Karaage is one of the best things in this world.
Fried chicken is always good, isn’t it?
Karaage, when you analyze its kanji characters, is a fried dish ( 揚げ “age”)… that has its origins somehow related to Chinese cuisine? That is some mystery created due to the 唐 kanji, the character for the “kara” part, the same as the Tang Dynasty‘s ideogram. There’s no official answer for that question – perhaps some deep frying technique inspiration?
If you check other chicken karaage recipes, you may notice that most of them are very similar, except for the marinade step. I’ve seen recipes using only shoyu, while others use shoyu, garlic, mirin, sake, ginger, pepper, sugar, salt, karashi… the list goes on.
The marinade timing also varies, ranging from a simple dip in it to waiting it for half a day (which I personally don’t recommend to do). My chicken karaage marinade uses only shoyu and grated ginger. Shoyu is standard for all recipes but I think ginger is quite important as well, as it gives a nice touch to the chicken without overpowering the natural flavors. I use a lot of shoyu so all meat gets covered in the marinate evenly. The marinate time is very short, just enough to season give a lightly salty taste.
- 300g of chicken thighs, cut in bite size pieces
- 1.5 cup of shoyu
- 1 ginger, grated
- Cooking oil
- Cornstarch for coating
- Use double fry.
- First fry oil temperature: 170℃ (356°F)
- Cooking time for first fry: 120 seconds (no turning) .
- Second fry oil temperature: 185℃ (356°F)
- Cooking time for first fry: 30 seconds (no turning).
- Add chicken pieces and leave it to marinate for 5 minutes.
- After marinating it, remove and drain the excess off the chicken with a paper towel.
- Dust the meat with cornstarch.
- Double deep fry, accordingly to the instructions above.
- Finally, serve the dish hot with lemon and mayonnaise.
The size of the chicken karaage is subject to debate. In fact, some restaurants leave it large while others like it smaller.
Don’t forget to drain the excess marinate from the meat before dusting it with cornstarch! Otherwise, you might end up with an unpleasant salty crust.