Vietnamese Lemongrass Wings are the Asian response to all American hot wings.  Chicken wing drumettes are seasoned, dusted in flour, pan-fried, then brushed with a sticky sweet sauce consisting of chilies, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. The drumettes are then baked off in the oven until caramelized and crisp. These wings provide a delicious balance of spicy, salty, and sweet. Lemongrass is a popular herb used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking; it can be found in almost any Asian market.

 

 Ingredients  (makes about 12 mini-drumsticks) (3-4 people)

1.5 lbs chicken wing drumettes

1 teaspoon salt

black pepper

1/4 cup all purpose flour

3 stalks Lemongrass (inner bulb) (finely chopped)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 inch ginger (minced)

1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

3 Thai bird chilies (or two serrano) (chopped)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Cooking oil

Handful cilantro (for garnish)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and dry chicken drumettes with paper towel. Then place into large mixing bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, and coat with 1/4 cup flour. Mix well and set aside.  For sauce: mince garlic, grate ginger, and chop chilies. Then, strip three stalks of lemongrass, chopping only the tender center. Set aside along with ginger, garlic, and chilies. In another mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/2 cup brown sugar and whisk until sugar has dissolved.  Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a small pot and toast 1 teaspoon of crushed red chili flakes until fragrant and slightly darkened. Then add chilies, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. Fry for about 30 seconds before adding the sauce, then let simmer on medium-high heat for about 5-10 minutes until slightly reduced and thick. Set aside.

For drumettes, pour about a 1/4 inch of oil into a large fry pan and heat at medium temperature. Once oil is hot, place drumettes on pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. Then remove from pan and place onto large plate lined with paper towel. Transfer drummettes to a greased baking sheet, take sauce and brush evenly over each drumsticks, turning over and repeating. If sauce is too thick, loosen it with a little water. Once chicken is evenly coated, slide into oven and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, turning halfway between, or until juices run clear.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts, and serve. Enjoy!

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