Remember when I went to Chinese Mirch and had mouth watering chicken lollipops?! Well after some internet investigation, my friend Bear found the recipe in an old NY Times article and obvs I had to try it out to see how close it was to the real thing.
OK, I’m not gonna lie. This recipe is pretty difficult and is for Snarky readers that have somewhat advanced culinary skills. It was a bitch to make. I had a close call with disfigurement when my knife slipped and there was alot of cursing involved. The following can be found on the Times website here. I’m adding helpful photos and my notes in red.
3 pounds chicken wing “drumettes” or whole wings, tips discarded
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon red Asian chili paste
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon canola cooking oil ½ cup water
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
Peanut or canola oil for frying
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish.
1. Use a sharp knife to separate two joints if using whole wings. Cut tendons at narrower end of each “drumette” joint, hold that end with a kitchen towel, and scrape down meat as far as possible toward thicker end to make a plump lollipop shape. If using second joints, too, cut through cartilage at one end of each piece, separating the bones, scrape meat down the large bone to make a lollipop shape, and pull out and discard smaller bone.
I got the buffalo style wings from Whole Foods, so some were drumettes and others were wings. At first I tried to use my trusty Chef’s knife to do this but realized it was just way too huge. So I ended up using a sharp paring knife which probs is the completely wrong thing to use but it’s the only knife I had that was small enough to get in between the wing joints. Finding and cutting the tendons (they are those hard white rubbery strings running all thru the chicken wing; they also connect the meat to the bone) was the hardest part. I had to use alot of crafty (read: barbaric) knifework that basically consisted of me hacking away at the top of the wing and cutting thru any of the connecting tissue that was preventing the meat from being scraped down. It’s pretty easy to tell when you’ve reached lollipop success because the bone should look totes clean.
If I just had to deal with the drumsticks then I think this would have been a more pleasant experience, but the wings were soooo annoying. Basically you have to wiggle your knife in between the wing joints, cut through it, and then scrape the meat down from the smaller bone, while wiggling it free from the bottom joint until you can pop the bone out. At this point, you basically have a drumette and need to scrape the meat into a lollipop by following the directions above.
2. In bowl large enough to hold all the wings, whisk together all other ingredients, except frying oil and cilantro. Add wings, mix gently to coat, and refrigerate 1 hour.
I forgot about the chicken and so it was marinating for more than an hour and I don’t think it made a difference. Next time I think I might add a crap-ton of hot sauce to the marinade because I remember the Mirch lollipops being a little more spicy and the chicken was tinted a slight red. Possibly also it needs to marinate for longer to really penetrate the meat (there has got to be a TWSS joke here somewhere), maybs overnight?
3. In large deep fryer or large deep kettle heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees. Working in batches to avoid crowding, fry wings until golden brown on both sides.
OMG deep frying is hard, and dangerous. And not good dangerous like how I use dangerous sometimes to denote the intention to get aggressively, mind-numbingly hammered (see also: Palmarized). Dangerous like holy-third-degree-burns dangerous. Esp if you are a functional retard like me and deep fry while wearing a tank top. Next time I am wearing full body armor (see: armadillo or ankylosaur).
Obvs, I did not have a thermometer to test the temperature of the oil so I asked Jeeves “How do I know when frying oil is ready?” and he told me to throw a cube of bread in there and when it gets brown in 60 seconds then the oil is ready. That seemed to work pretty well and also the deep fried rye bread cube was a tasty little snack. I recommend using a pan with high sides because once you put the chicken in there, that shit gets volatile. Oil sputters will randomly happen and you must be vigilant (I suggest the duck and weave method), while you turn your lollipops.
Make sure when you drop the chicken in there to lower gently and slowly into the oil. Also, make sure to shake off most of the marinade from the chicken because any excess moisture will cause the oil to erupt a la Trogdor burnination like whoa. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t paying attention to the time so I’m not sure how long the pollo pops were frying for, but it was longer than I expected. I guess it was like 10-12 minutes total (halfway thru I would turn over the pop to get even browning). But, just keep them in the hot oil until they are a nice and crispy brown.
4. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels. When oil returns to 375 degrees, add new batches until done. Arrange on a platter and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.
I suggest you wait at least 5 minutes before hossing a pollo pop; I know it will be excruciating to try and wait, but you know what’s even more excruciating? Burning the shit out of your mouth.
Also, forget the cilantro garnish. Garnishes are for wussies.
Snarky’s Final Thought: All in all, making chicken lollies was quite the experience. I would say if you’re still a cooking noobie, don’t try this at home. But if you feel like an adventure and are confident you won’t kill yourself, then totes go for it. Turning the chicken into lollipops was the most time consuming (and annoying) part … possibly I am missing some sort of shortcut/secret method that takes less time, but these are def a labor of love. Taste-wise, these were similar to the lollies at Chinese Mirch, and def will satisfy a craving for spicy, fried deliciousness. I mean, it’s fried chicken, so obvs pollo pops are awesome. Also, this would be much easier if someone would just get me a Fry Daddy.
What do you think of deep frying? Are you gonna try these out or would you rather run to KFC and forget the hassle/grease burns?