Kung Pao Fried Chicken

East meets the Deep South with this spicy version of Kung Pao Chicken.

Serves 4

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1 quart plus 2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons mirin
3 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons black bean paste
1 Tablespoon sambal oelek
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
3-4 scallions, minced

In a small saucepan, bring the honey and 1 tablespoon of the ginger to a simmer. Let cool, then strain the honey into a bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining 3 tablespoons of ginger and cook over low heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mirin and vinegar and simmer until slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Add both soy sauces and the black bean paste and simmer just until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the sambal oelek.

Season the flour with salt,garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cayenne pepper In a large, deep skillet, heat the 1 quart of canola oil to 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Dredge drumsticks in the seasoned flour; add the drumsticks and fry over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone registers 160°F, 20 to 25 minutes; be sure to maintain the oil temperature at 350°F. Drain the drumsticks and blot with paper towels.

Transfer the drumsticks to a large bowl and toss to coat with the sauce. In a shallow dish or pie plate, combine the peanuts and scallions. Roll the drumsticks in the peanut-scallion mixture, drizzle with the ginger honey and serve.