Karaage Chicken is delicious Japanese fried chicken made from a tasty soy sauce, sake, ginger, and garlic marinade then coated in potato starch and fried super crispy! I will show you how to make it with extra crispiness without deep frying them twice at home!
What is Karaage?
Karaage is simply Japanese fried chicken. Marinated Chicken in soy sauce, sake, ginger juice and minced garlic, coated with potato starch “Katakuriko” and deep-fried. Apparently, it has been eaten in Japan for about 300 years according to the Karaage Association in Japan.
Ok, maybe the pronounciation of Karaage is not that important, as long as they are juicy and delicious inside and crispy outside. But some of you want to order Karaage at your favourite Japanese restaurant just like Japanese would say to order. The pronounciation of Karaage is “car-ra-a-ge(t)”.
Chicken thigh vs Chicken breast
Karaage is actually only one of the cooking techniques. Not only chicken but also fish and vegetables deep fried without any batter coated. So you can use both thigh and breast. I prefer the thigh because it is more flavourful than the breast. I trim the fat as much as I can before deep-frying them.
What ingredients do I need for the marinate?
You need chicken pieces, soy sauce (I use kikkoman brand), cooking sake, ginger juice and minced garlic. No oriental ingredients required except cooking sake. If you can not access to cooking sake, you can use either Chinese rice wine or dry sherry.
Karaage batter mix
Because Karaage is so popular, even though making your own marinate and then coating with Katakuriko potato starch is easy enough, there are many Karaage mix you can purchase from any supermarkets in Japan. If you can get those, making Karaage first time might be an easier experience.
Potato starch “Katakuriko”
Katakuriko potato starch is used to dust the marinated chicken pieces. You need to drain the marinated liquids so that the potato starch does not soak up all the liquid and become sticky. You can use 100% potato starch or 50:50 potato starch and rice flour. I personally prefer 100% potato starch, in my humble opinion, it gives crispier texture.
Deep frying temperature
If you have an electric deep fryer that you can set the temperature, set it to 180°C (356°F). If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can use a frying pan. Place about 500ml oil on medium heat. You can tell whether it is the right temperature to deep fry or not when you drop a little piece into the oil if it floats back up when it is halfway down.
How to serve Karaage?
You can serve the deep-fried chicken with shredded cabbage, lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes and a lemon wedge. Also, you can serve this for lunch in a bento box. Karaage is always the most popular bento menu because it is delicious when it gets cold too. It also serves well as Karaage salad.
What to do with leftover oil?
In Japan, we cook lots of deep-fried food and most households have Cooking oil container with a strainer. I bought one when I went back to Japan. I reuse deep fry oil 2-3 times. Draining the deep fried oil down the kitchen sink pipe is not good for the environment. When I throw the oil, I scrunch a few kitchen paper towels in a milk carton and drain the oil into it. Seal the milk carton and throw it in a bin.
Tips to create “to die for” crispiness
1: Poke chicken with a fork so that the marinade penetrates through the meat well.
2: Size matters. Cut the meat into pieces the size of a 50 cents coin of Australia as you can see in the process photo.
3: Marinate the meat at least 20 minutes.
4: Deep frying temperature 180°C(356°F)
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- 400 g chicken thigh
- 1.5 tbs soy sauce
- 1.5 tbs sake
- 1/2 tbs ginger juice
- 1/2 tbs minced garlic
- 3 tbsp Katakuriko potato starch *1
- 500 ml Cooking oil for frying *2
- Cut the chicken thigh into bite sized pieces( 50 cents of Australian coin).
- Put the chicken pieces, soy sauce, sake, garlic, ginger in a ziplock bag and seal it. Rub them all together and leave it for at least 20 minutes.
- Drain the marinated liquid of chicken and dust the chicken pieces with Katakuriko potato starch.
- Heat the oil in deep frying pan or a frying pan to 180°C(356°F) and cook the chicken pieces until golden brown.
- Serve with rice, salad leaves, and lemon wedge.