Roasted Chicken Hocks Braised in Soy Sauce

Chicken hock is the part between drumstick and foot, also known as “ankle joint”.  It has very unique texture because it is mostly just skin, tendon and bone.  After being stewed or braised for a while, chicken hock could be tender and soft.  Just like pork and beef hock, chicken hock has gelatinous texture once properly cooked. 

As for the flavor, it is just pretty mild chicken flavor.  It is all about the texture in this dish. 

Bizarre food? Maybe.  Delicious? Definitely!

Ingredients:

1 package of chicken hocks (weighs about 2 lbs)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons rice cooking  wine
1 to 2 tablespoons rock sugar
1 piece of ginger root, smashed  
1/2  teaspoon oyster sauce
1 spice & herb bag, recipe followed
water for cooking and simmering
salt to taste
cayenne pepper powder
ground cumin
roasted white sesame seeds
chopped green onion

 

Ingredients for spice & herb bag:

3 to 4 star anises
1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper corns
1 black cardamom pod, smashed
4 to 5 cloves
3 to 4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried ginger
a handful of dried red chili peppers, cut into pieces
1 small piece of cinnamon bark
1 clove of garlic

 

Directions:

Add star anises, Sichuan peppercorns, cardamom, dried ginger, cloves, bay leaves, chili peppers to a piece of coffee filter paper.  Wrap and tie it up to be a spice bag.

Rinse the chicken hocks under running water.  Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Discard the water and fill the pot with fresh clean water and add the chicken hocks along with spice bag, rice cooking wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rock sugar, oyster sauce and ginger. 

Cook over high heat until water boils.

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Cover with lid.  Reduce the heat to simmer for 40 to 50 minutes.  And cooking time may be adjusted according to personal preferences of chewyness.

This Le Creuset 4 3/4 quarts soup pot is perfect for braising.  More importantly it is a beautiful pot too. O(∩_∩)O~

Season with salt and continue to cook over high heat until there is no extra liquid in the pot. Stir with wooden spoon from time to time.

Preheat a toaster oven to 425F/218C.  Transfer chicken hocks to a cast iron pan lined with parchment paper

Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes.  The golden brown color darkens a bit.  The meaty flavor is more intense. 

Continue to roast for another 10 to 20 minutes or until the meat is golden brown.

Sprinkle with cayenne powder, ground cumin, roasted sesame seeds and chopped onion.

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Sichuan Style Pickled Chili Peppers and Chicken Feet

中文菜谱:

泡椒凤爪

The NBA games between Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are going on!  We instantly transform into coach potatoes when the game starts.  Plus cold beers and good snacks make the game night more fun!  O(∩_∩)O~

Our favorite snacks for game night are chicken wings, popcorns, roasted peanuts, roasted sun flower seeds, hot and spicy duck necks, and pickled chicken feet.  Some of them sound exotic and bizarre?  Not at all!  They are all widely popular in Asian countries for a really long time.  You have to try them yourselves to see how tasty they can be.

For chicken feet boiling:

2 packages of chicken feet (weighs about 4 lbs; sold in Asian grocery stores)
1 to 2 tablespoons rice cooking wine
1 large piece of ginger root, smashed
3 to 4 star anises
1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper corns
1 black cardamom pod, smashed
4 to 5 cloves
3 to 4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried ginger
a handful of dried red chili peppers, cut into pieces

 

For pickling:

1 bowl of Sichuan style pickled chili peppers
1 cup of pickle juice
2 to 3 cups of icy water
granulated sugar to taste
rice vinegar to taste
sea salt to taste

Directions:

I make my own Sichuan style pickled peppers from scratch.  They taste better when they are homemade together with a variety of vegetables and spices.  But you can always find them available in Asian grocery stores.

Finely chop the peppers and set aside for later use.

Add star anises, Sichuan peppercorns, cardamom, dried ginger, cloves, bay leaves, chili peppers to a piece of coffee filter paper.  Wrap and tie it up to be a spice bag.

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Rinse chicken feet under running water.  Remove nails with a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen scissors.

Add to a soup pot, along with water, spice bag, ginger root and rice cooking wine. 

Cook over high heat until the water boils.  Reduce to medium heat and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Discard the spice bag and ginger.  Rinse chicken feet under running water again for a few minutes.

With a sharp cleaver, cut each chicken into halves. 

Add chicken feet to a large bowl, along with pickle juice, vinegar, sea salt, sugar, icy water and chopped pickled peppers. 

Mix well with a large spoon.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Just like regular pickles, it will take a couple days for pickled chicken feet to taste best.   

Remember to stir the chicken once in a while so that every chicken foot will be pickled and seasoned more evenly.

Don’t forget it will take a couple days to pickle.  Feel free to make them ahead of time.  The longer they sit in the fridge, the better the flavors will be. 

I buy some beers made in Czech from Central Market.  They taste mild and smooth, just like a regular American beer.

Interested in more Sichuan style pickles?  Here are some more:

Stir-fried Sichuan Style Pickled String Beans and Ground Pork

Soft Boiled Eggs in Soy Sauce and Rice Wine

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If you are a fan of ramen noodles like me, you would be familiar with the soft boiled eggs in soy sauce and know how great they taste. 

Tonkotsu ramen is very hard and time consuming to make from scratch at home.   On the other hand, soft boiled eggs are quite simple and easy.

Making authentic Japanese style soft boiled eggs recipe requires merin, which is similar to rice wine but sweeter.  When you don’t have merin at hand (well, I guess most people in America don’t), you can always substitute with rice wine like I do.  And it works out pretty good too.

Ingredients:

8 fresh eggs
water for boiling eggs plus more for soaking
ice cubes
2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup rice wine
1 1/3 cup water
salt to taste

 

Directions:

In a medium stainless steel pot, add water and eggs. 

Cook over high heat until water boils.  Turn off heat and cover eggs with lid immediately.  Wait for 3 to 4 minutes.  If you like egg yolks to be less runny, wait for another a couple minutes.

Fill a large bowl with water and ice

Add eggs

Add soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, salt and water to a medium pot.  Cook over medium high heat until the mixture boils. 

Remove from heat and allow it to cool down to room temperature.

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Peel the eggs and soak them into soy mixture.  Cover with lid or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.

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I use a small bowl to help eggs to completely submerse under soy mixture.

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The second day, eggs are ready.

With a sharp knife, cut eggs open in the center

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Braised Pork Feet and Chicken Hocks in Soy Sauce

中文菜谱:

红烧猪蹄鸡脚杆

Braised pork/ chicken/ beef in soy sauce are very traditional way to slow cook food in China.  Although the specific details vary from the south to the north; families to families, the essential ingredients remain the same.  Meat, soy sauce, rice cooking wine and ginger are a must for this dish. 

I learnt how to cook it by watching my grandma in the kitchen, starting with passing along soy sauce, washing ginger and building wood fire.  After a while, I could help with seasoning the meat and occasional stirring during simmer process.  I learnt from all these tiny things and daily chores that cooking can be so amazing and magical. 

The common ingredients to be braised are pork belly or other parts of pork, chicken, fish, shrimps and beef.  Technically most meat can be cooked this way.  I just personally prefer pork and chicken.

The chicken bones I use here are not really “bones”.  It is chicken hocks, the ankle part connecting chicken feet and drumsticks.  Not many Asian grocery stores sell it.  Whether and when you can buy it pretty much depends on your luck that day. ( ̄▽ ̄)”

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Ingredients:

1 package of cut pork feet (about 2 to 3 pounds)
1 package of chicken bones
1 large piece of ginger root, cleaned and smashed
3 to 4 dried chili peppers,cut into pieces
1 small piece of cinnamon bark
3 to 4 star anies
1 to 2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
5 to 6 cloves
1 black cardamom,smashed
4 to 5 dried ginger
2 to 3 bay leaves
4 to 5 tablespoons rice cooking wine
salt to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
water for cooking

 

Directions:

Clean pork feet and chicken bones and rinse well under running water.

Add dried chili peppers, star anises, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom, dried ginger and bay leaves to a piece of coffee filter paper.

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Tie it up to be a spice bag

Fill a large pot with cold water.  Add cut pork feet.  Cook over high heat until water boils.  Continue cooking over high heat for 7 to 8 minutes.  Drain well and rinse with hot water.

Heat a cast iron soup pot over high heat.  Add 2 to 3 quarts of water, blanched pork feet, spice bag and rice cooking wine.

Cook until the water boils.

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Cover with lid.  Reduce the heat to simmer about 90 minutes.

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At the same time, blanch chicken bones in boiling water for 2 minutes.

After 90 minutes, tough tissues on pork feet gradually become tender.

Add chicken bones to cook together for another 30 to 40 minutes.

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Add soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and salt; cook together for another 5 minutes.  Tune up the heat to medium high.

Gently stir pork feet and chicken from time to time using a wood spoon.

When most the liquid in the pot has evaporated, remove from heat and serve immediately with pot. 

Anyone who hasn’t tried braised pork/chicken feet might consider it is bizarre and strange.  You have to try them yourself to know how amazing they taste.  After long hours’ braising, tough tissues and meat become soft and tender, but with a very special gelatin-like texture which makes to top of my favorite list.

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I also stir fry some green vegetables to make it a delicious and nutritious meal.

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Smoked Duck with Rudy’s BBQ Dry Rub

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I brought back a bottle of dry rub from Rudy’s BBQ during our last visit. Their brisket and chicken BBQ tasted pretty awesome so i decided to buy their dry rub to try BBQ duck with it. Although duck is not on the menu of most BBQ restaurant, I started my experiment with it anyway because both my husband and I love duck meat so much more than chicken.  Guess what?  It turned out so great and tasty!  If you find it hard to believe, just take a look at the photos.  They would convince you how good it is ( ̄▽ ̄)”

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Ingredients:

1 whole duck (about 5 to 6 pounds)
1/2 bottle of Rudy’s dry rub or your favorite brand (about 5 to 6 oz)
oak smoking chips

Directions:

Clean and rinse the duck under running water.  Pat dry with paper tower

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When I was checking out in the BBQ store, I asked the cashier how much I should use for a brisket or a chicken.  She went to the person who was in charge of smoking who by the way was a very nice guy.  He told me that usually they use about 2 bottles’ amount dry rub on a whole large brisket. 

So I decide to use half bottle on my duck.

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Sprinkle on duck

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Massage the dry rub all over the duck, inside and out

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Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight

Rudy’s dry rub ingredients

The next day, preheat smoker to 225F/107C

Rudy’s use exclusively oak wood, so I go with oak wood chips too.  I always buy variety pack of smoking wood chips to go with different kinds of meat.

This tiny chicken roaster is such a great help in smoking chicken and ducks.  With it, the duck can stay vertical in the smoker so very part of duck is perfectly smoked.

Skew the duck with chicken roaster.  It works the same with chicken.

Smoke for about 5 hours or until the duck is golden brown.

Smoke coming out of the door and smoker

Make a quick inspect 3 hours into the smoking process.  If all the smoking wood chips have burnt down, refill the smoke box.

5 hours later

How good does that look?

Allow the duck to cool down and cut into small pieces with a sharp cleaver.

Smoked duck pairs better with beers.  But all I have in fridge is red wine.  That will do too.