Despite my pledge to eat healthier, I'm still on an Indian-Chinese food kick this week. Following up my fried Gobi Manchurian, I decided to make fried chicken lollipops. A good excuse would be that this is a handy appetizer to know in case I ever host a last-minute party.
Since chicken is one of two meats that are popular in India (the other being lamb), it's not surprising that cooks would get creative with a little drumstick. All you need is a paring knife to cut the tendons and scrape down the meat so the meat forms a nice round ball at the end. And the end result is wings that are much less messy to eat, especially when you're dealing with the hazards of a spicy, sticky sauce.
I first made lollipops way back in culinary school in my hors d'œuvre module. My chef-instructor hinted that this was his original idea, and that he deserved credit if we were to ever offer them on our own restaurant menus. I was impressed, until later when I began to see these not only in Indian-Chinese restaurants but also on the Food Network. So much for original ideas. At least you can rest assured that this is a better lollipop method than jamming chicken nuggets on popsicle sticks.
This recipe comes from the restaurant Chinese Mirch in New York, via the Times. At the last minute I improvised a sauce using Korean red chili bean paste, honey, and water; it turned out very well, with no need for additional flavorings.
I would also try these marinated drummettes on a backyard grill if I had one. Alas, communist-style block apartments in China are not meant for summer cookouts.
Chicken Lollipops with Honey-Chili Sauce
Makes 1 dozen
- 12 chicken drummettes or wings (about 2 pounds)
- Peanut or canola oil for frying Fresh cilantro sprig, chopped, for garnish.
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon Asian red chili paste (I used a chili garlic paste)
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon Asian red chili paste (this time I used a Korean chili bean paste)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- With a paring knife, cut the tendons at the narrow end of each drummette. Scrape the meat down as far as possible without removing the meat completely, to form a round lollipop shape. If using wings, first separate the joints with a knife, scrape the meat as with the drummettes, and pull out and toss the smaller bone.
- In medium-sized bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the wings and gently toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour.
- In a wok, heat 2 inches of oil until just beginning to smoke. Working in batches, fry the chicken until golden brown on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on plates lined with paper towels.
- In a small sauce pot, heat up the water and chili paste for the sauce. When the mixture begins to simmer, stir in the honey. Remove from heat and drizzle over plated chicken. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.
Adapted from Chinese Mirch, via The New York Times