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.
Neighbors - one thing.
We love waking up and scrolling through picture of your dishes! If you made this recipe, tag us on IG!
And if you're cooking alone tonight, no worries! Listen to our latest podcast as you prep 😀
- 1 handful of Dapae Samgyeopsal (대패삼겹살) 100-150 grams of Thinly Sliced Pork Belly (or use beef)
- 125 grams of Cheonggukjang (청국장)
- 2.5 Cups Anchovy-Kelp Broth (or use Rice Water 쌀뜨물)
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1 teaspoon(!) Gochugaru Flakes
- ½ whole Onion
- ½ Block Firm Tofu (150 grams)
- 2 Heaping Tablespoons Doenjang Paste
- ½ Cup Aged Kimchi (or use Stir-Fried Kimchi)
- ½ a whole Cheongyang Chili Pepper (or ½ a Jalapeno Pepper)
- Dice ½ an onion into bite-sized pieces.
- Dice ½ a block of firm tofu (150 grams) into bite-sized cubes.
- Slice ½ a Cheongyang Chili Pepper into thin slices.
- Take out a pot. Add-in just a dash of vegetable oil. Place it on medium-heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add in a handful (~100 grams) of thinly sliced pork belly (or beef slices).
- Then add in 2 heaping Tablespoons of Doenjang Paste.
- Then add in ½ Cup of Stir-Fried Kimchi (or Aged Kimchi).
- Make sure the heat is on medium. Stir-fry everything for 1-2 minutes (or until the pink in the meat is gone).
Add Broth and Make Stew
- Then add in 2.5 cups (625 ml) of Anchovy-Kelp Broth (or Rice Water).
- Once the stew comes to a boil, add in the chopped onions + tofu cubes.
- Next, add in the minced garlic (4 cloves worth).
- Set a timer for 5 minutes ... and let it all boil together.
- After 5 minutes, add in the block of Cheonggukjang (~120g).
- Carefully stir the block into the stew and break it up - so there's no clumps.
- Once it's well-mixed, add in the sliced Cheongyang Chili Peppers.
- Now, add in the Gochugaru Flakes (1 teaspoon!) - this will bring an appetizing red tint to the stew.
- Reduce the heat to a low - and let the stew boil together for another 5 minutes. (This final 5 minutes is when all the flavors come together).
- After 5 minutes, turn off the heat. The stew is ready!
- Give it a taste - and if it's slightly salty, add in a dash of water.
- Make sure to serve the stew with a bowl of freshly cooked rice.
- Bon Appetit!
And sign up below to get our latest recipes via email!
- 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 😉