Photos by Angella Kim
Chicken feet. Once you have tasted the funky chewy texture and the spicy sauce that lingers around your tongue, you can’t have it enough. It is also very popular among Korean woman since its rich collagen that supposed to improve the skin.
Although its look isn’t so appealing to many people, a lot of people still welcomes the sight of chicken feet restaurant. Whether you like it or not, chicken feet isn’t exactly your graceful dinning menu. I don’t know how and when the dish has been originated from, but it is known to be the scrap meat that had been collected and sold in the market among poor class people at some point in the past.
Despite of the speculation, chicken feet actually have long and deep history behind it. The chicken feet dish has appeared in the Warring States Period of China, 3000 years ago. It wasn’t just a little side dish served with alcohol that cost a few coins from common people but the king himself actually enjoyed it very much. Even a philosopher Lee Doek Moo from the end of Josun Dynasty Period has referred the chicken feet as one of the ancient delicacies.
It is already surprising to know that chicken feet is more than just an ordinary dish but what’s more surprising is that there was a person who had eaten up 1000 chicken feet at one sitting. Considering chicken has only 2 legs, it means the person had eaten 500 chickens’ feet. Who had had such an extra ordinary appetite!.
The person is the king of Qi Dynasty from the Warring States Period of China. In the history book ‘Lüshi Chuqui’ written by Lü Buwei from Qin Shi Huang period has a quot saying “People who like to study are like the king of Qi Dynasty thus only can be satisfied after a few thousand chicken feet”.
Chicken feet doesn’t really hold much of meat on it so if you really wish to feel stuffed although it depends on people, you will have to take on more than you would with other type of food. People used to think that chicken holds its entire ‘chi’ in their feet because it’s holding proportionally big body with only 2 skinny legs. So for the king to have eaten 1000 chicken feet mean that he was stacking up on the source of such a powerful energy.
After all this history, chicken feet really aren’t like any other food. In China, people still refer chicken feet as the feet of Chinese Phoenix and it used to be called “Han Eum Ji Cheok(翰音之跖)”. ‘Han Eum’ is the sound of chicken dashing off to sky. ‘Cheok’ means foot. So it literally means chicken feet. How much must they have liked chicken that people had to come up with such a grand expression to explain chicken feet?
These days you can find boneless chicken feet at any common Korean Street food stall. However numerous Korean women nowadays have sought it out since the research report on collagen containment that is good for skin has been released. Also it’s not that difficult to prepare and cook them so anyone can easily try it at home. In Korea, people usually make rice ball mixed with sesame oil, seed and the leftover sauce from spicy chicken feet dish once they finish eating chicken feet. It is also another great snack.
Ingredients: 3 servings / Main ingredients: for 3 servings
Chicken feet 400g, milk 200ml, 2 bayleaves, 1 T whole pepper
red pepper paste 3T, red pepper powder 3T, soy sauce 3T, Oligosaccharide 1 1/2T and Japanese apricot syrop 2T, minced garlic 2T, 4 hot pepper
Rice 200g, dry seaweed 10 piece, sesame oil 3T, sesame seed 2T
- Wash the chicken feet then leave it in milk for about 10 min to remove the blood.
- Rinse the chicken feet again
- Boil the water then put the chicken feet, bay leaves and whole pepper in.
- Once the chicken feet is ready rinse them again in cold water
- Mix red pepper paste, red pepper powder, minced garlic, sesame oil, whole pepper, Oligosaccharide, Japanese apricot syrup, soy sauce, chopped pepper to make the spicy sauce
- Marinate the rinsed chicken feet in the sauce for a while
- Pan fry the marinated chicken feet with oil in medium heat.
- Place the chicken feet in a bowl and sprinkle chopped hot pepper
- Mixed salted rice, crushed dry seaweed, sesame oil and sesame seed with bit of chicken feet then ball them up in to bite size to make the rice ball.
- The milk helps removing the smell and the blood from it as well.
- Better to rinse the boiled chicken feet in cold water in order to keep that jelly like texture
- Sprinkle chopped pepper on the chicken feet to create spicier flavor.
She is a food journalist of Digital Chosun Newspaper. In recent, she is working as a food director for restaurant business consulting. Also, she works as a member of Korea Tourism Organization’s Korea food team and appears on various media in Korea.
음식전문기자 출신인 김유경은 현재 외식업 컨설팅 푸드 디렉터로 활동하고 있다. 또한, 한국관광공사 및 해외 문화원과 연계해 해외에서 한식홍보를 하고 있으며, TV, 라디오 등 요리관련 프로그램에도 출연 중이다.