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Bamboo steamer baskets with dim sum-style chicken feet

The Health Benefits of Eating Chicken Feet

Do you love eating chicken feet? Here’s some good news for you: they can be incredibly nutritious! So, even if you don’t cook with this ingredient often, it’s still worth knowing how to make it shine in a homemade dish. Learn about the potential health benefits of chicken feet in a balanced diet, then find out how to make the most of them in your cooking.

3 Health Benefits of Collagen-Rich Chicken Feet

A bowl of broth next to parchment paper with raw chicken feet

This part of the chicken has very little meat on it. Most people enjoy it for the cartilage, tendons, and skin that boasts a distinctly gelatinous texture due to its high collagen content. In fact, as much as 70% of the protein in chicken feet is pure collagen, which offers numerous health benefits. Here are three of them:

1. It helps keep skin hydrated and bouncy.

Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in the body. One of its responsibilities is to keep skin firm, smooth, and quick to repair. Collagen production naturally decreases with age, which leads to physical signs like wrinkles, dryness, and reduced elasticity.

Consuming collagen-rich food can help supplement collagen loss. The bones, skin, and ligaments of animals are some of the best sources of natural collagen. Have them as a regular part of your meals to keep skin glowing and manage other signs of skin aging.

2. It helps manage joint pain.

Collagen also helps manage pain and stiffness in the joints. The protein may help stimulate tissue regeneration, which can aid with painful bone problems like osteoarthritis. Studies suggest that consuming more collagen can help soothe the side effects of daily wear and tear.

3. It helps strengthen bones and prevent bone loss.

Long-term collagen consumption may also help increase bone mineral density, especially in people at greater risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis. It can also help manage symptoms like stiffness, poor posture, and back pain by strengthening your bones against breakage.

5 Chicken Feet Recipes for Beginners

A tray of deep-fried, golden brown chicken feet

Contrary to what some may believe, many cuisines feature this oft-overlooked ingredient in signature dishes. You can enjoy it as part of a Chinese dim sum spread, in hearty Jamaican soups, or tossed in Korean chili sauce like classic chicken wings. Try these easy recipe ideas!

1. Dim sum

In China, they're known as feng zhua, or “phoenix claws.” For many Filipinos, braised feng zhua is part of their staple dim sum order, as essential as char siu bao and dumplings. To make feng zhua, precook the prepared feet until softened before braising. Make a basic sauce out of spices like garlic or ginger, black bean sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Let boil until the sauce is thick and glossy. Enjoy with rice or mantou.

2. Adobo

Since nothing beats adidas (the colloquial term for grilled chicken feet, named after the shoe brand!) from local street food vendors, try making adobo instead. You can use your family’s go-to recipe, except you’ll primarily cook the feet instead of other parts. Alternatively, feel free to include the feet as part of your regular chicken adobo – they’ll help thicken the sauce and make the dish richer.

3. Chicken soup

Adding chicken feet to this flu season remedy makes it extra nutritious and delicious! If you're short on time, speed up the cooking process with a packet of Knorr Chicken and Corn Soup. Since it already has real chicken, sweet corn, and a balance of seasonings, you won’t need to spend hours over the stove for this. For plus points, you can make it heartier with leftover veggies, eggs, and shredded chicken.

4. Fried chicken

For most people, the best thing about eating fried chicken is biting into a crisp, crackling skin. You can achieve the same addictive texture here by dredging each foot in egg and flour before deep-frying until golden brown. In the end, you’ll have the perfect pulutan: something fatty, indulgent, and easy to eat with your hands. You can even toss it in various sauces to replicate other bar grub, like wings and Korean fried chicken.

5. Bone broth

If you want to make the most out of chicken feet's benefits, it’s best to stick with bare-bones (pun intended) preparation. That’s where trendy “bone broth” comes in. It’s different from stock because it’s richer in collagen, but the cooking process is the same. If you’ve never tried making stock from scratch, this is the best time to do it.

After pre-boiling and cleaning the feet, you’ll need to simmer them in water with whole spices and roughly chopped vegetables. Throw everything together in a pot and let simmer for at least four hours. All that yummy collagen will break down and give you a rich, flavorful broth that you can use for anything. Drink it straight, use it to cook porridge, or make soups with it!

Run, don't walk, to your nearest palengke or supermarket and get fresh chicken feet, just in time for supper. Not sure if your family will like it? Ease them into it with a simple chicken soup. The texture of the feet may be an acquired taste, but they sure make a silky, luxurious broth. No one will be able to resist!

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