Papas Rellenas from Cuba

Plate of Papas Rellenas

Papas Rellenas are stuffed mashed potato balls, popular in Cuba and many other countries. They come filled with picadillo, a beef filling, and then fried. They are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and absolute heaven. 

I’m a lover of all things mashed potatoes. My mom used to say that if I was thrown into a swimming pool of mashed potatoes, I could eat my way out. 

Surprisingly, I’ve only ever made one mashed potato recipe on my website (ooooh but it’s a doozy!). Until today. 

These Papas Rellenas are making me want to pack my bags and visit Cuba! Gosh, I would be so lucky…  Keep reading for the delicious recipe 🙂 

Hand holding a papa rellena

What are Papas Rellenas? 

Papas Rellenas are stuffed mashed potato balls. They are popular in Cuba, but they’re also popular in many other places as well, such as Puerto Rico, Peru, or Spain.

To make this recipe, you stuff the mashed potato balls with picadillo, a Cuban beef and tomato mixture. You can make my version of picadillo in the Instant Pot, but you can also choose to make it on the stove as well if you’d like!

The next step is to fry the mashed potato balls on the stove, giving them a crispy exterior with a creamy interior. They are spectacular! 

What Ingredients are in this Recipe?

Russet potatoes
Water
Milk
Garlic
Salt
Pepper
Cuban Picadillo 
Breadcrumbs
Eggs
Sunflower oil or Vegetable Oil for Frying

For full ingredient measurements and instructions, visit the recipe card at the bottom of the page. 

plate of papas rellenas from afar

How to Make this Recipe

Stovetop Potatoes Method 

Place the potatoes in a large pot. Fill with enough water to cover the potatoes. Cover with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Allow to boil until the potatoes are easily pierced by a fork, about 15 minutes.

Instant Pot Potatoes Method 

Place 2 cups of water and your chopped potatoes into your Instant Pot and secure the lid. Turn the pressure to HIGH and cook for 6 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, perform a Quick Release.

When the potatoes are tender, drain the water. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes. Add the milk, garlic, salt and pepper. Use the masher to mash until the potatoes are smooth.  

In your hand, use about 2 tbsp of mashed potatoes. Form them into the shape of a bowl in your hand. Place a spoonful of picadillo in the center of the bowl. Fold the mashed potatoes over, closing the picadillo inside. 

Whisk the egg in a separate bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. 

Roll each mashed potato ball in the whisked egg. Then roll it in the breadcrumbs. 

Heat the oil to about 375 degrees. Place each breaded mashed potato ball in the oil and allow to fry for about 2 minutes on each side until it turns golden brown. Enjoy! 

close up of papa rellena

Can I Bake Papas Rellenas? 

Yes! Papas Rellenas typically come fried, but you don’t have to fry them if you don’t want to! 

You can bake the Papas Rellenas instead by placing them on baking sheets and baking at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

The mashed potatoes and picadillo are already cooked when you fry/bake them, so you don’t need to worry about truly cooking the potatoes or meat. You simply just need to crisp up the outside! 

Baking the mashed potatoes is the healthier option, but it takes a lot longer and they’re never quite as crispy. It’s up to you how you’d like to make them! 

Did you like this Cuban Papas Rellenas Recipe? If so, leave a comment on this post letting me know what you thought! And don’t forget to post a photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag @TheForeignFork and hashtag #TheForeignFork. 

If you liked this recipe, you might also like these other yummy recipes that I picked out just for you: 

Papas Rellenas

Papas Rellenas

Papas Rellenas are stuffed mashed potato balls, popular in Cuba and many other countries. They are filled with picadillo, a beef filling, and then fried. They are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and absolute heaven.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, street food
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 22 Papas Rellenas

Ingredients

  • 2 lb russet potatoes peeled and chopped into eighths
  • Water
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • ½ recipe for Cuban Picadillo
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Sunflower oil or Vegetable Oil for Frying

Instructions

Stovetop Potatoes Method

  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Fill with enough water to cover the potatoes. Cover with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Allow to boil until the potatoes are easily pierced by a fork, about 15 minutes.

Instant Pot Potatoes Method

  1. Place 2 cups of water and your chopped potatoes into your Instant Pot and secure the lid. Turn the pressure to HIGH and cook for 6 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, perform a Quick Release
  2. When the potatoes are tender, drain the water. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes. Add the milk, garlic, salt and pepper. Use the masher to mash until the potatoes are smooth.
  3. In your hand, use about 2 tbsp of mashed potatoes. Form them into your hand, in a bowl shape. Place a spoonful of picadillo in the center of the bowl. Fold the mashed potatoes over, closing the picadillo inside.
  4. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl.
  5. Roll each mashed potato ball in the whisked egg. Then roll it in the breadcrumbs.
  6. Heat the oil to about 375 degrees. Place each breaded mashed potato ball in the oil and allow to fry for about 2 minutes on each side until it turns golden brown. Enjoy

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe in Your Instant Pot

Bowl of easy pasta salad

This Instant Pot Easy Pasta Salad Recipe is delightful! It has so much built-in flavor from the rotini being cooked in Italian Dressing. The pasta salad is then stocked full of salami, feta cheese, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Did someone say picnic?! 

The other day, Matt and I went to a park for date night. We’ve been trying to do date night once a week in order to relax and have some fun with each other!

A few days ago, it was an absolutely GORGEOUS day. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I could finally see that beautiful blue sky for the first time in literal months (clouds are a kill-joy during Michigan winters). 

We packed a picnic, and searched for a park that neither one of us had been to before. We laid out a blanket and ended up having a picnic on the dock of a random lake. It was so fun, and definitely a great way to soak up some sunshine!

I made this easy pasta salad recipe for our picnic. And the best part? I threw it together in my Instant Pot about a half an hour before we left! It was ready so fast!

This dish is perfect for a picnic because it is hearty, but is best enjoyed cold. I threw my recipe together with what I had on hand, but keep reading for some really delicious ways to customize your Easy Pasta Salad in the Instant Pot! 

close up of Easy Pasta Salad recipe

What Ingredients are in this Easy Pasta Salad Recipe? 

Rotini Noodles
Italian dressing
Chicken broth
Orange bell pepper
Feta cheese
Salami 
Cherry tomatoes 

How to Make this Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

Open the lid of your Instant Pot, and add the Italian dressing and the chicken broth. Add the noodles into the Pot, making sure that all of the noodles are covered by the liquid. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn it to HIGH for 6 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is complete, perform a Quick Release. 

Pour the noodles and the extra liquid into a bowl, and place in the fridge for about a half an hour.

At the end of the half hour, check on your noodles. They should be cold and should have absorbed the rest of the liquid in the bowl. 

Add the bell peppers, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and salami. Stir and enjoy! If you like a stronger Italian dressing flavor or more liquid in your pasta salad, you can add ½ cup of Italian dressing into the bowl after tasting and stir. 

Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you thought! 

Can You Make Pasta Salad the Night Before? 

Yes! The great thing about Pasta Salad is that it’s meant to be eaten cold. This means that you can make it whenever is best for you, and then store it in the fridge until it’s time to enjoy! 

My best recommendation would be to cook the pasta the night before and store in the fridge. Then, on the day you want to eat it, add the rest of the topping ingredients (bell pepper, tomatoes, feta cheese, salami). 

In my opinion, this ensures that everything is as fresh as possible. The tomatoes are crunchier, etc. 

However, if you’re only option is to make everything ahead of time, that certainly is a safe and delicious option! Ultimately, you can do whatever is best for you!

What are Good Occasions to Make this Easy Pasta Salad Recipe? 

Oh there are so many. Pasta salad is a great summer dish, meaning that there are so many occasions that you can make it for! 

It’s a great dish to take on picnics in the park, because it’s hearty but doesn’t need to be warm to enjoy. You can also serve it at graduation parties or as a side dish at summer barbecues. 

And, hey, if you want to eat this pasta salad when it’s snowing outside…. I’m not judging! 

Feel free to enjoy this dish whenever is best for you. It’s great as an appetizer or as a side dish for a fresh and healthy dinner. But if you’re looking for something a little lighter, you can also serve it as a main dish, particularly for lunch. 

close up of easy pasta salad in the instant pot

Can I Add or Subtract Ingredients? 

Of course! And honestly, you can pretty much do that for all of the recipes on my website. 

Other great ideas of ingredients to include in pasta salad are: 

  • Olives 
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Red Onion
  • Pepperoncini 
  • Parsley 
  • Zucchini 
  • Green Onions
  • Basil 
  • Lemon Juice

I chose the ingredients that I chose because I had them on hand. If you want to include any of these other ingredients, those would be great options!

If you customize your Instant Pot Easy Pasta Salad Recipe, leave a comment and let me know what you thought! I love to try new combinations, so maybe you can inspire me with something that you’ve tried and loved! 

What Kind of Italian Dressing Did You Use? 

I wanted this recipe to be as quick as possible when I was making it (life is busy, hello!!!). So instead of making Italian dressing from home, I just went to my local grocery store and bought a bottle. 

I ended up with Wishbone Italian Dressing, and simply used that when making this recipe!

If you want to make your own Italian dressing, you can totally do that!! I really love this recipe from FiveHeartHome.com. Though I haven’t tried it specifically with this Easy Pasta Salad Recipe, I know that it would be absolutely delicious! 

easy pasta salad outside for picnics

How Long Will this Easy Pasta Salad Recipe Last in the Fridge? 

Your Instant Pot Pasta Salad should last in the fridge for about 5-7 days. This is, of course, only if the veggies that you add into your salad are fresh!

Keep an eye on the vegetables in the dish. The longer you keep it in the fridge, the less fresh they will become. I’d recommend eating your pasta salad before the 5 day mark, but it can last up to 7 days if necessary 🙂 

Did you like this Easy Pasta Salad Recipe? If so, leave a comment letting me know what you thought! Don’t forget to take a photo and post it on Facebook or Instagram tagging @TheForeignFork or hashtag #TheForeignFork. 

If you liked this Instant Pot Pasta Recipe, make sure to check out these other recipes that I think you’ll like as well! 

Easy Pasta Salad

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

This Instant Pot Easy Pasta Salad Recipe is delightful! It has so much built-in flavor from the rotini being cooked in Italian Dressing. The pasta salad is then stocked full of salami, feta cheese, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Did someone say picnic?!
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Pressure Building 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz dry rotini noodles
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 orange bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 oz salami cut into pieces
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Open the lid of your Instant Pot, and add the Italian dressing and the chicken broth. Add the noodles into the Pot, making sure that all of the noodles are covered by the liquid. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn it to HIGH for 6 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is complete, perform a Quick Release.
  2. Pour the noodles and the extra liquid into a bowl, and place in the fridge for about a half an hour.
  3. At the end of the half hour, check on your noodles. They should be cold and should have absorbed the rest of the liquid in the bowl.
  4. Add the bell peppers, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and salami. Stir and enjoy! If you like a stronger Italian dressing flavor or more liquid in your pasta salad, you can add ½ cup of Italian dressing into the bowl after tasting and stir.
  5. Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you thought!

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For personal or educational purposes only. 

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Close up of roasted red pepper dip

This Roasted Red Pepper Dip is made with cream cheese and jarred red peppers. This quick appetizer comes together in less than 5 minutes and tastes absolutely delicious! It is great as a veggie dip or as an appetizer to serve with crackers. 

This Roasted Red Pepper Dip is so delicious and SO extremely easy to make. I still remember making it with my aunt when I was young, thinking that we were master chefs for whipping up this dip. 

In reality, you simply throw both ingredients in the blender and press a button. Soon enough, you have a delicious dip that is bound to impress! 

What Ingredients are in Roasted Red Pepper Dip? 

Whipped cream cheese
Roasted red peppers, jarred and drained

For full ingredient measurements and instructions, visit the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

How to Make this Recipe

Put the whipped cream cheese and the drained roasted red peppers in a blender or a food processor. 

Blend until combined. Enjoy! 

Cream cheese in the food processor

Extra Tips for Making this Roasted Red Pepper Dip

My only additional tip for making this dip would be to not overblend it. The longer you blend the dip, the waterier it gets, meaning that it becomes harder to dip things in! 

I would take care to blend the dip enough that the red peppers break down entirely. Once the peppers are blended completely, turn off the blender and you’re done! 

Cream cheese and red peppers in food processor

What to Use Roasted Red Pepper Dip With 

As you can see in my photo we had quite a bit of dippers with our dip. You can use fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, or peppers.

You can also use crackers, which are absolutely delicious as well! I enjoyed the Rosemary flavored triscuits, but you can use anything that sounds good to you. 

If you don’t want to use this recipe as a dip, you can always double it as a spread. This is delicious on sandwiches! 

Roasted red pepper dip with serving platter

How Long Will the Dip Last in the Fridge? 

Because of the dairy in the recipe, I would say that your roasted red pepper dip will last for about a week in the fridge. Make sure to store it in an airtight container. 

Did you like this recipe? If so, leave a comment on this post letting me know! When you make this recipe, post a photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag @TheForeignFork and hashtag #TheForeignFork.

If you liked this recipe, you might also like these other recipes  I picked out just for you:

Close up of roasted red pepper dip
5 from 1 vote
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Roasted Red Pepper Dip

This Roasted Red Pepper Dip is made with cream cheese and jarred red peppers. This quick appetizer comes together in less than 5 minutes and tastes absolutely delicious! It is great as a veggie dip or as an appetizer to serve with crackers.
Course appetizers, dips
Prep Time 2 minutes
Servings 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 12 oz whipped cream cheese
  • 8 oz roasted red peppers jarred, drained

Instructions

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

  2. Use crackers or vegetables to dip or use as a spread on sandwiches.
  3. Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you thought!

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational and personal use only.

White Bean Chicken Chili in the Instant Pot

White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe

This White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe comes together so quickly in the Instant Pot! It’s made using mostly pantry staples, and is so delicious and creamy.

I recently came up with this recipe because… well…. We’re experiencing COVID-19 quarantines and fresh ingredients are hard to come by. Luckily, this White Bean Chicken Chili in an Instant Pot is quick, SO easy, cheap, and something you can make with the canned goods already in your pantry. Keep reading for the instructions! 

I love White Bean Chicken Chili because it’s so simple! You can eat it as is, or you can top it with sour cream and cilantro. OR you can do all that and then scoop it up with crunchy, salty tortilla chips. That’s my personal favorite 😉 

3 bowls of white bean chicken chili

What is In White Bean Chicken Chili? 

Olive oil 
Onion
Great white beans, canned
Cannellini beans, canned
Diced tomatoes, canned
Chicken broth 
Frozen corn 
Oregano 
Cumin 
Salt
Chili powder 
Cream cheese, cut into cubed 
Cooked chicken, I used rotisserie

How to Make White Bean Chicken Chili in an Instant Pot? 

Making White Bean Chicken Chili in your Instant Pot is SO EASY!! But duh, isn’t everything easier in your Instant Pot?

To make this dish in the Instant Pot, simply start by turning your Instant Pot to the saute feature. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and the onions. Stir for about 4 minutes or so, until the onions turn translucent and start to soften. 

Turn your Saute feature off, and add both kinds of drained beans, tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, corn and seasonings. 

Set the Instant Pot to Manual for 5 minutes. Once the pressure cooker has completed its time, do an Instant Pressure Release. 

Remove the lid from the Instant Pot and stir in the cream cheese until it completely melts into the chili. Then add the rotisserie chicken again, and stir to combine. You can add the rotisserie chicken right out of the fridge, and it will warm up once it sits in your chili for a few moments. 

Serve by topping with sour cream, cilantro, tortilla chips, or nothing! Enjoy!

Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you thought of the recipe. 

Spoonful of White Bean Chicken Chili

How to Make this Recipe without an Instant Pot? 

If you don’t have an Instant Pot but still want to make this White Bean Chicken Chili, you’re in luck! Everything in this recipe is already cooked, so you can adapt the process without changing the final product too much. 

To start, heat a large pot on medium-high heat on the stove. Heat the olive oil and saute the onion. 

Add both kinds of drained beans, tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, corn and seasonings. Stir occasionally until the combination is heating through, adding more chicken broth if necessary. 

Once the chili is warm, keep it on the heat and add the cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese completely melts into the chili, then add the rotisserie chicken. 


Remove from heat. Serve by topping with sour cream, cilantro, tortilla chips, or nothing! Enjoy!

Cracking chips over White Bean Chicken Chili

How do You Thicken White Bean Chicken Chili? 

Some people like to thicken their Chili with sour cream. I’ve never really been a sour cream lover, always preferring cream cheese over sour cream. In this recipe, I add cream cheese into the chili to thicken it and make it creamier. I love the way that this turned out!

Can You Freeze this Chili

Of course! This is actually the PERFECT recipe to be frozen! If you are freezing this recipe, make sure that you store it in an airtight container. It can keep for up to 6 months. 

To thaw, run the sealed container under hot water until the contents loosen up enough juuuust to be removed from the container. Put the (still frozen) contents in a pot or pan and add a little bit of water or chicken broth. Perhaps about ¼ cup. Heat over low heat until the contents thaw. Then enjoy! 

Did you like this recipe for White Bean Chicken Chili in the Instant Pot? If so, you might also like these soup recipes from The Foreign Fork: 

White Bean Chicken Chili

This White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe comes together so quickly in the Instant Pot! It's made using mostly pantry staples, and is so delicious and creamy.

Course chili, Soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Pressure Building 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 15.5 oz can great white beans drained
  • 1 15.5 oz can cannelini beans drained
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes not drained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ½ tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt to taste. I start with ¼ tsp before cooking and add more after cooking if necessary
  • ¼ tsp Chili powder optional
  • 2 oz cream cheese cut into cubed
  • 3 cups cooked chicken shredded or cubed into bite sized pieces

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Start by turning your Instant Pot to the saute feature. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and the onions. Stir for about 4 minutes or so, until the onions turn translucent and start to soften.
  2. Turn your Saute feature off, and add both kinds of drained beans, tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, corn and seasonings.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to Manual for 5 minutes. Once the pressure cooker has completed its time, do an Instant Pressure Release.
  4. Remove the lid from the Instant Pot and stir in the cream cheese until it completely melts into the chili. Then add the rotisserie chicken again, and stir to combine. You can add the rotisserie chicken right out of the fridge, and it will warm up once it sits in your chili for a few moments.
  5. Serve by topping with sour cream, cilantro, tortilla chips, or nothing! Enjoy!
  6. Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you thought of the recipe.

Stovetop Instructions

  1. To start, heat a large pot on medium-high heat on the stove. Heat the olive oil and saute the onion.
  2. Add both kinds of drained beans, tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, corn and seasonings. Stir occasionally until the combination is heating through, adding more chicken broth if necessary.
  3. Once the chili is warm, keep it on the heat and add the cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese completely melts into the chili, then add the rotisserie chicken.
  4. Remove from heat. Serve by topping with sour cream, cilantro, tortilla chips, or nothing! Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational and personal use only. 

Perfectly Crispy Homemade Tostones Recipe

handheld tostones

Tostones are twice-fried plantains that are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Vaguely reminiscent of a thick potato chip, they are best enjoyed with salt. Here’s a tostones recipe that you can make at home!

I know that this dish is on this website to represent Colombia, but the first time that I ever had tostones was in Puerto Rico! 

The summer after my freshman year of college, I moved to Puerto Rico for a month to work on my Spanish. I lived with a host mom, went to a language acquisition school, and spent a lot of time in San Juan. It was such a fun experience to spend my time learning about Puerto Rico, bucket showers and all (we were in the middle of a drought when I was there). 

Every day for lunch, we would head to a nearby restaurant and grab a to go plate. At first, I had some tummy problems because everything in Puerto Rico is fried, or just greasy. It’s delicious, trust me, but when you’re not used to it, it can take a toll.

My favorite dish to get from the nearby restaurant was Arroz con Gandules y Puerco (pork with rice and beans) and a side of tostones. 

tostones

What are Tostones? 

Tostones are twice-fried plantains. If you’ve ever seen my recipe for Belgian Frites with Andalouse Sauce, you’ll be familiar with the twice-frying method, which leaves the tostones cooked and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. 

To achieve this, the plantains are fried once, crushed with a glass or a cup (or, if you’re really fancy, a plantain smasher) and then refried again. They are served with salt and can be enjoyed plain or with dips. 

Raw plantains

What Ingredients do I Need for This Tostones Recipe? 

Slightly Green Plantains
Salt 
Vegetable Oil 

For a full ingredients list, visit the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

How Do I Make this Tostones Recipe? 

Use green plantains for this recipe. Cut the stems off of each end of the plantains. Use a small knife and cut a vertical line from tip to tip of the plantain, cutting through the skin but not through the plantain. Turn the plantain over, and cut the same line down the back. Peel the skin off of the plantain. It should come off in two halves. 

Cut the plantain into about 1-1 ½ inch pieces. 

In a cast iron skillet, heat about ½-¾  inch of oil, enough to cook about half of the plantain at once. Your oil should be heated on low-medium heat, so that your plantain can cook without burning. It should be hot enough that when you drop your plantain in, it starts to bubble in about 5-10 seconds. 

Place the plantains in the oil, cooking for about 5 minutes. Use tongs to flip the plantains over and cook on the other side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. 

Use the bottom of a cup or a glass to smash the plantains. 

In a small bowl, combine ½ cup water with 2 tbsp salt. Stir until salt dissolves. 

Dip each smashed plantain in the salt water and leave to dry on paper towel-lined plate again. 

Once dried, add the plantains back into the hot oil, and fry for another 3-5 minutes. Remove and place on paper towel lined plates. Sprinkle with salt. Enjoy! 

once fried plantain

My Secret Trick for this Tostones Recipe

Many recipes don’t call for dipping your plantains in salt water before frying them again, but this is my favorite step of the process. Plantains are very similar to potatoes and spaghetti in that they need to boil in salted water so that they can retain salt once they finish cooking. 

If you boil potatoes or spaghetti without salting the water, they will taste bland no matter how much salt you add after cooking. The same is true of tostones. Dipping the tostones in salt water before frying them again preserves the salt taste in the dish. 

Be careful when adding your plantains in for their second round of frying, though. Water does not mix well with oil, and adding wet tostones into the oil will cause the oil to pop and possibly burn you. Make sure that your plantains have dried fully before adding them back into the oil again. 

smashed plantain for tostones

Where Do Tostones Originate? 

There is great debate on where tostones originated from. Some say that this recipe was created in the Caribbean, whereas others swear that tostones were invented in South America. 

As a general rule of thumb, Caribbean islands call this recipe tostones, whereas South American countries call it Patacones. 


For the sake of my audience, I am choosing to use the more universally understood term, tostones, despite the fact that I am advertising this dish as from Columbia. 

How to Eat Your Tostones 

Not many flavors or spices are normally added to tostones, though my mom did dust hers in onion and garlic powder. Normally, just salt is added for flavoring on this dish. 

If anything, though, tostones can be served with sauces. In Puerto Rico, we ate our tostones with mayoketchup, a spectacular Puerto Rican sauce invention that is made with mayonnaise, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. 

Tostones are very similar to a thick potato chip, so anything you enjoy with potato chips will also be delicious with tostones. 

pile of tostones

Can This Tostones Recipe Be Made Ahead of Time? 

I wouldn’t recommend making your tostones ahead of time if you can help it. As is typical with fried foods, they’re never quite as crispy the next day. Given that tostones only take about 15-20 minutes to make, try to save them for right before you’re going to eat them. 

If you have to make them ahead of time, the best way to heat your snack up would be to bake them in the oven. Set the oven to 450 degrees and bake them for about 3-4 minutes until they are just heated through. Do not microwave your tostones as this will make them soft and ruin the texture. 

Did you like this recipe for tostones? If so, post a photo on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #TheForeignFork and tag @TheForeignFork. And if you liked this recipe, you might like these other Foreign Fork plantain recipes, too: 

Perfectly Crispy Homemade Tostones Recipe

Tostones are twice-fried plantains that are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Vaguely reminiscent of a thick potato chip, they are best enjoyed with salt. Here's how to make your own tostones at home!

Course Appetizer, sides, snacks
Cuisine columbian, Puerto rican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 plantains
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp Table salt
  • Kosher salt for topping

Instructions

  1. Use green plantains for this recipe. Cut the stems off of each end of the plantains. Use a small knife and cut a vertical line from tip to tip of the plantain, cutting through the skin but not through the plantain. Turn the plantain over, and cut the same line down the back. Peel the skin off of the plantain. It should come off in two halves.
  2. Cut the plantain into about 1-1 ½ inch pieces.
  3. In a cast iron skillet, heat about ½-¾ inch of oil, enough to cook about half of the plantain at once. Your oil should be heated on low-medium heat, so that your plantain can cook without burning. It should be hot enough that when you drop your plantain in, it starts to bubble in about 5-10 seconds.
  4. Place the plantains in the oil, cooking for about 5 minutes. Use tongs to flip the plantains over and cook on the other side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Use the bottom of a cup or a glass to smash the plantains.
  6. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup water with 2 tbsp salt. Stir until salt dissolves.
  7. Dip each smashed plantain in the salt water and leave to dry on paper towel-lined plate again.
  8. Once dried, add the plantains back into the hot oil, and fry for another 3-5 minutes. Remove and place on paper towel lined plates. Sprinkle with salt. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 

8 Easy Soup Recipes from Around the World

I’ve noticed recently that some of the most popular posts on The Foreign Fork happen to be my soup recipes! What can I say? Everyone loves a good, easy soup recipe to make at home. 

The best thing about soup is that it’s approachable. You can throw many of the soup recipes on this list together easily, simply simmering them on the stove until they come together in one beautiful, harmonious bite. 

These recipes would be great ways to experiment with flavors of other countries as well! They’re an easy time investment, and a great way to dip your toe in the water to see if you like the flavor profiles in these dishes. 

So make your next meal prep day interesting, and cook one of these Easy Soup Recipes from Around the world 

Easy Soup Recipes from Europe 

Tarator Soup from Bulgaria

Tarator from Bulgaria

Tarator Soup from Bulgaria is a unique dish that is best enjoyed in warm weather. This is a cucumber and yogurt soup, decorated with dill. My version of tarator also includes the addition of red peppers, which add a beautiful color and flavor to the dish. 

If you’re looking for an easy soup recipe, you’ve found it. Simply throw all of the ingredients into a blender until they combine! 

Borscht Soup from Belarus

Borscht Soup from Belarus

This borscht soup is my most popular Pinterest recipe of ALL TIME! Can you believe it? 

Borscht is very popular in Belarus; it is a cold soup made with beets. Most of the time, people serve borscht with sour cream, fresh dill, or hard boiled eggs on top. Plus, the beets turn this soup the most gorgeous pink color. How can you pass it up? 

Tortellini Soup from Armenia

Matiabour/tortellini from Armenia

This soup is kind of a stretch for “easy soup recipes”, mostly because in my version the matiabour (tortellini) are homemade. You can make homemade tortellini if you want, or you can buy some from the store. 

Either way, the yogurt in the soup base makes a creamy, yet brothy soup that’s bound to delight your taste buds! 

Fagioli Soup from Italy

Fagioli Soup

Fagioli Soup from Italy is spectacular for a vegetarian soup full of protein. The soup takes about an hour and a half to make, but most of that time is simply boiling the beans! With only five ingredients, it comes together so simply. Have no fear, dinner is served! 

Recipes to Try from North America and Africa

Split Pea Soup in an Instant Pot from Canada 

Split Pea Soup from Canada

This Split Pea soup is absolutely delightful! You can make it in an Instant Pot, and have your soup ready in about a half an hour from start to finish. This soup is warm, creamy, and so, so healthy! 

Chicken and Rice Soup from Cabo Verde

Chicken and Rice Soup

My favorite part about this soup is topping it with parmesan cheese. The chicken and rice combine to make a comforting, homey soup that leaves you feeling like you just got a hug from your grandma. 

Easy Soup Recipes from Asia 

Meatball Soup with Rice Noodles from Thailand 

Thai Inspired Meatball Soup

This is one of the most popular recipes on my website, because it is DELICIOUS! This Thai-Inspired meatball soup may not come FROM Thailand, but it certainly displays some of Thailand’s most delicious flavors.

This soup is made with rice noodles and bok choy, and is an awesome, umami-filled dish to enjoy in cooler weather. 

Cod Fish Soup from Cambodia

Cod Soup from Cambodia

This soup is perfect if you’re looking for a little adventure in your life. Cod fish soup from Cambodia is vaguely reminiscent of Amok, the national dish of the country. This soup is made with the same flavor profile as amok, but has a thinner texture. 

This recipe is also thickened with coconut milk, meaning that it is dairy free and pescatarian! 

Chinese Egg Rolls Recipe

Chinese Egg Rolls

These Chinese Egg Rolls are a Chinese favorite that you can make at home! They are filled with Chinese bean sprouts, chicken, and bamboo and then fried.

Ah, the infamous egg roll. The staple at the center of every Chinese American meal in the United States. But did you know that the egg rolls actually stem from China (unlike our Chinese American friend, the crab ragoon)? 

The Chinese version of egg rolls aren’t filled with cabbage or bean sprouts, and they’re certainly not deep fried. In fact, the eggs rolls in China are more reminiscent of what we call Spring Rolls here in America. 

The American version seemed to have been invented with spring rolls in mind. But of course with that good old-fashioned American (ahem *fattening*) twist. Egg rolls here in America aren’t exactly like anything you’d find in China. But they are delicious. 

These egg rolls are most delicious when eaten with Sweet and Sour Sauce!

Why are Egg Rolls called Egg Rolls?

Egg rolls got their name because the wrappers have egg in them, where Spring Roll wrappers do not. The first Chinese American cookbook that displayed an Egg Roll recipe called the food “Dan Gun”, which literally translates to Egg Roll. This book was published in the 1930s, and was called Cook at Home in Chinese by Henry Low. 

What’s in Chinese Egg Rolls? 

Fresh bean sprouts 
Mushrooms
Chicken, already cooked 
Bamboo shoots 
Green onions
Chinese 5 spice
Sesame oil 
Egg roll wrappers
Egg 
Oil for frying 

Do Chinese Egg Rolls Have Meat? 

My version of Chinese Egg Rolls does have meat in the recipe. However, if you’d like to make your version vegetarian, this is a great option as well!

Probably the most popular version of meat-filled egg rolls includes ground pork! If you’d like to add pork to your egg rolls, simply cook the pork in a pan on your stove top until cooked all the way through. 


For the chicken in this recipe, I used a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from my local grocery store. This made it easy, as I simply had the chicken left over from another meal, meaning that I didn’t have to add another step to this recipe. 

How to Make this Recipe

In a wok, heat your sesame oil. 

Add the bean sprouts into the sesame oil and cook for about three minutes.

Add the mushrooms, chicken, bamboo shoots, green onions, and Chinese 5 Spice into the sprouts and stir over the heat for about 5 minutes, just until warmed. Remove from the heat and let cool. 

Wrap the filling in the egg roll wrappers, brushing the last corner with egg to hold in place. 

Heat oil and deep fry the egg rolls. Remove from oil and let rest on paper towel to remove excess oil. Enjoy!

Did you like this recipe for Egg Rolls from China? Make sure to check out my other Chinese recipes, including: 

Chinese Egg Rolls

These Chinese Egg Rolls are a Chinese favorite that you can make at home! They are filled with Chinese bean sprouts, chicken, and bamboo and then fried.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 egg rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • ½ cup chicken
  • ½ cup bamboo shoots
  • ½ cup green onions
  • 1 tsp chinese 5 spice
  • An egg for egg wash
  • Oil for frying
  • Egg roll wraps
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. In a wok, heat your sesame oil.
  2. Add the bean sprouts into the sesame oil and cook for about three minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, chicken, bamboo shoots, green onions, and Chinese 5 Spice into the sprouts and stir over the heat for about 5 minutes, just until warmed. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. Wrap the filling in the egg roll wrappers, brushing the last corner with egg to hold in place.
  5. Heat oil and deep fry the egg rolls. Remove from oil and let rest on paper towel to remove excess oil. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational and personal use only. 

Crab Rangoons Recipe

Crab ragoons in a geometric shape

These crab rangoons are a Chinese American speciality that are filled with cream cheese, crab meat, and scallions.

I went to college at Michigan State University, which, if you didn’t know, is a school known for its baller cafeterias. The food at MSU was always so delicious, and there were like 12 different dining halls for me to choose from at all times. And they were all actually yummy!

My freshman year of college, I shared my room with another girl. She and I spent so much of our time together, studying, socializing, and, of course, eating our meals together. One day we discovered that the dining hall in our dorm building served crab rangoons.

Neither her nor I had ever really had crab rangoons before, but we quickly fell into an obsession with them. Each dining hall would post their menus every day, and each morning my friend and I would look to see if crab rangoons were being served anywhere on campus. If they were, even if that dining hall was 40 minutes away, we would make the trek.

No crab rangoons existed on campus untouched by us.

So when it was time to make recipes for China, I decided that the recipe I most wanted to make were crab rangoons. I’ll be honest, China is not known for its crab rangoons. So today, instead of a traditional Chinese meal, we’ll be exploring the beauty of this Chinese American wonder. Oh dear, you are in for a treat <3

crab ragoon up close

Chinese American Food History in the United States

In 1882, President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, limiting the amount of Chinese immigrants allowed into the United States. For a long time, the only Chinese allowed to immigrate to the US were merchants. 

In the early 20th century, the definition of merchants expanded to include those that owned and operated restaurants. Suddenly, every hopeful Chinese immigrant became a restauranteur, and the number of Chinese restaurants in the United States quadrupled in ten years. 

Racism against the Chinese was running high, though, and in order to make a living, the Chinese restaurants had to appeal to white people as well. 

Thus, Chinese American food was born. Almond boneless chicken and fortune cookies are special in their own way, but they did not come from Chinese origin. Instead, they are in a category all on their own: food made my Chinese immigrants to please Americans. I think we’ll throw crab rangoons into that category as well 😉 

crab ragoons in circle

What is the History of Crab Rangoons? 

Given that the main ingredient of crab rangoons is cream cheese, it’s pretty easy to assume that the dish is not of Chinese origin. As the myth has it, crab rangoons originated in San Francisco, at a tiki bar called Trader Vic’s in the 1950s or 1960s. 

Crab rangoons have since grown very popular, and are certainly a favorite amongst Americans ordering Chinese carry-out (just ask my ultra-legit instagram poll that showed the majority of my followers requesting crab rangoons over any other “Chinese” food). 

But just because the dish doesn’t come from China, does that mean it is not Chinese? Do Chinese American dishes count as their own form of Chinese cuisine? I think it does. Perhaps not traditional, but no less real. Let me know what you think in the comments below! 

What Ingredients are In Crab Rangoons? 

Cream cheese
Crab meat
Chopped scallions
Salt
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Egg
Wonton wrappers 
Oil for frying

What Kind of Crab Meat Do You Use? 

This is up to you! Of course, it’s a lot cheaper to buy imitation crab meat than it is to buy real crab meat. I’m sure that a lot of restaurants and school cafeterias even use the imitation kind as a cheaper option. 

I have never been a fan of choosing imitation crab meat and avoid it whenever I have the chance. Eating one meat disguised as another has always freaked me out. 

That being said, you can make this recipe just as easily with imitation crab, and I guarantee you it will be a lot cheaper! 

For real crab meat, I use Private Selection Wild Caught Crab Meat. It’s absolutely delicious, and it makes me feel better that I’m eating true crab. 

Can you Bake Crab Rangoons?

Of course you can! And I’m all for making a recipe healthier. If you’d like to bake your crab rangoons instead of fry them, you can bake them at about 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. 

Frying the crab rangoons makes them crispier and crunchier. If you choose to fry your crab rangoons, you’ll love the way that they crisp up. 

Frying Your Crab Rangoons

Frying your crab rangoons is really easy! When you seal your rangoons, make sure that you seal them tightly. As the rangoons heat up, they can leak filling into the oil. This fries the cream cheese/crab and creates a big mess in the bottom of your wok. 

Once you make sure that your rangoons are sealed tightly, it’s time to heat up the oil. I chose to fry my rangoons in my wok, but you can use whatever pot you prefer. I used sunflower oil as my frying oil of choice, because it’s very low maintenance to fry with. 

Typically, I use one rangoon as a tester with my oil. The oil should start to bubble around the rangoon as soon as it hits the oil. Then it should fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side. If your oil doesn’t start to bubble the minute your wonton hits the surface, it’s not hot enough. 

Can You Reheat Crab Rangoons?

Absolutely. If you want to reheat them, I would recommend baking them. Simply microwaving them will make the wonton a little soggy, which takes away from the beautiful texture of this dish. 

Baking the rangoons means that they will crisp up again! 

crab ragoon on plate

Can you Freeze Crab Rangoons?

If you want to make your crab rangoons ahead of time, I would recommend making the filling and assembling the rangoons and then freezing them before you fry them. Then, when it comes time to eat the dish, you’ll need to remove them from the freezer, thaw them, and then fry them. 

Once the wontons are cooked and crisped, you’ll want to eat them right away as that is when they are most delicious. Freezing the finished product would unnecessarily detract from the deliciousness of the final dish, as they wouldn’t be as crispy once thawed. 

Freezing the dish before frying is definitely the way to go. 

Thanks for reading my post on the history of Chinese American food and crab rangoons. If you liked this recipe, make sure to check out my other recipes for: 

Crab ragoons in a geometric shape
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Crab Rangoons

These crab rangoons are a Chinese American speciality that are filled with cream cheese, crab meat, and scallions.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 40 rangoons

Ingredients

  • 16 oz cream cheese softened
  • 8 oz crab meat
  • 4 scallions chopped
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers thawed
  • Oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Soften your cream cheese to room temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix your cream cheese until it can be easily stirred. Pour the crab meat, scallions, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder into the cream cheese. Use a spoon to mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk an egg.
  4. Place the wonton wrapper in front of you, with one corner pointed away from you and one pointed towards you. Fill the middle of the wonton wrapper with cream cheese filling– about 1 tsp in each.
  5. Dip your finger in the whisked egg and brush the edges of the wonton with an egg wash.
  6. Fold the bottom corner of the wonton up to meet the top corner, folding your wonton into a triangle.
  7. Then, fold in the two bottom corners of the triangle to attach at the back of the wonton. Use egg wash to hold each folded corner in place.
  8. Heat the oil in a wok, deep enough where the wontons will not touch the bottom. Once the oil has heated up, fry the rangoons for about 3 minutes on each side.
  9. Remove the rangoons from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to remove any excess oil. Enjoy!
  10. Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you thought.

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 

Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce

This Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce is my favorite take on the homemade Chinese staple. This sauce is delicious on egg rolls, sweet and sour chicken, crab rangoons, and more. 

I love some good sweet and sour sauce! Obviously, sweet and sour sauce is easy to get when you’ve ordered takeout Chinese, and it comes in the takeout box. However, if you’re thinking about making Crab Rangoons, Chicken, or Egg Rolls at home from scratch, you’re going to need some of this delicious sauce to go with it! 

This is my favorite homemade recipe for Sweet and Sour Sauce. It can be made right on your stove, and is thickened slightly by the addition of cornstarch. Try it out and let me know what you think! 

Ingredients for Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce

Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients

Pineapple juice (I used Dole)
Apple cider vinegar 
Soy sauce 
Sugar 
Red food coloring 
Cornstarch 
Water

How Do You Make Sweet and Sour Sauce from Scratch?

Add pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and food coloring in a medium pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir until the combination begins to bubble.

Once the mixture is bubbling, mix the cornstarch and water together in a separate, small bowl. Pour into the pot, and mix for about 3-5 more minutes until the sauce is thickened.

Remove from heat and allow to cool before enjoying.

Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you think!

Why is Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce Pink?

Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce gets its pink/red color a few different ways. Some version of the recipe include ketchup or tomatoes as a main ingredient.

If you are making this recipe using ketchup or tomatoes, the color of these foods will naturally dye your sauce red/pink.

The version of the sauce that we have here does not include either of the aforementioned ingredients. I didn’t like the though of boiling ketchup on the stove, so I used different ingredients to achieve the same end result.

Because Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce is traditionally pink, the recipe that I have here simply uses red food coloring to achieve its red hue. I chose to do this so that the sauce would be easily recognizable as sweet and sour sauce, even without using ketchup.

Is Sweet and Sour Sauce Eaten in China?

Yes. Though there are plenty of “Chinese” recipes that aren’t actually eaten in China (AKA Chinese American recipes AKA Egg Rolls), Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce is not one of those dishes.

Sweet and Sour Sauce is a popular sauce made in China that is poured over many different types of foods there!

Though the most common way to eat Sweet and Sour Sauce in the United States is with chicken, this is not the most common way in China. In America, chicken is one of the most popular meats to eat, therefore Sweet and Sour Chicken is very popular!

On the other hand, chicken is not the most popular type of meat in China. Instead, pork is very common! You are instead more likely to find Sweet and Sour Pork in China, another delicious use for this sauce.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce in pan

Does this Recipe Use Ketchup?

When I was researching different recipes for sweet and sour sauce, I realized that many of the recipes on the internet have ketchup as a main ingredient. Call me crazy, but ketchup doesn’t sound very authentically Chinese to me…. 

If you want to make a quick but authentic Sweet and Sour Sauce without ketchup, this is the right recipe for you! Pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, and soy sauce are the main ingredients in this recipe. The ingredients are still simple enough to find in your hometown grocery store, but they combine to make this delicious sauce! 

Is this Recipe Gluten Free?

Yes! This recipe is completely gluten free. Cornstarch is a thickening agent in this recipe, but it doesn’t contain any gluten like many flours. Those with gluten intolerances can eat this recipe with no concern.

Crab rangoon in dip

How to Eat this Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce has so many different uses, it’s hard to pick a favorite! You can use your sauce recipe to dip egg rolls, crab rangoons, or any other appetizer you’d like!

It’s also common to use Sweet and Sour Sauce to make Sweet and Sour Chicken or Sweet and Sour Pork. Whichever way you chose to enjoy your sauce, I hope you love it!

Can I Eat Sweet and Sour Sauce Cold?

Because this recipe is made with cornstarch, it’s definitely best to eat it fresh. Putting the sauce in the fridge causes it to gelatinize, which means that it will be thicker the next time you need to use it.

I would recommend making this sauce right before you plan to eat it, especially if you’d like to eat it hot! 

If you liked this recipe, make sure to leave a comment letting me know what you think! If you liked this recipe, you should also check out: 

pinterest image

Sweet and Sour Sauce

This Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce is my favorite take on the homemade Chinese staple. This sauce is delicious on egg rolls, sweet and sour chicken, crab ragoons, and more. 

Course sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 6 Oz pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 drops red food coloring
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Add pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and food coloring in a medium pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir until the combination begins to bubble.

  2. Once the mixture is bubbling, mix the cornstarch and water together in a separate, small bowl. Pour into the pot, and mix for about 3-5 more minutes until the sauce is thickened.

  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool before enjoying.

  4. Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you think!

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 

Dim Sum Chicken Feet Recipe from China

Dim sum chicken feet

These Dim Sum Chicken Feet are a true, authentic Chinese dim sum dish. Keep reading for step by step instructions on how to cook chicken feet at home.

I think we may be entering new territory, ya’ll. The most unique dish to ever grace the pages of The Foreign Fork (to date, at least). In May, I visited my best friend in San Francisco for memorial day. She let me choose whatever I wanted to do, and we spent a long weekend in the Bay Area playing tourist in her town. 

One of my requests was that I wanted to go to Chinatown and see the Fortune Cookie Factory. We traveled down to Chinatown, and saw the little tiny factory where so many fortune cookies are made. I watched them roll the hot cookies up into their signature shape, filling each with a fortune; we even custom created one for our friends!

After the fortune cookie factory, we decided to create our own little food tour around Chinatown. Every time we saw an interesting dessert or other food item in the window of a shop, we would walk in, buy it, and split it! By the end of the day, we had tried a few really yummy desserts, appetizers, and snacks. I was in heaven. 

Alexandria eating dim sum chicken feet in San Francisco

My First Time Trying Chicken Feet

My friend started talking about dim sum and the many times she had had it– both in San Francisco and otherwise. It was in this moment that I realized I had never experienced the beauty of Chinese dim sum before. 

My friend immediately walked me over to the first dim sum restaurant we could find…. And promptly asked the waiter for an order of chicken feet. 

Oh my. 

I must admit, if I didn’t run a food blog called The Foreign Fork about the importance of keeping an open mind and experiencing the cultures and cuisines of other countries, I might not have tried the feet. But, experiencing the world is important and exciting and sometimes scary or outside of what I am used to as a 23 year old white female from the suburbs of Detroit. 

So…. I put the toes in my mouth (this makes me both LOL and cringe). They weren’t bad! I’m not sure I’d eat dim sum chicken feet regularly, but I am happy to try them, and experience them, and advocate for other people to experience them as well. 

Why do the Chinese Eat Dim Sum Chicken Feet? 

There have been plenty of time periods in Chinese history where much of the country  experienced poverty. Thinking of these times the familiar phrase comes to mind: “Waste not, want not.” 

The Chinese have made a habit of eating every part of an animal possible so as not to waste anything that could be of use. Birds’ nests, pigs’ tails, chicken feet. They are all common foods in China so as to make the most of the animals that they kill. 

Chicken feet are cheap. Buying a package of them costs me roughly $3.13, meaning that I can make a meal out of them for a lot cheaper than most other meats. 

ingredients for dim sum chicken feet

What Ingredients are In Chicken Feet? 

Distilled white vinegar
Honey 
Water
Soy sauce
Sunflower oil

What Ingredients are In Dim Sum Chicken Feet Sauce? 

Brown sugar
Soy sauce
Oyster sauce
Garlic 
Ginger powder
Cinnamon
Water
Cornstarch
Chili paste
Lime juice 

blanched chicken feet

How Do I Clean Chicken Feet for Dim Sum? 

The main step to cleaning your chicken feet for your dim sum is to cut the toenails off of the feet. This part affected me a lot at first, but once I got into the motion of cutting the toes off, it became a lot easier. 

The chicken feet have three toes with 2-3 joints on each toe. The easiest way to get the nails off of the feet is to simply cut off the tips of the toes at the first joint. 

cutting the toes off

The bones in chicken feet are difficult to cut through with a knife and require a lot of force in order to push the knife through the entire bone. However, cutting the toes off at the joints is different, and much easier. 

The toes are the weakest at the points that the bones come together at a joint. Pushing the knife between these two bones allows the knife to slice through easily. 

The easiest way to find the joint is to flip the toe over and look at the underside of the foot. Each toe has a pad on it, similar to where your fingerprint would be on your own finger. Right below this pad sits a horizontal line, indicating that the joint rests below the skin (again, similar to your own fingers). 

Position your knife on this horizontal line and push through. There should be some resistance but not a lot. The toes will come off easily. 

chicken feet in container

Safety When Cooking Your Chicken Feet

The most dangerous part about cooking your chicken feet, by far, is frying them. Frying the chicken feet causes them to pop and boil, spraying oil across your kitchen if you’re not careful. 

To fry my chicken feet, I made sure to fry them in groups of two. I use a frying spatula that is made of metal with a wooden handle so that it is safe to leave in the oil without fear of it either melting or burning my hand. 

I position two chicken feet on my frying spatula and then place them in the oil. Then, immediately cover the wok with a lid, so that the oil can’t spray out. 

When checking to see if the feet are done, I life the lid only enough to peek in and see the color of the chicken feet. When they are a golden brown color, they are done. 

chicken foot with sauce

How to Eat Dim Sum Chicken Feet

Once the feet are fried, soaked, steamed, and coated in sauce, it’s time to eat them. Eating the dim sum chicken feet is surprisingly similar to cutting the toes off at the begining. 

To consume the chicken feet, you must eat them joint by joint. This means that you choose one of the toes to eat first. You put this toe in your mouth and use your teeth to bite through the next joint, just like how you did while declawing. 

When you bite through the joint, keep the now detached section of the toe in your mouth and suck all of the meat off of it. Then remove the bone and discard. Easy peasy! 

Would you ever try chicken feet?! Did you like this recipe for them? If so, please leave a comment on this post letting me know! 

If you enjoyed reading this article about how to make this uniquely cultural dish, you might also like: 

Dim Sum chicken feet pinterest graphic

Dim Sum Chicken Feet

These Dim Sum Chicken Feet are a true, authentic Chinese dim sum dish. Keep reading for step by step instructions on how to cook chicken feet at home.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

Chicken Feet Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs Chicken feet
  • 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Sunflower oil to fry

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 1/3 tsp garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • ½ lime for juice

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, boil water. Once boiling, add distilled white vinegar and honey. Add the full chicken feet into the water and blanch for about 3 minutes. You know it is time to remove the feet when they turn gray and begin to curl into themselves a bit.
  2. Remove the feet from the water and place in a strainer. Run them under cold water for a minute or two and then pour back into an empty, large pot. Add soy sauce and stir to add some color.
  3. Cut the toenails off the chicken feet by following the above section for “How Do I Clean Chicken Feet for Dim Sum?”
  4. In a wok, heat enough oil to deep fry the feet. Once heated, cook two chicken feet at a time. Place the chicken feet in the oil and immediately cover with a lid. This will keep the popping oil from hitting your kitchen (or you!).

  5. Fry the feet until they turn golden brown and then remove. Continue frying until all feet are cooked.
  6. Place all fried feet in a large bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak about one hour.
  7. When chicken feet finish soaking, fill a large pot with about 2-3 inches of water and steam the chicken feet for an hour. I used a vegetable steamer covered with parchment paper to steam my feet, but if you have bamboo steamers you can also use those.
  8. When chicken feet are done steaming, combine all sauce ingredients except for cornstarch and water in a small pot on the stove. Heat until bubbling.
  9. When sauce begins to bubble, combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and pour into the sauce. Stir the sauce until it begins to thicken. Pour over your chicken feet and enjoy.
  10. For instructions on how to eat the chicken feet, read the How to Eat Dim Sum Chicken Feet section above.

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only.