Spicy Asian Chicken Lollipops
- 24 chicken wing drummettes
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, skin-on, smashed
- 2 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- One 1-inch piece ginger, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- Dry Rub:
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 cup sweet soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Peanut oil, for deep-frying
- 2 tablespoons finely diced red pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions, cut on the bias
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Prepare the lollipops: With a knife or kitchen shears, cut the skin and tendons around the bottom (the narrow end) of each drummette. Use a paring knife to scrape the meat from to bottom toward the top of the bone to form a lollipop shape; make sure the bone is scraped completely clean.
Make the brine: To a saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups water and the vinegar, honey, salt, soy sauce, peppercorns, pepper flakes, garlic, star anise, bay leaf and ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Pour the brine into a large bowl and add 1 1/2 cups ice to cool it down quickly. Add the chicken lollipops to the brine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Remove the chicken and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare the dry rub: In a large bowl, combine the five-spice powder, garlic, ginger, mustard, paprika, salt and cayenne. Mix well to blend. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the rub for later use in sauce, then add the chicken and coat thoroughly with the rub.
Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet, transfer to the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the skin begins to turn golden. (This helps render some of the fat, so the drummettes fry up nice and crispy.) Remove from oven and set aside.
While the drummettes are cooking, prepare the sauce: To a medium saute pan, add the sweet soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, honey, pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook until the sauce has reduced by a third or so, about 10 minutes. Stir in the reserved tablespoon of the dry rub and keep warm while you fry the wings.
Fill a large, heavy pot with 2 to 3 inches of oil, and heat to 350 degrees F over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the chicken wings in the oil until brown and crispy, 6 to 7 minutes. With a spider or slotted spoon, remove the fried chicken to a large mixing bowl. Add the sauce to the chicken and toss to coat.