How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, heat the 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chiles and cook until they turn dark red, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to moderate, add the sugar, soy sauce, tamari, sherry and vinegar and simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
Strain the sauce and return it to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and bring back to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil and scallions and transfer to a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large pot, bring 3 inches of oil to 325°. Season the chicken drumettes with salt and pepper and dust generously with flour. Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet near the stove. Working in batches, fry the drumettes until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain the drumettes on the rack and keep warm on a platter in the oven while you fry the rest. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and serve with the kung pao sauce.
Like soy sauce, tamari is made from soy beans, but it has a richer, cleaner flavor. It's available at some grocery stores and at Asian markets.