Thursday, November 17, 2011

Savoury Chicken Lollipops

I'm always on the lookout for great appetizers, and found this delicious recipe for Savoury Chicken Lollipops, which hail from the plump part of the humble chicken wing that looks like a mini drumstick. More upscale than a chicken wing, these cute little bite size morsels are fun to nibble on and easy to make. A chicken wing has three sections: the pointed wing tip; the middle part; and the plump and meaty drumstick end, which is what is used for making Chicken Lollipops.

The chicken wing is comprised of 3 parts: tip (R), middle (M) and meaty end (L)

To start, the wings need to be cut apart. The tapering wing tips don’t have much meat on them, so they're sliced off and could be saved for making chicken stock — being very gelatinous, they're perfect for that. The middle part of the wing is removed at the second joint, and can also be saved for making chicken wings. What's left is the meaty end, which is made into little drumsticks, or lollipops. 

Holding onto the meaty end of the wing, the flesh is separated at the top 
and scraped down towards the bottom

Holding onto the end of the bone, the flesh is separated and scraped down toward the “shoulder” end of the wing, creating a ball of chicken meat at the end. Using your fingers, pull the meat over the fatty end of the bone so that it turns inside out, and voila, you have a lollipop! 

The meat is pulled firmly down over the fatty end of the bone and turned inside out

They can be marinated any way you like, and then fried, roasted, baked or barbecued, but whichever you prepare them, they're lovely to nibble on and make a wonderfully fun, savoury and delicious appetizer.

Chicken Lollipops
Makes 24 lollipop appetizers

24 chicken wings

Tandoori Marinade:
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
1-1/2 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp melted ghee

Using a paring knife, cut each chicken wing into its three segments, discarding the wing tips and middle portions, saving them for making chicken stock and chicken wings at a future time. The meaty drumstick end will be turned into a lollipop. Start by holding the thin end of the drumstick, and using a paring knife, carefully cut through the skin surrounding the bone. Once the skin is cut all around, use the knife to scrape down the meat from the bone, pushing the meat down to the other end. Using your fingers, pull the meat over the fat end of the bone so that it turns inside out. You now have a lollipop. Remove any flesh left on the thin end with a clean towel to make a nicer presentation.

Use your favourite chicken marinade for the lollipops, or choose one of my three favourite tried-and-true recipes: Tandoori Marinade, Mild Asian Marinade or Fragrant Five-Spice Marinade.

To marinate chicken lollipops with Tandoori Marinade: In a large bowl, combine yoghurt, ginger, garlic, cardamom, chili powder, garam masala, oil, lemon juice and salt and mix well to form a thick consistency. Add the chicken lollipops to the mixture and marinate, covered and refrigerated for at least 4-5 hours, or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the chicken lollipops standing up on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until they're cooked through and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Asian Marinade:

1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp soy
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp fish sauce

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Add the chicken lollipops and marinate, covered and refrigerated for 2-24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the chicken lollipops standing up on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until they're cooked through and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Five-Spice Marinade with Soy Ginger Sauce and Cilantro:

2 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp chopped cilantro

Mix the five-spice powder, 1 tbsp of the sugar, garlic and the salt in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes and remaining 1 tsp sugar.

Put the chicken lollipops in a large bowl, drizzle with the vegetable oil and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the lollipops; toss and rub to coat thoroughly. The chicken can be made ahead up this point and refrigerated until needed.

Once you're ready, grill the chicken lollipops on the BBQ until one side has dark grill marks, about 4-6 minutes. Turn and continue to grill until well marked on the other sides and cooked through.

Move the lollipops to a serving dish. Drizzle with about half of the soy mixture, sprinkle with the cilantro, and toss to coat. Let rest 4 to 5 minutes, tossing once or twice. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with the remaining soy mixture passed at the table.