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Fried Chicken Lollipops with Popper Sauce


If I’m being “perfectly dishonest” (to quote Betzalel Levin @belovinmusic), this is my way of sneaking poppers back into the Yom Tov seudah mix. Schnitzel is by far the best way to eat chicken, and the popper sauce on top was a revolution that shook the Jewish world to its core (waistline) years ago. I can’t say I’m reinventing the wheel here, but they sure are the prettiest poppers I’ve ever seen. Make sure you try dipping them into garlic mayo. I can’t remember if I learned this from Rabbi Shua Rose or my brother Yehuda, but it is the best way to eat a popper, forks down. I got this batter recipe from my good friend Efraim Greenblatt, owner of Shmaltz (Ramat Eshkol) and Hatch (Machane Yehuda). This is the recipe he uses for his famous wings, so you are going to want to save this. He was happy to share his recipe so that people can enjoy great food at home!


Prepare the Fried Chicken Lollipops

1. Heat three to four inches of canola or peanut oil (enough to fully submerge everything except the bone of the chicken) in a large pot over medium-high heat.
2. Mix flour, corn flour, and water and stir to form a batter. Add a bit more water, if needed, to thin the batter. Dip drumsticks into batter and let excess drip off.
3. Carefully place into hot oil, pressing down for the first 15 to 20 seconds so the chicken stands upright (for easier plating). Fry for seven to 10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown, with an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the Sauce

1. Bring hot sauce, honey, and oil to a boil and cook for five minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, until thickened. Taste and adjust with additional hot sauce, honey or sugar to reach your desired heat and sweetness level. (Credit goes to the Dougie’s kitchen worker who originally leaked this recipe. It spread all over the world, and that was pre-social media days! Thank you, sir!)

To Serve:

1. Dip hot chicken drumsticks into popper sauce and drain on a wire rack or crumpled foil. Place a bed of mashed potatoes in the center of the plate and then form a wall of mash in the center of the bed (forming an upside-down T).
2. Arrange the chicken piece by piece, as pictured, using the mash as a “glue.” (Make sure the front and back bone is consistent from start to finish.)

Tips: You can choose to “French” your chicken yourself (I actually bought a cleaver specifically for this), but Epstein’s Meat in Lakewood will do it for you, which will save you a major hassle. They are so patient and friendly, which for me is a prerequisite to a good butcher. To Make Ahead: Refrigerate chicken and sauce separately. Reheat chicken, uncovered, in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven until hot and crispy. Reheat sauce separately, then proceed with plating.


Styling and Photography by Chay Berger