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Japanese Fried Chicken: Chicken Kaarage

Chicken Kaarage is a type of Japanese fried chicken known for its crispy exterior and juicy interior. It boasts a delectable flavor infused with soy sauce and sake.

If you enjoy Japanese cuisine, you might also want to explore dishes like Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Crispy Shrimp Tempura.

Recipe Details

Chicken Kaarage is sure to win over fried chicken lovers with its delightful texture and incredible flavor. This dish is simple to prepare and irresistibly delicious.

  • TASTE: Infused with rice wine, sake, soy sauce, and sesame oil, this chicken offers abundant umami flavor. The ginger and garlic further enhance its taste.
  • TEXTURE: Featuring a crispy outer coating and a tender inside, Chicken Kaarage is a treat.
  • TIME: The recipe requires approximately 90 minutes.
  • EASE: Contrary to expectations, preparing this dish is simpler than you think, and I’ll guide you to create the crispiest chicken you’ve ever enjoyed.

What You’ll Need

Ingredients for Chicken Kaarage: cornstarch, potato starch, ginger, soy sauce, chicken thighs, garlic, egg, mirin, sesame oil, sake, salt, and pepper.

Ingredient Notes

  • Cornstarch- Used to thicken the marinade for better adhesion to the chicken before coating.
  • Potato starch- Ideal for coating the chicken and achieving a crispy outer layer.
  • Sake- A Japanese wine delivering sweet and slightly umami notes.
  • Mirin- Adds a sweet and tangy touch to the dish.
  • Egg- Acts as a binding agent in the marinade.
  • Garlic- Fresh garlic provides aromatic and pungent flavors.
  • Ginger- Freshly grated ginger offers superior flavor compared to dried, but the latter can be subsituted if necessary.
  • Chicken thighs- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are recommended as they are easier to work with in this recipe.

Add-ins and Substitutions

  • Substitute the chicken thighs- Chicken breasts can be used as a replacement for thighs, but opt for skinless and boneless cuts for best results.
  • Skip the sake- If you prefer to exclude alcohol, omit the sake from the recipe.
  • Use low sodium soy sauce- Opt for low sodium soy sauce to make the marinade healthier.
  • Add sriracha- For a spicy kick, consider adding sriracha to the marinade.

How to Make Chicken Kaarage

  • Prepare the marinade. In a mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, sake, mirin, toasted sesame oil, grated garlic, grated ginger, salt, and pepper. Set the mixture aside.
  • Coat the chicken and add the egg. In a large bowl, mix the chicken thighs with the marinade and egg thoroughly using clean hands.
  • Marinate the chicken. Cover the bowl with the chicken and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes, with the option to refrigerate overnight.

Pro Tip: Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator to reach room temperature at least 1 hour before cooking.

Steps to make Chicken Kaarage: combine grated ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mirin, sake, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Mix with chicken and egg.
  • Incorporate cornstarch. Add cornstarch to the marinated chicken, mixing thoroughly.
  • Coat the chicken. Place potato starch on a large plate and dredge each piece of marinated chicken in the starch.
Steps to make Chicken Kaarage: mix cornstarch into the marinade and dredge chicken in potato starch.
  • Heat the frying oil. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat about 2 inches of oil to 325°F.
  • Fry in batches. Fry the coated chicken pieces in batches of 5-6 at a time for around 90 seconds until lightly browned.
  • Remove and cool. Transfer the fried chicken pieces to a cooling rack on a baking sheet. Repeat the frying process in batches.
  • Double fry. Increase the oil temperature to 350°F and fry the chicken pieces again for about 45 seconds until golden brown. Serve.
Steps to make Chicken Kaarage: fry the chicken and let it rest on a cooling rack to remove excess oil.

Recipe Tips

  • Monitor oil temperature- Use an instant-read thermometer to check the oil temperature for precise cooking results.
  • Bring the oil to the right temperature before adding the chicken- This step helps create a crispy outer layer. Without this, the chicken might turn out greasy and soggy.
  • Cook in batches- It’s best not to overcrowd the pan to avoid lowering the oil temperature too much.
  • Remember to double fry- The double frying process is essential for achieving an extra crunchy coating.

FAQs

What sets fried chicken apart from karaage?

The main difference between American fried chicken and Japanese karaage lies in the batter. American fried chicken typically uses flour or beer batter, while the Japanese version opts for potato starch, resulting in a silkier texture akin to that of french fries.

Why is karaage so crispy?

Karaage achieves its crispiness thanks to the use of potato starch for a super crisp coating and the double frying process, which is crucial for crispy karaage.

Chicken Kaarage on a plate with sauce.

Serving Suggestions

This Chicken Kaarage is exceptionally crispy, juicy, and flavorful. It pairs well with grains, salads, sushi, and vegetables.

  • Grains: Serve this chicken with options like Hibachi Fried Rice, Wild Brown Rice, Quinoa Fried Rice, or Pork Fried Rice.
  • Salads: Enjoy this karaage alongside a Kani Salad, Spinach Salad, Broccoli Cranberry Salad, or Roasted Eggplant Salad.
  • Sushi: Pair this dish with choices such as Volcano Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll, Dynamite Roll, or Spicy Salmon Roll.
  • Vegetables: Serve it with sides like Sauteed Garlic Asparagus, Crispy Air Fryer Broccoli, Air Fryer Green Beans, or Crispy Air Fryer French Fries.

Prepare This Recipe in Advance

Preparation ahead: Marinate the chicken a day ahead and keep refrigerated until ready to dredge and fry.

Storage: Store this Chicken Kaarage in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven, on the stovetop, or in an air fryer.

Freezing: Freeze this chicken in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating.

More Delicious Chicken Dishes!

  • Teriyaki Chicken Wings
  • Easy Mongolian Chicken
  • Panda Express Mushroom Chicken (copycat)
  • Chicken Tempura

Complete Recipe Instructions

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Chicken Kaarage

This Chicken Kaarage is juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. It’s full of ginger garlic umami flavor that is to die for.

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Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
The recipe is suitable for a Gluten-Free diet.

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinate: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Servings: 6

Calories: 465 kcal

Author: Dina

Equipment:
– 1 heavy-bottomed pot

Ingredients:
– 2 lb boneless chicken thighs (skinless is easier to work with)
– 2 Tbsp soy sauce
– 1 Tbsp sake

  • Tbsp sake




  • 1/2 tsp mirin




  • 1 tsp sesame oil




  • 4 garlic cloves grated




  • 1 Tbsp ginger grated




  • 1/2 tsp salt




  • 1/4 tsp pepper




  • 1 egg




  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch




  • 1 cup potato starch




  • neutral oil for frying avocado or corn oil works

Instructions

  • In a prep bowl add the soy sauce, sake, mirin, toasted sesame oil, grated garlic, grated ginger, salt, and pepper.
  • Give it a good mix using a whisk and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add in the chicken thighs along with the marinade sauce and egg. The egg will serve as a binder for the dredging later.
  • Mix everything together thoroughly using your clean hands. Now cover the chicken and let it marinate for about 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge. Tip: if you marinate in the fridge, make sure to take it out to room temperature at least 1 hour before cooking.
    Steps to make Chicken Kaarage: whisk together the grated ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mirin, sake, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Then add it to the chicken with an egg and mix together.
  • After marinating the chicken, mix in the cornstarch thoroughly. Next, coat each piece of chicken with potato starch by dredging them on a large plate. Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with approximately 2 inches of oil and heat it to around 325°F using an instant-read thermometer for accuracy.

    Fry the chicken in batches of 5-6 pieces at a time to ensure the oil temperature stays consistent. Fry them for about 90 seconds until lightly browned. Transfer the cooked chicken to a baking sheet with a cooling rack and continue frying the remaining chicken in batches.

    Raise the oil temperature to 350°F and fry the chicken pieces again for about 45 seconds until they turn golden brown. Double-frying is essential to achieve a super crunchy exterior. Finally, serve the chicken with spicy Mayo and enjoy!

    **Notes:**
    1. **Check the oil temperature:** Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature for proper cooking.
    2. **Preheat the oil:** Ensure the oil reaches the right temperature before adding the chicken to avoid a greasy texture.
    3. **Cook in batches:** Avoid overcrowding the pan to maintain the oil temperature.
    4. **Double fry:** Crucial for achieving a crispy exterior.

    **Nutrition:**
    – Calories: 465 kcal
    – Carbohydrates: 27 g
    – Protein: 28 g
    – Fat: 27 g
    – Saturated Fat: 7 g
    – Polyunsaturated Fat: 6 g
    – Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g- Trans Fat: 0.1g
    – Cholesterol: 175mg
    – Sodium: 674mg
    – Potassium: 614mg
    – Fiber: 2g
    – Sugar: 1g
    – Vitamin A: 158 IU
    – Vitamin C: 2mg
    – Calcium: 39mg
    – Iron: 2mg

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