It's doesn't get any better than winding down at an Izakaya – after a long, hard week.
Sit at the bar and order a large glass of Asahi (or Sapporo!) and ask the chef for a few dishes.Look around – take-in the ambient chatter of guests – and feel the beer bubbles tingle along down your throat.
Kaaaahh - the very definition of happiness!
Tonight, I propose that we bring that Izakaya vibe into our homes! Let’s start by making a few of my favorite Izakaya recipes.
The menu is... (1) Chicken Karaage (2) Shoyu Ahi Poke and (3) Beef Brisket & Bean Sprout Stirfry!
Chicken Karaage - Add ½ an Egg!
Chicken Karaage has to be one of my Top-3 Favorite chicken recipes of all time.
Served with a slice of lemon and a dollop of mayonnaise, Karaage hits the spot everytime.
In fact - drop a basket in front of me - and it will be gone before you finish pronouncing "Itadakimasu"
One disappointing thing is that they usually give you so little – 4-5 pieces only! So for today’s homecooking, let’s make a good amount!
Here are a few tips when making it:
Use skin-on, chicken thigh. The skin – as it fries – releases its natural flavor and juice into the meat.
When battering the chicken with potato starch powder, pour-in only ½ a beaten egg! This will provide the right amount of wetness for the batter.
For an (even) crispier skin, you can double-fry the chicken: Fry it once at 325ºF (163ºC) until it turns into a light golden color.
Then again at 350ºF (177ºC) until it turns slightly darker.
- 300 grams Chicken Thigh (Skin-on, Bone-Out)
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Mirim (Rice Wine)
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
- ½ teaspoon (!) Minced Ginger
- ½ teaspoon (!) Salt
- 4-5 cracks Black Pepper
- 1 whole Egg (NOTE: We'll only use ½ of it!!)
- 6 Tablespoons Potato Starch Powder
- Few slices Lemon
- A scoop Mayonnaise
- Sprinkle of Gochugaru (Korean Red Chili Flakes) Optional
- Use a few paper towels and pat the chicken pieces down on both sides. Pat-downany residual liquid off the surface of the chicken.
- Use a knife and cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces
- Take out a mixing bowl. Place in Soy Sauce (1 Tablespoon), Mirim (1 Tablespoon), Minced Garlic (1 Tablespoon), Minced Ginger (½ teaspoon!), Salt (½ teaspoon!), Black Pepper (4-5 cracks). Then give it a good mix and let it marinate for at least 10 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, crack one egg into a bowl. Then whisk it up.
- After 10 minutes of marinating, place in ONLY ½ of the beaten eggs into the marinating chicken. Then give it another good mix.
- Now, move the chicken into a plastic bag (or Ziploc Bag). Add in Potato Starch Powder (6 Tablespoons). Twist it shut and give it a thorough shake. We want to make sure that the potato starch gets evenly tossed over the chicken. After 2-3 minutes of tossing, the chicken should take on a light caramel color (reference video).
- Take out a pot. Place in a good amount of oil. Once oil is hot, place chicken in. Let it cook until you get a dark-brown.
- (If you are double-frying, cook once at 325 F/ 163 C until light-golden brown. Then take out and raise the temperature to 350 F/177 C. Fry once more until dark-brown).
- Plate the chicken. Serve with a few slices of lemon (make sure to squeeze the juice on before eating). Also serve with a dollop of mayonnaise on the side!
Shoyu Ahi Poke - Keep it Simple!
Simple is the name of the game when it comes to Poke!
I get a visceral reaction when I come across online recipes that treat poke like a Instagram salad - adding in mayo, guacamole and tons of multi-colored vegetables.
Poke is all about the fish! Fresh fish doesn’t have a strong taste – it’s a subtle one.
The majority of the flavor comes from the chewing texture!
But this nuance in taste and texture is hidden when you add in a heavy sauce or too many ingredients.
So let’s keep it minimal today. Our sauce will be a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil. Along with a touch of minced ginger and chopped spring onions!
(Note: For poke, you should use fresh, sushi-grade fish - check you're local supermarket or fish market for it!)
- 450 Grams Fresh, Sashimi-Grade Ahi Tuna (1 lb)
- ¼ Cup Onion
- ⅓ Cup Green Onion
- 1.5 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- ¾ teaspoon (!) Sea Salt
- ½ teaspoon (!) Minced Ginger
- Use a few paper towels and pat-down the tuna. Then use a knife and cut into small bite-sized cubes (450 grams or 1 pound's worth).
- Cut a ¼ of an onion into very thin slices. Measure out ¼ cup's worth.
- Cut a stalk of green onion into very thin slices. Measure out ⅓ cup's worth.
- Grate a small piece of ginger: Measure out ½ teaspoon(!) worth.
- Take out a small mixing bowl and make the sauce: Mix Soy Sauce (1.5 Tablespoons), Sesame Oil (1 Tablespoon), Salt (¾ teaspoon!), Grated Ginger (½ teaspoon!)
- Take out a mixing bowl. Add the chopped fresh tuna pieces in.
- Then add in the sliced onion and chopped green onion. Next, add-in the sauce and toss everything together!
- Serve the poke with a bowl of hot rice! Or eat by itself 🙂
Beef Brisket & Bean Sprouts Stirfry!
This dish is one of the best-selling Izakaya dishes in Korea.
We take paper thin cuts of brisket beef (called “Chadolbaegi” in Korea) and stir-fry it quickly with fresh mungbean sprouts!
The ingredients are thin so they cook very quickly on high heat!
The key flavor variable is the stir-fry sauce.
We’ll use a mix of oyster sauce and soy sauce as our base flavor. Then add in some chili oil as well – which cuts through that salty and oily flavors.
Just a few cooking notes for this one:
When adding the Chadolbaegi beef pieces into the frying pan, make sure to add them one-by-one. If you add them while they're clumped together, it will turn into a meatball!
After adding the mungbean sprouts, stir-fry for 1 minute – then finish! If cooked for longer, the sprouts will start to wilt away.
The mungbean sprouts -after plating – will release more of its liquid as it continues to cook in the residual heat.
Don’t be surprised when you see a pool of broth at the bottom.
P.s. Save this residual broth and any leftover ingredients. Next day, throw in some rice and stir-fry it all together! Makes a bomb-diggity fried rice!
- 200-300 grams Chadolbaegi (Thinly Sliced Beef Brisket)
- 200 grams Mungbean Sprouts
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 2 Cloves of Garlic (We'll cut these into thin slices)
- ½ Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 2-3 Tablespoons Chopped Green Onions (Garnish)
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- Split the beef slices from each other. De-tangle them now, so you can easily add them in one-by-one later.
- MINCE a few cloves of garlic and measure 1 Tablespoon.
- Then take a knife and SLICE 2 cloves of garlic. Set these aside.
- Cut a stalk of green onion into thin pieces - we'll use this later for garnish.
- Make Stir-Fry Sauce by mixing: Soy Sauce (2 Tablespoons), Oyster Sauce (1 Tablespoon), Chili Oil (1 Tablespoon) and Sugar (1 Tablespoon)
Marinate Beef Slices
- Now place in half of the Stir-Fry Sauce onto the the beef pieces. Toss the sauce into the beef with your hands and get all of the pieces evenly coated. We'll save the other half of the sauce for the stir-fry.
- Place a wok or large frying pan on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, place in Minced Garlic (1 Tablespoon) and Sliced Garlic Pieces (2 cloves). Stir-fry the garlic until it starts getting fragrant. Then immediately add in the beef slices - one-by-one.
- The garlic will burn if left alone - so briefly mix it into a few of the beef slices. Continue to add in the remainder of the beef-slices.
- Stir-fry the beef until most of the red is gone. Then add in the Mungbean Sprouts. Followed by the rest of the Stir-Fry sauce.
- Stir-fry everything for 1 minute - making sure to get the sprouts evenly mixed with the sauce.
- After 1 minute, turn off heat. Finish with Sesame Oil (½ Tablespoon). Give it a final mix. Garnish stir-fry with chopped Green Onions (2 Tablespoons).
- Plate and serve it with rice... or an ice cold beer! Heh - Bon Appetit!
Enjoy these Izakaya Recipes Neighbors! And feel free to mix-and-match with other banchans.
Tag us on IG if you’re cooking along with us– makes us happy to see!