I recently had some great Chicken feet as part of a Dim Sum lunch at the Hung Sum Restaurant in Ottawa recently. I have always wanted to try cooking these myself but chicken feet are not something we are likely to see in the stores here in Iqaluit so I decided to try improvising using chicken wings. Chicken feet have very little meat on them but they are especially prized by the Chinese for a gelatinous texture created by all the connective tissue when they are steamed. This can’t be duplicated exactly using the wings (except at the very tips) but steaming rather than frying or baking will give the skin a nice slippery, softness that can substitute fairly nicely.
Normally, I find the sauce in which Chicken feet are steamed at Dim Sum restaurants is somewhat bland and uninteresting but the version I had at the Hung Sum Restaurant was quite piquant and very tasty. I decided that I would use a little Lee Kum Kee Chili Black Bean sauce in order to come close to what I tasted on that occasion…
- 12 chicken wings with drumettes removed (use these for something else)
- 2 – 3 celery stalks sliced thinly into 2 ½ – 3 inch sticks
- 1 tbsp. Lee Kum Kee Chili Black Bean Sauce
- 1 tbsp. Sugar
- 1 – 2 tbsp. Flour
- 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 2 tbsp. Rice Wine (I used Japanese Saki but you can use dry sherry)
- 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
- Freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. salt (not shown)
First, sprinkle the salt and a few grindings of pepper on the wings and rub them in well. Toss them in the lemon juice and let them sit for fifteen minutes or so. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the wings; rub this in as you did with the salt and pepper, and let sit again for another fifteen minutes.
Now mix the flour into the wings a little at a time and rub it into the skin until no more can be absorbed and then shake off any excess. (You may not need to use all the flour) .Let the wings sit for a few minutes and then add the Chili Black Bean sauce and the soy. Toss so all are coated evenly.
Next, divide the celery sticks at the bottom of four little steaming dishes. Sprinkle about half the rice wine over the sticks and grind over a little pepper. Lay three wings attractively on top of each bed of celery and sprinkle with the remaining wine. Finally, steam for 30 – 40 minutes over high heat.
These turned out even more nicely than I expected. The tips of the wings were really succulent and gelatinous, just like actual chicken feet, and the larger sections were excellent too. I was a little afraid that the Chili Black Bean Sauce might be a bit too spicy and overwhelm the delicate taste of the chicken a bit but it mellowed nicely during the cooking and added just a nice piquancy. The celery at the bottom was really just intended as an attractive bed for the wings but juices from the wings made them delicious. The black pepper also added some nice highlights to the tasty sauce. Next time, I think I may try just using wing tips and use a bit more celery as well.