Recipe: Karaage Chicken

Kirrihill Regional Riesling 2023, Clare Valley $19

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes 

Marinating Time: 30 mins 

Total Time: 1hr

By Namiko Hirasawa Chen (Nami), Just One Cookbook


  • 700 g boneless, skin-on chicken thighs (4–6 pieces; cut approximately the same size)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Marinade

  • ½ tsp ginger (grated, with juice)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp sake (or substitute with dry sherry, Chinese rice wine, or omit)
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil

For Deep-Frying

  • Neutral oil (about 4 cups, 1 litre)
  • 2 Tbsp potato starch or cornstarch (plus more, if needed)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour) (plus more, if needed) or rice flour for gluten free!

For Serving (optional)

  • lemon wedges
  • Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise
  • shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice)


Marinate the Chicken

1.       To prepare 700g boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, cut each chicken thigh into 5cm (2-inch) pieces. Season with ½ tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper.

2.       Grate the ginger. Take ½ tsp ginger (grated, with juice) and add them to a large bowl. Next, mince or press 1 clove garlic and add it to the bowl.

3.       Add ½ Tbsp soy sauce, ½ Tbsp sake, and ½ tsp toasted sesame oil to the bowl with the ginger and garlic. Whisk it all together.

4.      Add the chicken to the bowl with the marinade and mix it with your hands. Cover and keep in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes.

Prepare the Deep Frying Oil

5.       While the chicken is marinating, prepare the oil for deep-frying. Pour about 4 cups (1 litre) neutral oil into a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven and heat it to 325ºF (163ºC) on medium heat.

Dredge the Chicken

1.       While the oil is heating up, dredge the chicken. Prepare 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour) and 2 Tbsp potato starch or cornstarch in separate piles.

2.       Lightly dredge a marinated chicken piece in the flour and dust off the excess flour. Then, roll in the potato starch and remove the excess starch.

3.       Continue with the remaining chicken pieces.


1.       Check that the oil temperature has reached 325ºF (163ºC). Tip: If you don‘t have an instant read thermometer, insert a wooden chopstick into the oil; you‘ll know it‘s hot enough if small bubbles start to appear around the tip.

2.       When the oil is hot enough, gently submerge 3 to 5 chicken pieces in the oil at a time; do not overcrowd the pot. Tip: If you put too many pieces in at once, the oil temperature will drop quickly, and the chicken will end up absorbing too much oil.

3.       First Deep-Frying: Deep-fry for 90 seconds, or until the outside of the chicken is a light golden color. If the chicken browns too quickly, then the oil temperature is too high. Either put a few more pieces of chicken in the oil or lower the heat. Controlling the oil temperature at all times is very important for deep-frying. Transfer the chicken pieces to a wire rack to drain the excess oil.

4.      The residual heat will continue to cook the chicken as it rests on the wire rack. Continue deep-frying the remaining chicken pieces. Between batches, pick up and discard the crumbs in the oil with a fine-mesh sieve. This keeps the oil clean and prevents it from becoming darker.

5.       Second Deep-Frying: Now, heat the oil to 350ºF (177ºC). Place 3 to 5 pieces of the resting chicken back into the oil and deep-fry for 45 seconds, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Transfer them to a wire rack to drain the excess oil. Continue with the remaining chicken pieces.

To Serve

1.       Serve the chicken hot.Karaage is often served with lemon wedges and dipped in Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise. Sprinkle shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) on top for a bit of spice, if desired. Enjoy!

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