So I've noticed the past couple recipes I've done have been asian-inspired dishes. I can't help it if I'm partial to my people, but I promise, there will be more diversity to come. And I'm also happy to report that I know am the proud owner of a Nikon D40 SLR camera. My shots should be better and more appealing, once I start playing around with the thing and getting used to it. I'm officially obsessed is was Andy tells me.
Anywho, I LOVE kung pao and decided that in honor of our 2009 fantasy football draft, that I would cook up a batch for my friends and show them that cooking good food is not “nerdy”… but a delicious hobby.
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 cup dried chile de arbol (I used about 25 of those suckers)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
12 chicken drumsticks
salt and freshly ground black pepper
all purpose flour for dusting chicken
chopped roasted peanuts for garnish
In medium saucepan, heat the 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Careful not to burn the aromatics! Add the dried chiles and cook until they turn dark red, shouldn't take too long. Lower the heat and add sugar, soy sauce, sherry, vinegar, and simmer it until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and cover sauce and let sit for about 1 hour. This sitting time allows the flavors from the chilies to develop with the rest of the liquids.
Strain the sauce and return liquid to saucepan. I saved the dried chilies for my garnish at the end, but you can throw them away if you'd like. Bring sauce to a boil and whisk in cornstarch mixture. I love the magic of cornstarch! It's a quick fix thickener! Remove sauce from heat and stir in sesame oil. I didn't think my sauce was hot enough, so I added a few pinches of some red pepper flakes, but if you like it sweet, then you don't have to!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Fill a large pot with about 3 inches of oil and bring to about 325 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Put a rack on a baking sheet near the stove. In batches, fry drumsticks until brown and crisp. Drain chicken on rack and keep warm in oven while other batches are frying.
Once all chicken is done, let rest and allow to cool slightly. Take sauce and “paint” drumsticks. I found it best to use a spoon and just dab the chicken in spots and spread it around, but whatever way is ideal for you, be my guest. Top with roasted peanuts (just take regular peanuts and heat up in a pan for about 1 to 2 minutes until warm) and you're all set!!
This was definitely a crowd pleaser! I almost wish I would have made more. Poor Andy was trying to be polite and let everyone get some first, and ended up waiting too long that there were none left!! Great thing to make for the upcoming football season though! Enjoy!