I first discovered chicken lollipops a few years ago at a Filipino restaurant I used to frequent in Cerritos and I’ve always assumed they were a Pinoy concept. We, Filipinos, are an ingenious lot and if we can dream up something as outre as a sisig pizza, a chicken segment shaped into a lollipop didn’t seem to me all that far out. But as I found out today in my research online, these frenched chicken drumettes (or legs) actually originated from Indian Chinese cuisine where they are popular as hors-d’oeuvres.
Original idea or not, chicken lollipops have become a regular mainstay in the Filipino food scene and have been heavily adapted to meet local tastes. In this version, I marinated the drumettes overnight in a sweet, salty and slightly spicy plum sauce mixture and then baked them in the oven to juicy perfection. You can also deep-fry or grill them over hot coals, if you so desire. Any way you cook them, these plum sauce chicken lollipops are finger-licking, lip-smacking awesome.
- ½ cup plum sauce
- 3 tablespoons calamansi juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 1 thumb-size ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound chicken drumettes
- sesame seeds, toasted
- With a knife or scissors, cut the skin and tendon around the base of chicken drumette. Holding the exposed bone of the drumette, gently push the meat all the way down the opposite end, forming a knob of meat like a "lollipop". Repeat with remaining drumettes.
- In a bowl, combine plum sauce, calamansi juice, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, chili oil, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk together until well-blended.
- Add frenched drumettes to plum sauce mixture and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results.
- Drain chicken, reserving marinade. In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring marinade to a boil for about 5 minutes.
- On a lightly greased baking sheet, arrange chicken in a single layer. Bake in a 350 F oven, basting every 10 minutes with marinade, for about 30 to 35 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve hot.