Karaage Chicken (Japanese Fried Chicken) makes a perfect weeknight dinner. Small pieces of twice-fried chicken bursting with flavour, it’s also great as an appetiser or game day snack.
So I’ve had a hankering for some Japanese food lately but I wasn’t sure what. I’ve been thinking teriyaki? But no that wasn’t quite it. Then it dawned on me. Karaage Chicken. Basically Japanese Fried Chicken. So yum. Delicious chunks of chicken thigh, marinated, then coated in potato flour (which I didn’t have, so my recipe uses corn flour) then deep fried.
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What is Karaage Chicken?
Karaage Chicken is a Japanese dish of bite sized pieces of chicken marinated in ginger, garlic, mirin and soy, then tossed in corn flour (cornstarch), or traditionally potato starch, before being fried. This is a flavourful dish that takes little effort to make.
How to make Karaage Chicken
Karaage chicken or “Garage chicken” (as it is affectionately known in our household) is not as greasy as a traditional fried chicken as it doesn’t have a batter or thick breaded coating on it.
The trick to making a beautiful, crispy Karaage Chicken is the double fry (some people even triple fry it). I fry the pieces in the hot oil for about one and a half minutes. Remove them for a couple of minutes and then drop them back in again for another minute and a half.
They don’t take long at all and they stay perfectly moist and juicy, while the coating gets nice and crispy.
The best meat for Karaage Chicken
Karaage can be made with breast meat but, quite simply, DON’T DO IT. It will definitely be dryer and the thigh gives the best flavour.
This has to be the quickest fried chicken to make as well. It just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it. Want fried chicken in half an hour? Yes please!
You don’t want to marinate the chicken for any longer than 20 minutes. I generally stick to the 15 minute mark. That gives me just enough time to get some accompaniments ready and heat the oil.
What to serve with Karaage Chicken
Karaage Chicken can be served as an appetiser, finger food or as a main meal. To serve it as a main meal, I like these accompaniments;
- Rice – perfect for making it a complete meal and the soft texture is perfect with the crispy chicken
- Fresh cucumber and finely sliced snow peas – cool and refreshing, it’s a lovely contrast to the soft meat and the light flavour does not mess with the full flavoured chicken. Japanese pickled vegetables would also be lovely.
- Kewpie mayonnaise – This is a Japanese mayonnaise that you can buy from most supermarkets. Don’t skip the Kewpie! See that yummy little dollop on the side above.
- Togarashi spice – this is a Japanese peppery spice mix of things like dried chilli, pepper, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, dried citrus peel & sesame seeds. Totally optional, however, I love the little kick of spice on top.
Oishi!! Tanoshimu & Sayonara for now
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- Mix together the ginger, garlic, soy sauce & mirin in a bowl, then add the pieces of chicken & coat thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10-20 minutes.
- Cover a plate or oven tray with absorbent paper towel and place a wire rack over the top. Place the cornflour in a bowl and heat the oil in a high sided saucepan to 180C / 350F.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge and one by one, take out pieces of chicken, coat in cornflour and place gently in the hot oil. It's best to do the chicken in 4-5 batches depending on the size of your saucepan. Don't overcrowd the pot as it will cool the oil down too much and won't give you nice crispy chicken bits.
- Deep fry each batch for 1 1/2 minutes, then remove and place on the wire rack. Once all batches are complete, starting with the first batch again, place the chicken back into the oil and deep fry a second time for 1 1/2 minutes again. Remove and place on the wire rack until all the chicken is done.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon
- A deep frying thermometer is very handy to keep an eye on the oil temperature. They are relatively cheap and useful in candy making as well.
- Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice cooking wine. Great to have on hand as it will last for a long time and is used in many Japanese dishes including sushi rice and Japanese pickled vegetables
- Togarashi spice is a Japanese peppery spice mix of things like dried chilli, pepper, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, dried citrus peel and sesame seeds. It is optional in this dish but does add a nice spicy kick
- Kewpie mayonnaise is a Japanese mayonnaise that you can buy from most supermarkets and grocery stores. Don’t skip the Kewpie in this dish.
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