Chicken Karaage

There are very few things that go better with beer than fried chicken! While the West has a strong hold on chicken wings, the east has it better with their fried chicken thighs (and sometimes the whole bird!) Check out my video on how to make a Japanese style fried chicken that is super simple and an awesome finger food. Plus, since it doesn’t have any sauce so it’s easy on the fingers.

Chicken karaage, was something I came across a long time ago. It was when I was starting high school, my friends and I went to an all you can eat sushi restaurant. Some of my friends didn’t like raw fish, so they would always order cooked food like udon noodles, or fried chicken. At the time I thought nothing of it since I was more focused on eating as much raw fish my high school body could fit.

I did try a couple pieces every time, but I didn’t think they were all that great. The reason could be that I grew up in my parent’s Chinese restaurant which sold a lot of fried chicken wings. So by the time my parents sold the place I was pretty sick of Asian fried chicken, especially the smell of it. Plus pretty much every AYCE restaurant in Vancouver is owned by every kind of Asian besides actual Japanese, so their chicken would be a lot closer to the ones I grew up than actual chicken karaage.

It wasn’t until I went to Japan, around grade 11, that I tried authentic karaage. There is such a big difference between the one I ate there and the ones I’ve been eating at the AYCE. For starters the karaage are mostly thigh meat which are the juiciest part of the chicken, so it’s never dry and very satisfying to chomp into. They also add garlic and ginger before frying so even without any dipping sauce or seasonings it already has a nice subtle flavour. The best part for me though has to be the wedge of lemon they always give you on the side. The little bit of fresh lemon juice cuts away the grease and the tang makes it more appetizing leaving you wanting more.

It’s the simplicity of the dish that makes it so appealing to me. You don’t need 5 wet wipes, or a little bucket to hold your bones (though wings definitely has it’s place with beer). All you need is a couple wedges of lemon, your favourite beer and you’re set. The flavour is very subtle so you are enjoying the more on the taste of the chicken than the sauce that usually covers it when eating pub chicken wings.

I highly recommend you try this at home if you have any comments, tips, or suggestions please leave it below or in the video. Any criticism is appreciated.


450g chicken thighs
1/3 cup potato starch
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp grated garlic
1 tbsp sake
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 lemon

Grab the chicken thighs and cut them into bite size pieces. You can get about 4 pieces per thigh. Once you’re done, place them into a dish and mix the ginger, garlic, sake and soy sauce together. Marinate for 1 hour in the fridge.

After 1 hour, take them out and heat up some oil in a small pot. You want enough oil just cover the chicken pieces. Heat up the oil until it is 320F degrees, or until it starts to bubble when you insert a pair of chopsticks.

Mix the flour and potato starch together, and cover the chicken thighs with it. You’d want to do this in batches as you don’t want to lower the oil temp by adding too much cold chicken. Make sure to dust of the excess flour before you fry the chicken.

Fry until they’re almost golden brown, and then take them out to cool on some kitchen towel. Once you’re done the whole batch, raise the oil to 350F and fry them again for 30 seconds or until golden brown. This makes the chicken extra crispy.

Sprinkle some salt on top and serve with some lemon wedges.

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