serve with a sprinkle of salt and scallions, cut finely.