Tasty Homemade Karaage
Light, flavorful, juicy and crunchy, karaage or Japanese fried chicken is simply wonderful. Kaarage is an incredibly popular dish in Japan found in diners, convenience stores, izakaya (think the Japanese version of a pub), and of course, in people’s home kitchens. Karaage features bite-sized, marinated pieces of chicken thigh meat coated with a light flour breading and deep-fried twice for maximum crispiness. The double-frying and marinating techniques work together to ensure that the inside of the chicken remains juicy in contrast to the crisp exterior. Karaage is often served simply-- with a garnish of thinly sliced cabbage and a slice of lemon. Occasionally, mayo is combined with shichimi spice for a dipping sauce. The small size of each piece makes karaage easy to make in a home kitchen, with no special equipment needed for the deep-frying aspect. Try the following recipe to make your own karaage today!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
1.5lbs boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
½ teaspoon kosher sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons potato starch (can be substituted with corn starch)
2 tablespoons karaageko (can be substituted with all-purpose flour)
Neutral-flavored oil (canola, vegetable, soybean are all good options) for deep-frying
½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon ryori-shu cooking sake
½ tablespoon sesame oil
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
Shichimi spice powder
Cut chicken into two-inch pieces and season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, ryori-shu, and sesame oil. Whisk together until it is an even consistency.
Add the chicken, and toss with your hands until the chicken is evenly coated. Cover and keep in the refrigerator to marinade for at least 30 minutes.
Pour the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. A deep-walled cast iron skillet or a dutch oven is ideal. Make sure the oil is deep enough to completely submerge a piece of chicken-- at least 1.5 to 2 inches.
Heat the oil to 325F (163C) using medium heat.
Using a plate, or other flat utensil, make a small pile out of the potato starch and karaageko. The piles of each should be separated.
Carefully dip each piece of chicken into the karaageko, and then the potato starch, making sure to coat evenly, but not too densely.
Once the oil has come to temperature, you can begin deep frying. Place 3-5 chicken pieces in the oil at a time and fry for about 90 seconds. Don’t place too many chicken pieces in the oil at once, as this will cause the temperature to lower and increase the chance of the chicken becoming too dry during cooking.
Remove the chicken from the oil and allow it to dry on a wire rack to drain the excess oil. Repeat until all the chicken pieces have been fried once.
Be sure to skim the oil for crumbs between batches. This helps keep the oil clean.
For the second stage of frying, heat the oil to 350F.
Deep fry the chicken pieces a second time, this time for 45 seconds in the same small batch size as the first pass.
Serve karaage hot, with a lemon slice for garnish, or a mayonnaise and shichimi as a dipping sauce and enjoy!