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Chicken Karaage – Japanese style fried chicken

March 2, 2011

Karaage garnished with spring onions

Karaage is a Japanese way of cooking which simply involves deep frying after coating meat (generally chicken) in flour/starch. Anything deep-fried is bound to be popular and devoured within minutes of hitting the dining table. Yes, I know fried chicken is supposed to be REALLY unhealthy but surely if you make it yourself at home, know exactly what is used to season it and use happy free range chicken, all can be forgiven? 😛

I recently made these chicken karaage pieces based on Makiko Itoh‘s The Just Bento Cookbook  but used mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) and Chinese rice wine for the marinade instead of sake. They are really simple to make and we had to stop ourselves from finishing the whole serving over dinner to save some for our lunchboxes the next day! The chicken was absolutely more-ish – crispy, slightly sweet, salty and juicy. I can’t wait to make them again.

What you’ll need:

 2-4 boneless chicken thighs, depending on how big they are

A piece of fresh ginger about the size of your thumb, grated

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp Chinese rice wine

3 tbsp cornflour

1 tsp of sliced spring onions for garnish

Oil for frying

Frying up the chicken pieces: 

  1. Cut up the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. You can take off the skin if you like, though it does make the chicken crispier.
  2. Put the chicken pieces in a bowl. Add the grated ginger, soy sauce, mirin and Chinese rice wine, and mix well.
  3. Allow the chicken to marinate for a minimum of 1/2 hour, and up to about 1 hour (not too long or the salt in the soy sauce will toughen up the chicken.)
  4. Heat the oil. Toss in the cornflour into the marinated chicken so that each piece is completely coated.
  5. Fry the chicken pieces a few at a time until a deep golden brown.
  6. Place the fried chicken pieces on a kitchen towel on a plate to soak up the excess oil, and serve with some spring onions as garnish.

Tip: I used a wok to fry the chicken on medium-high heat and cooked them for about 3 minutes on each side

Yields just about enough for 4 small portions although I’d have happily eaten more!

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