Introduction: Chicken Karaage

Fried chicken is one of my favorite foods! This is my recipe for homemade chicken karaage.  There is some prep work involved, but it will be worth all the hard work once you taste it. 

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you'll need:
1 tsp. sesame oil  (1)
1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce (you can substitute regular soy sauce)  (2)
2 Tbsp. regular soy sauce  (3)
1.5 lbs. chicken thighs (I like them with the skin on, but you can use skinless ones if you'd prefer)  (4)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch  (5)
8-10 Tbsp. all-purpose flour  (6)
1/4 tsp. white pepper (or black pepper)  (7)
1 inch piece of ginger  (8)
3 medium cloves of garlic, minced  (9)

Garnish (optional):
Shredded cabbage  (10)
Sesame seeds  (11)

Step 2: Gather Hardware

Don't forget about the hardware!

1 small to medium-sized pot  (1)
1 mixing bowl  (2)
3-4 sheets of paper towels  (3)
Lots of oil for frying: I used vegetable oil (4) <-- oops! I forgot to include it in this pic, so I drew it in.
Cutting board for meat  (5)
Measuring spoons (6)
Tongs (7)
Cooking chopsticks (if you don't know how to use them, then a fork will do) (8)
Knife  (9)
Grater (10)
Plastic wrap (11)

Step 3: Prep Work: Ginger

Grate some ginger:
With your knife, shave off the rough outer skin of the ginger.  
Cut off about a 1-inch piece. If you really like ginger, add some more!
Rub the piece of ginger back and forth on the grater, being careful as you reach the end of the piece.
I like to take the end pieces and finely mince them with my knife to avoid any accidents.

Step 4: Prep Work: Garlic

Mince your garlic:
Smash the cloves with the flat side of your knife to release the garlic from the skin, then finely mince it.
I don't like eating huge chunks of garlic, so I ended up mincing this to pretty small pieces. 

Set the ginger and the garlic aside.  

Generally, a 2:1 garlic:ginger ratio will do, but you can adjust this to your preference.

Step 5: Prep Work: Chicken

I tried to make the following photos look as pretty as possible, so apologies if they still  look a bit gory.

Rinse the chicken under cold water, then pat them dry with paper towels.
Place the chicken on your cutting board, then begin removing some of the big pieces of fat.

If you bought the thighs with the bone still in them, cut around the bone to remove the meat (see photo).

Step 6: Prep Work: Chicken

Once you have cleaned the chicken, cut them into bite-sized pieces.
My mouth is a bit small, so I ended up with 1 1/2-inch pieces.

**Does anyone else find this photo to be a bit disturbing??

Step 7: Combine the Ingredients

Everybody into the pool!

Add the chicken, dark and regular soy sauces, ginger, garlic, white pepper, and sesame oil into the mixing bowl.

Use your chopsticks or a fork and mix everything together.

Step 8: Marinate

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and set it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (it's even better if you can wait until the next day).

Since we're working with raw poultry, try to clear some space at the bottom shelf of your fridge, away from veggies and fruits.

Step 9: Decontaminate

All done, right? WRONG!

Clean EVERYTHING. Wash everything that has touched the raw chicken with hot water and dish soap. 
If you have them, wipe down the counters with disinfectant wipes or use kitchen cleaner.

Step 10: Heat Oil

Once you've let your chicken marinate for a while, it's finally time to fry!

Fill your pot with oil so that it is at least 2 inches deep.

Turn the burner to medium-high heat, and bring the oil to about 325 degrees F.

Step 11: Add Starch

While you're heating up the oil, add the cornstarch and flour* to the chicken mixture.
Mix until it is well-combined.

*You'll need about 8-10 Tbsp. of flour, depending on how much chicken you have. Just keep adding flour until every piece of chicken is covered.

Step 12: Testing, Testing ...

Since I'm working without a thermometer, I like to drop in a test piece before I begin frying all of the chicken.
If you do have a thermometer, feel free to skip this step, although it's not a bad idea to test a piece, just in case.

You'll want to look for a lot of bubbles and frying activity when you drop in your test piece.  

If the chicken just sinks to the bottom with no bubbles and it just looks sort of sad, then your oil is not hot enough.  
If, on the other hand, your chicken turns black within a few seconds and your oil is smoking, it is too hot and you should move the pot off of the burner until the oil cools down a bit.

If you're worried about hot oil splashing up while you're frying, you can wear oven mits to protect your hands and arms.

Step 13: Fry Like the Wind

Now that you know your oil is hot enough, you're good to go!

Place 3 or 4 sheets of paper towels on a plate to catch the oil of your fried chicken pieces.

Drop in each piece individually, half-submerging the chicken in the frying oil for a few seconds before letting go.
This will ensure that the raw chicken will not stick to the bottom of the pot.

I had to fry 6-7 pieces of chicken at a time to avoid over-crowding the pot. 

Fry chicken for about 1 minute, or until golden-brown.

Once you've fried all of your chicken, blast the heat to high and dump all of the chicken back into the oil for a second-fry (see last photo).

Step 14: Chicken Karaage: Beauty Shot


You've made chicken karaage!

They're ready to eat, but if you can stand waiting just one minute longer, the next steps will show you how to make the garnish...

Step 15: Garnish

Take a quarter head of cabbage and cut it along the face so that you end up with shredded cabbage.
Rinse and drain.

Place the cabbage on a bowl or plate as a nice garnish for your chicken karaage.

Step 16: Enjoy!

Well there you have it: my recipe for delicious chicken karaage.

This dish is great with rice!

Please try making it sometime, and leave comments on what you think of my recipe or if you have suggestions on how I can improve it. 

Thank you!!

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