Introduction: Chicken Karaage a La Nakatsu

About: I am a dancer, tinker, and most importantly trained dog owner. I am good at a little bit of various things, and speak and write in English and Japanese. My dog inspires me to make things, and will see what's b…

I am going to share my recipe of Chicken Karaage (Japanese style fried chicken). People eat Karaage everywhere in Japan. Meanwhile, I was born in the city called, Nakatsu, Oita, in Japan. Our city is known for its original recipe of Karaage. This is the recipe that I grew up with. :)

You want to marinate chicken the day before you cook. To prepare marinated chicken, it will only take 20 minutes or so. You keep it in your fridge, and cook it on the next day. If you cannot prepare the day before, I would recommend to marinate at least 2 to 3 hours.

Step 1: Ingredients - Preparing the Day Before

Please prepare the following ingredients the day before if possible because you would like to marinate your chicken for a night. 

If you roughly keep the following ratio, it would be fine. This is not a science. :)

To marinate 1 lb of chicken:
  • 1 lb of chicken thigh with skin, without bone (not included in the photo)
Marinating sauce:
  • 3 Table spoon of Soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Table spoon of Sake
  • 1 Table spoon of Sesame Oil
  • 1.5 to 2 inches of Ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 or 4 little shake of Ichimi Togarashi - Japanese chili (A little red bottle in the photo)
  • Container or a ziplock to keep marinated chicken in a refrigerator (not included in the photo)
If you like ginger and/or garlic, you may add more. 
Please try to get Katakuriko from Asian grocery stores, but if you cannot get one, regular flour would be fine.
You can also get Ichimi Togarashi from Asian grocery stores. 
As for Sake, cheap sake is perfectly fine for cooking. You can get a cheap large bottle at a Japanese grocery store. 1.6L only costs about $10.

Step 2: Grinding Garlic

Grind garlic into a medium sized bowl. I use glass container as a bowl.
I use this glass container for marinating chicken. Using fewer tool makes it easier to clean up.

Step 3: Grinding Ginger and Squeezing the Juice

Peel the skin of ginger, and grind ginger into the bowl or container in which you grind garlic.

After you finish grinding, by using a spoon, press ground ginger to the side of the container and squeeze the juice. You will see light yellow juice.

Step 4: Cutting Chicken

Please eliminate some fat from chicken. I would keep skin because I like the crispiness. Also, skin keeps chicken juicy inside. After all, that's how we do in my hometown.

Then, cut into pieces that you can eat with a few bites.
If your chicken is thick, you would like to skew your knife a little bit to cut a little thinner. If thickness of chicken isn't even, some chicken takes more time to cook. So, it's easy if you keep it even, and not too thick. 

Step 5: Mixing All the Ingredients and Marinating

If you are marinating in a ziplock, put chicken into a ziplock. Then, put your grind ginger and garlic into the ziplock.
Since I was grinding ginger and garlic into the container I am marinating, I simply put chicken into the container.

Add the following to the container or ziplock.
  • 3 Table spoon of Soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Table spoon of Sake
  • 1 Table spoon of Sesame Oil
  • 3 or 4 little shake of Ichimi Togarashi
Ichimi Togarachi has a little hole at the top of a bottle. If you shake 3 or 4 times, it would be a right amount.

Then, if you are using a ziplock, zip it and massage chicken to mix all the ingredients.
If you are using a container, mix all the ingredients with a spoon.

Then, keep it in a fridge until next day or at least a few hours.

Step 6: Wiping Chicken With Paper Towel

Now you got marinated chicken at least a few hours, hopefully for a day.

Before putting flour to chicken, please dry chicken with paper towel. This is important!!!

Otherwise, batter gets thick, which loses crispiness. Also, a lot of oil is going to splash when you fry chicken. So please gently wipe chicken with paper towel, just gently. :)

Step 7: Putting Flour to Chicken

Put 3 to 4 tablespoon of Katakuriko flour into a little tray. If you need more, you can add more later.
Put a few pieces of chicken and thinly coat it with Katakuriko. 

If you are not sure about using chopsticks or fork or tongs to do this, get a clean large size of ziplock.

First, put half of wiped chicken into a bag, and 3 tablespoon of Katakuriko next. 
Then put some air in the bag, close the bag, and shake it hard for about 10 times. You get your chicken nicely coated with flour. :)

Take the chicken out to a tray or plate, and do it again for the rest of your chicken.

Step 8: Frying Chicken and Eating!

Put some oil to a little pan or anything you normally use for frying. I use a little cast-iron pan because it nicely keeps oil temperature high.

Heat the pan to medium high heat. To see the temperature of the oil, put a little flour into the pan. If the flour goes down a little and comes up to the surface of the oil, the temperature is high enough. 

Let's put 3 or 4 pieces of chicken into the pan gently. After a minute or two, lower the temperature to low and cook for another 3 minutes or so depending on how you normally fly chicken. If you don't lower the heat, outside gets burned, and inside won't get cooked completely. Please pay attention to the color of chicken. If it gets darker too soon, it means temperature is too high.

Keep chicken on a rack or paper towel on a plate, and take excess oil on the surface. While taking oil off, I usually get a bite or two. 
I just can't help it. It tastes so good. :)

Now, your karaage is ready! Let's eat!
I usually leave a few pieces for my bento box next day. Even if it's cool, it still tastes good. So, this is great for picnic too.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Thank you for reading!
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