Karaage lollipops with mole colorado and yuzu sunomono

When it came to parts of the chicken you would find in an upscale restaurant, I found that almost nobody felt that a chicken wing was fine-dining worthy. So I wanted to tackle that, and try to class up chicken wings a little bit. Mostly because they are delicious, have tons of flavor, and need to stop being overlooked in favor of chicken breasts and thighs! So for this recipe, we are taking the humble chicken wing and transforming them into little chicken lollipops! I have done this with duck wings before, and I just love the little mini drumstick-like shape that these get! I marinated the lollipops in a more Japanese-style karaage mixture just to give them a juicy texture, crunchy exterior, and a ton of umami! I am pairing these with a mole colorado, which is a Oaxacan mole typically served with poultry, just because I love how the soy and miso in the marinade really add another layer of umami into that really complex mole mixture. To finish the dish, I went with yuzu-infused sunomo(Japanese pickles), just to add a punch of acidity to really brighten up the dish with! With this dish, you have juicy and crunchy umami-packed chicken lollipops with brightly acidic Japanese pickles and a smoky mole. I hope this changes your perception on what the humble chicken wing can be, because it was certainly fun for me to experiment with this!

For the karaage lollipops:
6 to 8 whole chicken wings
2 cloves of garlic
1 tspn grated ginger
1 tspn grated onion
3 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
2 tbsp yellow or red miso paste
a pinch of salt, plus more to finish with
1 tspn granulated sugar
1 tbsp rice koji
1 tspn instant dashi
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp mirin
potato starch
canola oil for frying

With the chicken wings, start by cutting them into two parts. You should have one segment that is a singular bone surrounded by meat, and another segment that has two bones running through it that is attached to the wing tip. To “lollipop” the single-boned piece, run your knife around the ends of the bone, preferably the thicker side. Gently push down the meat, running your fingers down the chicken bone as you do so, allowing the meat to ball up and be wrapped inside of the chicken skin. For the double-boned segment with the wing tip, start by removing the wing tip(you can reserve that for sauces, or deep fry it separately for a crunchy little bite to snack on!). Find the joint tendons between the two bones in the wing, and sever it on both sides. Wiggle the smaller bone until it comes loose and carefully remove it. At this point, you can repeat the same motions you did with the single-bone segment and just push the meat down to one end of the bone.

For the marinade, mix the other ingredients, minus the potato starch, finishing salt, and oil, in a bowl. Toss the lollipop’d chicken wings in the marinade and allow that to sit for at least 30 minutes. Pat the wings dry and dust with potato starch. Heat up at least 3 inches of canola oil to 330 degrees F and fry the chicken lollipops for at least 8-10 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and dust with salt.

For the mole colorado:
2 dried pasilla chilies, pitted and seeded
1 dried ancho chili, pitted and seeded
1 dried guajillo chili, pitted and seeded
1/4 cup diced plantain
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 tspn ground cloves
1/4 tspn ground cinnamon
1 tspn dried Mexican oregano
1 tspn dried thyme
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp dark chocolate

Using the oil from the deep fry, flash fry basically every ingredient besides the cloves, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, sesame, tomato paste, chicken stock, sugar, and dark chocolate, for 5-10 seconds. Puree everything together in a blender, then pass through a sieve. Allow the sauce to reduce on low heat for at least 10 minutes, preferably in a large and flat pan so that the entire mole could be heated through quickly. Make sure to stir the mole at least every 3 minutes as to prevent it from burning or going bitter!

For the yuzu sunomono:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp yuzu juice
a pinch of salt
1 tspn granulated sugar
1/4 tspn instant dashi
1/4 cup ice
2 radishes
1 Persian cucumber

Heat up the vinegar, yuzu juice, salt, sugar, and dashi until everything is just dissolved. Take off heat and add in the ice to bring down the temperature of the liquid quickly. Shave the vegetables on the second setting of a mandolin and allow them to sit in the liquid for at least 10 minutes. Drain before garnishing the dish with.

To garnish:
Edible flowers

Start with the mole at the bottom of the plate. Then place on your lollipops, and sunomono pickles. Finish with edible flowers on top.

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