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close up shot of chicken with lemon wedge on wooden board
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5 from 5 votes

Japanese Fried Chicken (Karaage Chicken)

This Japanese Fried Chicken is ultra crispy on the outside and insanely juicy on the inside. Better still, it couldn't be more simple to make!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Marinating Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4
Calories: 752kcal
Cost: £2.50 / $3

Equipment

  • Medium Sized Mixing Bowl, Spatula & Cling Film (for marinating)
  • Large Deep Pot & Slotted Spoon (for deep frying)
  • 2 Shallow Bowls (for dredging)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Wire Rack & Paper Towels
  • Kitchen Thermometer

Ingredients

  • 1lb / 500g (approx 4) Boneless Skin On Chicken Thighs (can use skinless thighs if that's what you have)
  • 3-4 cups / 750ml-1litre Vegetable, Peanut or Sunflower Oil (for deep frying)
  • 1 1/2 cups / 225g Plain Flour (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup / 75g Cornflour/Cornstarch
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp All Purpose Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sake (can leave out if you can't find it)
  • 2 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Ginger, minced/finely grated
  • 2 tsp Mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie (Japanese brand)
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • Salt & White Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Marinate: Dice chicken into large bite sized pieces and place in a mixing bowl or large zip lock bag. Add in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sake, mayo and sesame oil. Give it a good mix then cover with cling film (or zip the bag shut) and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 30mins (up to overnight).
  • Dredge: Line up two bowls - the first with beaten egg and the second with flour, cornflour/cornstarch and a few hefty pinches of salt and pepper. Take a piece of chicken, coat in egg then place in the flour. Coat it in the flour, ensuring you really get in every crack and crevice of the chicken. Place on rack then repeat.
  • 1st Fry: Heat up oil in a suitably sized pot/pan to 160C/320F. In batches of 4-5 gently lower the chicken into the oil and fry for 3-4mins until they start to turn a pale golden colour. The first fry is to cook the chicken through and get it to around 80% crispiness. Remove and place on wired rack with paper towels underneath and repeat with remaining chicken.
  • 2nd Fry: This works best if you've let the chicken dry out for 5-10mins. Increase oil temp to 190C/375F-200C/390F and place half of the chicken in and flash fry for 1min 30 seconds, or until the batter turns a deeper golden and the chicken is visibly more crispy. Remove and place back on rack, bring oil back up to temp and repeat with second batch.
  • Serve: Serve up right away with your dip of choice and lemon wedges (optional)

Video

Notes

a) Chicken - I usually end up buying skin on chicken thighs and cutting out the bone. To save the hassle you can use skinless thighs, but you will miss out on the gorgeous crispy skin! Chicken breast is not suitable for this recipe, it'll dry out too much on the second fry.
b) Flour - A lot of traditional recipes use potato starch to coat the chicken, but it's quite tricky to find in the UK. As such I've found a combo of flour and cornflour/cornstarch gives you a super crispy coating.
c) Sake - This is a Japanese rice wine, which will add a touch of flavour to the marinade, but will also help tenderize the chicken. You can actually find this in the Asian section of some supermarkets, but if you don't have it just leave it out. Not a deal breaker.
d) Batches - Important to fry the chicken in batches the first time round otherwise you risk it a) sticking together b) lowering the temp of the oil too much. The oil temp will drop slightly, just try maintain it best you. The second flash fry can be done in much larger batches.
e) To Serve - Check out all my Delicious Dips for inspiration!
f) Calories - Overestimate as it assumes all the marinade, flour and cornflour/cornstarch is consumed. Based on 1 tsp oil soaked up per chicken pieces (approx 20 in total)

Nutrition

Calories: 752kcal | Carbohydrates: 52.11g | Protein: 27.3g | Fat: 46.98g | Saturated Fat: 8.567g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9.076g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25.739g | Trans Fat: 6.187g | Cholesterol: 193mg | Sodium: 401mg | Potassium: 350mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 208IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 3.54mg