Karaage is a popular homemade dish in Japan. It is usually made with chicken, but you can substitute the chicken with other meats/seafood and even tofu for my vegetarians out there! This recipe only involves a few ingredients and it is pretty easy to make! The texture of Karaage is really crunchy and crispy, but unlike other styles of fried chicken– Karaage is lightly coated with potato starch or corn starch. This method gives you all the crunchiness without leaving you with a greasy aftertaste.
What you need for Karaage:
- chicken (can substitute with different meats or tofu)
- for this recipe, I used chicken thigh as it is more tender and juicy
- potato starch or corn starch
- I used corn starch for this recipe
- soy sauce
- cooking rice wine
How to make Karaage:
- Cut 1 lb of chicken into bite-size pieces. Transfer the chicken into a clean bowl.
- Pour 1 cup of milk over the chicken and let it soak for 10 minutes.
- soaking the chicken in milk helps tenderize the chicken
- Rinse the milk off the chicken. Transfer the rinsed chicken to another bowl.
- To the bowl with the rinsed chicken, add 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, 1 Tbsp cooking rice wine, 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger, a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
- Using a deep heavy-bottomed pot, pour some neutral cooking oil to fill about 1/2 way. Heat the oil to 350ºF, use a thermometer to check the temperature.
- Using a dutch oven works the best, in my opinion!
- You might need to adjust the heat to make sure the oil stays at a steady 350ºF.
- Keeping the oil at this temperature is SUPER important. If the oil is not hot enough, the chicken will soak up all the oil. You’ll get really soft and greasy chicken, not very appealing.
- If the oil temperature is TOO high, the chicken will brown or even burn before it’s cooked thoroughly.
- Lightly and evenly coat the chicken pieces in cornstarch. Carefully drop the chicken into the hot oil.
- Try not to overcrowd the pot but cook in small batches. Overcrowding may cause the chicken to cook unevenly, which is not what we want!
- Fry the chicken. The chicken should start to float to the top, this means the chicken is done cooking. Be sure to check the internal temperature to make sure, the internal temperature should be 165ºF.
- cooking times may differ depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
- Transfer the fried chicken to a cooling rack.
- Double Fry. To achieve EXTRA crispiness, fry the chicken once more in small batches. This step should only take a few minutes since the chicken is already cooked.
- Transfer the double-fried chicken to a cooling rack to drain any excess oil drippings. Sprinkle some flakey salt and serve immediately!
- I like to dip my karaage in Kewpie mayo!
Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)
- 1 lb chicken thigh 453 grams
- 1½ cup cornstarch 180 grams
- 1 cup milk 240 grams
- 1 tbsp soy sauce 16 grams
- 1 tbsp cooking rice wine 15 grams
- ½ tbsp fresh ginger, grated 1-inch piece
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
- Cut the chicken in bite-size pieces. Transfer the chicken into a clean bowl. Pour the milk over the chicken and let it soak for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, rinse the milk off the chicken. Transfer the rinsed chicken to another clean bowl. Add the soy sauce, grated ginger, cooking rice wine, salt and pepper to the chicken. Stir to combine and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.
- Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with a neutral cooking oil to the halfway mark. Heat the oil to 350ºF. Use a thermometer to check the temperature, adjusting the heat as needed.
- Lightly and evenly coat the chicken in cornstarch. Gently drop the chicken into the hot cooking oil. Fry the chicken in small batches to prevent overcrowding the pot. The chicken should start to float to the top when done. Check the internal temperature of the fried chicken, the temperature should read 165ºF when done. Transfer the fried chicken to a cooling rack to drain any excess oil drippings.
- Fry the fried chicken once more for extra crunchiness. This should only take a few minutes since the chicken is already fully cooked. Transfer the double-fried chicken to the cooling rack to drain any excess oil drippings.
- Sprinkle some flakey salt and enjoy the karaage immediately!