With a little extra massaging, turn your crispy kung pao drumstick into a less messy lollipop.
2 to 4 Servings
6 cups vegetable, canola or peanut oil
1 pound (about 8 to 10) chicken drummettes, at room temperature
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
For fry batter:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Kung Pao sauce:
8 chilies de árbol, stemmed, seeded and torn
2 tablespoons vegetable, canola or peanut oil
3 scallions, finely chopped (white & green parts), reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup Shaoxing wine
1/3 cup black soy sauce
1/3 cup brown rice vinegar or black vinegar
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, plus 1 tablespoon, chopped, for garnish
Handful fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
In a heavy, medium pot over medium heat, add the oil and heat to 350 degrees.
To prepare the chicken: Trim any fat, skin or bone off the tip of the drummettes. Using sharp culinary scissors, cut the meat around the circumference of the bone so that it is no longer attached. Push the meat upward, practically turning it inside out at the top, to resemble a lollipop. Place into a shallow baking dish or bowl. Continue with the remaining drummettes. Sprinkle with the cornstarch, white pepper and Chinese five-spice and toss to evenly coat. This will help the batter to stick. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Add the egg mixture and whisk to combine until smooth.
Dip each of the lollipops into the batter to coat. Allow any excess batter to drip off. In batches, gently place the battered lollipops in the hot oil and fry for 6 to 8 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked. Remove onto a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the chilies to lightly toast, 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the oil and stir to combine. Add the scallions, garlic and ginger. Stir and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Add the Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, vinegar, sweet chili sauce and white pepper. Whisk to combine. Simmer until thickened. Add the peanuts and toss to combine.
Put the drummettes in the pan and gently toss to coat in the sauce. Plate and garnish with scallions, peanuts and cilantro.
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