This is one of my favourite ways to cook chicken. Who doesn’t like fried chicken, anyway? After my husband and I moved to the States, I begin to make this at least once a month. The best part of eating Karaage is it doesn’t taste oily although it has been deep-fried. The method of double deep-frying at high temperature – 356ºF (180ºC) first followed by 392ºF (200ºC) prevents the high absorption of oil into the chicken and produce a crisp outer layer.
In Japan, Karaage is so common that you can find it everywhere, whether in convenience store (コンビニ) which is located every few blocks of walking, in restaurants and street stalls. Overall, it is pleasantly delicious but some can be kind of salty (at least for me who is not particularly fond of super salty food).
Though I have watched TV shows in Japan on how to make Karaage, I would say that it is through trials and errors in my own kitchen that I gained the most experiences to make a crispy Karaage with juicy flesh. Having said that, I don’t produce the same outcome every time I made it. It could be using different parts of chicken, adding a little more flour, omit the ginger and so forth. After all, that’s what test kitchen is all about, right? 😉 Despite all this, I am confident to share several pointers if you decide to give it a try:
1. Use chicken thigh with skin on. Chicken thigh is more tender and juicy than chicken breast (obviously..) and, hey, leave the skin on!!! The fats from the skin ensure that Karaage doesn’t dry out when expose to high heat. But, you can choose to remove the skin if you’re like me 😉 but the Karaage will be drier in texture. Yup, I prefer skinless chicken thigh to reduce the calories count!
Using skinless chicken thighs..oops
2. Use a thermometer. Unless you are experienced in frying food, a thermometer will be extremely helpful to gauge when the oil reaches 356ºF (180ºC) or 392ºF(200ºC).
3. Don’t omit the ginger and garlic to marinate the chicken! This adds a subtle spice to the Karaage and makes it uniquely different from other fried chicken. I tried Karaage in two American-Japanese restaurants and I knew instantly what was missing.
4. Use potato starch. The type of flour used is crucial to get that crispy outer layer. I used wheat flour once and it turns out soft, definitely not what I expected. But I have consistent success using potato starch. One time I added a little way too much (of potato starch) and produces a blend of deep golden brown with slightly golden surface. And I love it! If potato starch is hard to find, another good alternative is to use corn starch. I used to add the potato starch directly into the batter and give it a good mix before frying. But later, I realized that it is better to place the potato starch in a clean bowl and coat the marinated chicken with the potato starch before frying. The latter method will definitely produce a crispy outer layer and stay crispy for a long time.
5. Double frying is a MUST! The middle picture is the outcome of deep-frying for the first round, which is golden color. Deep frying for a second time will produce a darker color with a crispy layer.
For the recipe in pdf format, please click on the link below:-