Today... I’m excited to share with you the best Karaage recipe on the web!
I’ve experimented with at least 8+ different recipes over a few months – and this by far… is the best one!
I like it especially… because it produces a thin crust!
Many recipes produce Karaage that has a thick crust – too much batter for my palate.
(Note: This recipe is modified from a Japanese recipe – click here).
Typically, Karaage marinade is made with a combination of soy sauce, sake, ginger - and sometimes garlic.
Today, we’ll add a new ingredient to the mix – nutmeg!
Nutmeg offers a hint of nutty, sweet and woody spice… that blends beautifully with the saltiness of soy sauce & strong ginger.
It’s an amazing flavor.
Don’t worry – we aren’t putting enough nutmeg to change the traditional flavor (I wouldn’t do that to you). Rather, the nutmeg plays in the background, a subtle note.
Now, besides the ingredients, there other key steps in prep & frying to produce a proper Karaage.
I’ll emphasize some of the key points.
Cooking Tips for Karaage:
Work with chicken thigh (skin-on). The skin adds a lot of natural flavor when deep-fried.
(Before you ask – yes, the recipe can be made with skinless chicken thigh or chicken breast.)
Cut them into fairly large pieces - I like to measure the width of my two fingers
Coat in potato starch powder. Second best option is corn starch powder.
(Don’t use AP Flour - starch powder is what provides that characteristic crispy texture.)
Give at least 30 minutes for the chicken pieces to marinate (1 hour, even better).
For a thin crust, please pay attention to the following steps:
First, shake off excess marinade from the chicken… before rolling into the starch powder
Once in the starch powder, get the pieces well coated (best to do one piece at a time)
Then shake off the excess starch powder from the chicken (important step!)
Finally, let the coated pieces rest for 5 minutes – this is done to slightly dry them out before frying (less moisture, crispier result).
Please set-up a drying rack – that way the freshly-fried pieces can drip off oil. If it sits in its own pooled oil, you lose that crispy surface.
Double-fry for a crispy skin.
The first fry at a lower temperature – you can test the readiness of the oil by dropping in a small piece. If it sizzles and there are bubbles (it’s ready). Fry for 1 minute!
The second fry will be done at a higher temperature – for about 30 seconds.
Important: After frying, when cooling on the rack – make sure the skin-side is facing up. That way, the oil can drip off the chicken!
I’m so excited for ya’ll to try this one at home – crack open a beer or wolf it down with some freshly made curry.
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- 400 grams Chicken Thigh (Skin-on, Boneless)
- Good amount of Potato Starch Powder
- Good amount of Vegetable Oil (for frying)
- 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Sake (Or Korean Cheongju 청주)
- 1 Tablespoon Mirin
- 3 Big Pinches Salt
- 5 Big Sprinkles Nutmeg
- 1 small knob Fresh Ginger (about ½ the size of your thumb)
- 1 clove Fresh Garlic
Dipping Sauce (Optional)
- Squeeze of Kewpie Mayonnaise
- Squeeze of Lemon Juice
- Use two fingers to estimate the width you need to cut each chicken thigh (as instructed in video). Then cut them.
- Now place the chicken pieces into a mixing bowl.
- Let's marinate the chicken. Add the following into the bowl: Soy Sauce (3 Tablespoons), Sake (1 Tablespoon), Mirin (1 Tablespoon), Salt (3 Big Pinches), Nutmeg (5 Generous Shakes). Then grate-in Fresh Ginger (a small piece) and 1 Garlic Clove.
- Carefully mix the marinade with your hand - and coat the chicken pieces. Please be gentle when you mix, so you don't tear the skin off the chicken pieces.
- Now cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. (If you have time, let it sit for 1 hour.)
- While you wait, take out a tray and pour-in some Potato Starch Powder.
Coat Chicken & Rest
- After 30 minutes of marinating, remove the cover. Pick-up a chicken piece and gently shake-off excess marinade (important!).
- Then place it into the potato starch powder... and thoroughly coat the piece. Be thorough - and get all sides well-coated!
- After coating, gently shake (or tap) the piece. We want to shake-off excess starch powder (important!)
- Then carefully fold or slightly bend the chicken into a round shape - with the skin-side facing up (reference video). Neatly arrange each finished piece onto a separate tray.
- Repeat the previous steps for each piece.
- After you're done coating, let the coated chicken pieces rest for 5 minutes (important). This time will allow the starch coating to soak up any residual moisture from the chicken - making them crispier when fried!
- After 5 minutes of resting... it's now time to fry!
- Place a good amount of vegetable oil into a pot. Place on medium heat and wait until the oil is hot.
- To test if the oil is ready for the 1st fry... add-in a piece of the chicken (or crumble) into the oil. If the crumble sizzles and you can see bubbles, it's ready.
- Carefully add-in each chicken to the oil, skin-side facing down. Add in a few pieces into the pot at a time (don't overcrowd the pot).
- For the first round, let the chickens fry for ~1 minute (we just want the inside to get cooked, not looking for browning on the outside). Timing may vary, so just take a look at the chicken.
- After you finish the first round... use a sieve to pick-out any residual flakes or pieces that are sizzling around in the oil.
- Now, let's slightly raise the heat - so the oil temperature can turn hotter.
- It's time for our second fry.
- Carefully add a few pieces back in at a time and fry for ~30 seconds. (Note: timing may vary - so just look for a nice browning on the chicken)
- After frying, place the finished chicken pieces onto the cooling rack. Make sure that the skin-side is facing up!
- Allow the chicken to rest for 3-5 minutes - this resting time will allow the juices to move back to the center of the chicken (yes, I know... it's difficult to wait!)
- Then squeeze some Japanese Mayo into a dipping tray - and serve with a few slices of lemon!
- Note: When you squeeze lemon juice onto the chicken, it will start to lose its crispiness. So I recommend squeezing it on right before you eat!
- Bon Appetit ya'll - you got yourself a mighty fine meal. Crack open a beer or make a whisky highball or... enjoy with curry 😉