This Japanese style fried chicken dish has been one of my favourites for many years, the perfect karaage is crispy on the outside and tender, juicy and full of flavour on the inside. The important step is to marinate the meat for at least an hour or even overnight, which ensures that the meat soaks up all the lovely flavours; and it will take on a nice golden colour when fried. Before frying, the meat should be at room temperature so that it won’t cool down the oil while placing in, in another word, the meat will be cooked quicker instead of sitting in the oil longer to wait for the temperature to raise up again, which also means crispier! The size of the meat matters, the smaller the cut, the faster they cook. I find the perfect size is a ‘2-bites’ size, which mean a piece that can be eaten in two bites. Chicken thigh is commonly used for Karaage, but I use breast here and it is equally juicy and finger licking!
Note: I didn’t plan to write this recipe for the blog, but I made this dish last night and it was so good (and in my opinion, it is relatively easy to make too) that I decided to share this recipe with you, therefore sorry for the lack of photographs in this post; however I am quite convinced that this one picture has said it all!
- 2 chicken breast (around 200g each), cut into about 6-7cm strips/pieces
- 3/4 – 1 cup Potato starch
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1/2 -1 lime (for serving), cut into wedges
For the marinade:
- 1.5 tbsp. Tamari (or regular soy sauce if not gluten free)
- 1.5 tbsp. Mirin
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 scant tbsp. agave syrup (or honey)
- 1 tbsp. Sake
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small chunk of ginger (about 3cm), peeled and grated
- freshly ground black pepper
For the Sriracha Mayo:
- 3 tbsp. good quality Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. Sriracha (adjust the amount if you like it less or more spicy)
- 1 tsp. of lime juice
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl and place the chicken pieces in (mix well) for at least an hour in room temperature (if marinated over night, bring the meat back to room temperature before frying – see head note).
Prepare the Sriracha mayo by mixing its ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Pour in vegetable oil to reach a depth of about 2 cm in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or wok. Heat the oil on medium high heat until hot, you can test it by carefully dropping a little bit of potato starch in the oil, if it sizzles immediately, the oil is ready.
While the oil is heating up, scatter half of the potato starch on a plate. Drain the chicken pieces from the marinade and coat them with the potato starch. Shake off excess starch and carefully lower the meat into the oil. Do not over crowd the pan. Since there won’t be enough oil to submerge the pieces (as I am trying to use less oil, so the meat is not exactly ‘deep-fried’ like the traditional Karaage cooking method, but feel free to use more oil if you wish or you can also use a deep-fryer if available), so fried them about 3-4 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown and are cooked through. Transfer the cooked meat onto a cooling rack lined with kitchen paper (you can also place them in the oven to keep them warm while you are cooking the rest). Repeat with the remaining meat and starch.
Transfer the crispy karaage onto a serving platter. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the Karaage just before serving with Sriracha mayo.