The recipe edited on Aug 1, 2020.
Karaage (唐揚げ) is the staple comfort food and also the popular street food in Japan.
When Japanese people say “Karaage”, generally is referred to “Kara age Chicken”, but originally “Kara-age” means the dish coated meat, seafood, and veggies with flour (or potato starch) and deep-fried.
If you like chicken, fried chicken, deep-fried food, absolutely you love this!
It is my husband’s favorite Japanese dish, and also our guests compliment me that they never have had such as tender, juicy, and crispy fried chicken.
The ingredient is so simple, it is why the procedure is very important to make tender, juicy, and crispy fried chicken.
Chicken Thighs Or Breasts?
First of all, boneless chicken is used for Japanese fried chicken.
Thighs or Breasts???
Well, you know, if you like a rich and juicy fried chicken after forgetting calories, use thighs.
If you like light and healthier (lower calories), choose breasts.
When using chicken breasts, I tenderize them overnight so the breasts are still moist and tender after being deep-fried.
Also, butterfly breast meat and cut into 2.5-inch pieces. The breast gets easily cooked instantly and it causes dry meat, so do not cut small pieces.
You don’t need to tenderize chicken thighs???
You can, (maybe it’s more tender and juicy), but cut thighs enough size, the regular marinating has still effect tenderizing, should be fine.
Skin-on or skinless???
In Japan, some people love “chicken skin” so generally we cook skin-on, but you can remove the skin if desired. (Really doesn’t affect the taste whether with skin or not.)
With Egg Or Without Egg?
In Japanese fried chicken recipes, there are roughly two types of recipes, “With egg” and “Without Egg”.
So which one is better?
With beaten egg, the coating becomes thicker and a little fluffy and keeps flavor even getting cold.
Especially in Japan, because “Chicken Karaage is the staple Obento (Japanese lunch box) menu, so “With egg” is preferred as considered eaten in cold condition.
On the other hand, “crispy fried chicken” geeks just look for crispy for coating.
Besides, as adding a beaten egg, it prevents chicken is going to be dried while marinating in the refrigerator.
There is no right answer whether with egg or not, so find out which you like.
I usually don’t add beaten egg for the marinade, HOWEVER, I add beaten egg when using frozen chicken.
Kara-Age Chicken Coating Meme
The texture of the fried chicken is completely different depending on the type of coating powder used.
Speaking of Japanese fried chicken, the crispy and crunchy coating is generally preferred so Japanese people often use “Potato starch” for making fried chicken crispy.
(Potato starch is the staple starch in Japan).
To be precise, the fried chicken (or other foods) that coated with potato starch-only is called “Tatsuta Age”(竜田揚げ). In this way, the fried chicken color gets a more whitish and crispy texture.
However, the fried chicken loses its crispy texture and becomes sticky over time, so it is best to eat it freshly cooked.
On the other hand, Karaage chicken made with only wheat flour can be fluffy and juicy without losing the umami flavor (the savory flavor) because the flour coating is sticky and hardly taken apart from the chicken.
Deep-fried with flour is a crispy and golden brown color. The coating is fluffy and getting moist over time. If you don’t eat immediately after cooking, such as for a pot rack party, flour is better than potato starch only.
Let’s take advantage of both! Lightly apply the flour and then overlay the potato starch. Wheat flour keeps the umami flavor inside the meat, and potato starch adds a crispy texture.
I think it is easy to get corn starch for you (and also a reasonable price) so you can use corn starch instead of potato starch.
First coat the chicken with flour and then the potato starch. By coating the flour first, the chicken flavor will not lose, and a crispy texture can be obtained by layering potato starch on top.
Besides, if you have rice flour, it’s gonna be good too. (Gluten-free)
Whole wheat flour?
Actually, I tried the coating mixed with all-purpose and whole wheat flour once.
I don’t like the flavor much, but my husband likes it (or doesn’t care much).
So, it depends on your taste.
Double-Fry Is The Key
As well as french fries, “Double-Fry” is the key to make crispy Kara-Age Chicken.
It is not just deep-fried twice, it’s required to pay attention to the temperature.
• A suitable Pot
If you want to stick to make crispy fried chicken, choose the right pot.
1. Copper Pot
The best is the copper pot. Since the easy control and evenness of temperature makes deep-frying easier.
Once you put food in the oil, the temperature is decreased, but it gets back to the ideal temperature. Therefore, it will be crispy even if you continue to fry.
2. Cast iron
Cast iron not only heats up quickly and evenly but also has good temperature storage.
It’s just thick and heavy, (this is why it’s good for cooking, ) and needs well-care.
In fact, copper pot can be easy to worse oil. Professional chefs use up a lot of oil at once and change to new oil each time, however, if you want to keep the oil in an oil pot for next time, cast iron is better.
Could. But a frying pan is wide-open and not deep enough, so it is hard to keep the ideal temperature for deep-frying. It is ok when you cook a small amount like you can finish one time.
Also, it is easy to burn because ingredients touch the bottom.
If you looking for better results or you are a beginner to deep-fry, the fryingpan is not a good choice for deep-frying.
By the way, a fryer is common in the US, so it may be handy to keep temperature.
In Japan, it is not so common kitchen gadget at a private home, so generally, we use a deep-fry pod called “Tempura Nabe(pod)” (天ぷら鍋).
Wanna Save Time??? Freeze It.
If you freeze marinated meat, you can save the cooking time. I always do this way, it’s much easier and less stressful, you know.
I like cooking, but sometimes not a mood for doing the whole “kara-age process”, which is a little pain for me.
Marinate chicken in a freezer bag except for a beaten egg. Place it flat on the metallic tray such as a baking sheet pan the quick freezing to prevent from losing flavor and also bacteria reproduction.
Thaw the marinade chicken, add a beaten egg, and mix well. In the process of freezing to thawing, the flavor keeps losing. By adding a beaten egg, give frozen marinated chicken moisture and flavor back.
Leave it for 10 minutes, you can see the chicken absorb the moisture.
The excess juice and sauce are not good for following processes, so drain or wipe off the excess liquid.
Rico’s Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe
Japanese Fried Chicken
- 1.5 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts (14-15 fried chicken)
- 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp of ginger powder)
- 1/2 -1 tsp grated garlic
- 1/2 -1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp Japanese sake or white wine
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce (Kikkomann)
- 1 tbsp Sesame oil (olive oil, vegetable oil)
- 1/3 cup All-purpose flour
- 1/3 - 2/3 cup Potato starch or corn starch
- 1 whole egg (beaten) *Optional
- If you use chicken breast, I recommend tenderizing in advance.
- Cut chicken into about 2 - 3inches cube (about 1.4oz, 40-5-g), not too small. Try cutting all same size. Remove fat.
- In the bowl, add chicken, grated ginger, grated garlic, black pepper, sake or wine, sugar, dark soy sauce. Use a hand and massage meat well. (*A beaten Egg is your option.)
- Add sesame oil or another oil, (to keep moist and flavor inside the meat,) rest in the refrigerator for just 10 - 15 minutes.
- *Do not marinate the chicken for over 30 minutes.Soy sauce makes the meat dried.
- Start heating the oil to 320F (160℃).
- Meanwhile, get ready for double coating-flour and starch. (I use separate plastic bags).
- When the oil is ready, dredge 4 - 5 chicken pieces in the flour and remove the excess flour.
- Then, layover with potato (corn) starch coating and gently throw each chicken piece into the oil.
- Do not put too many pieces, keep a small batch. Add 3-5 pieces at a time to avoid the oil temperature will drop rapidly.
- Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes. (For breast meat, 2 minutes) In my way, I set the timer or stopwatch, keep my eyes on it. Cool them down on the wire rack. Repeat this until over.
- After all pieces are done with the first fried, reheat the oil up to 350F (180℃). Do second fry chicken for 1 minute.
- Changed chicken weighs to 1.5 lb from 1-1.5 lb (edited on July.2020)
- Changed amounts of garlic, black pepper to 1/2 - 1 tsp from 1 tsp. (edited on Jul.2020)
- Changed chicken size to 2 - 3 inches and add weighs. (edited on July.2020)
- Changed the amount of soy sauce to 2 tbsp. (edited on August 1, 2020)
I always cut one of the big pieces a half to make sure chicken is cooked perfectly.
It is already flavorful, so generally don’t need a dip. Yet, fresh lemon juice goes well.
My husband’s favorite dip sauce is “Sweet chili sauce” or “Chinese garlic chili oil”.
The Easy Japanese aurora sauce is also another option.
Fried chicken has been loved worldwide, Japanese fried chicken as well.
There are countless recipes for “Karaage Chicken” even in several languages, enjoy to find your favorite recipe.
Even I have been tried so many recipes to complete my mission, which is making the ultimate tender, juicy, and crispy “Karaage chicken” for my husband.
(He loves Karaage more than I.)
So far, we are satisfied my recipe.
Karaage chicken is also staple nibble with drinks at home, at Izakayas.