Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) is a popular dish for appetizer or as a main dish at home or restaurants. It’s also a popular bento menu and my son loves it when I put karaage in his tiny bento box. I shared my regular Chicken Karaage recipe a while back, but today I’m sharing more garlicky flavored chicken karaage recipe I’ve been making. Both karaage recipes are pretty similar, but if you enjoy strong garlic flavor definitely go with this one.
In Japan potato starch (or katakuriko 片栗粉) is most commonly used as a coating for deep frying instead of corn starch. I was using corn starch when I first moved to the US because it was easier to find at supermarkets. However, when I compared these two starch by rubbing them between my finger tips, I noticed they are quite different in texture so I wanted to test to see which karaage tastes better.
Between the two, I found potato starch seemed to be crispier and had a nice crisp texture when I bite into it, and that’s something we look for when we eat karaage in general. If you cannot find potato starch, corn starch is still your best option, but otherwise I think it’s worth your time looking for potato starch if your pantry only has corn starch. By the way, just so you know potato flour is completely different from potato starch.
And if you are wondering if I’ve tried baked version of karaage like how I tried with my Renkon Chips, then answer is no. Good karaage must be deep fried for the best result and you don’t need to eat a lot but that’s the only way I would enjoy them!
- 1 lb. chicken thigh
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup potato starch (or corn starch)
- 1/4 cup flour
- Oil for deep frying
- Lemon wedges
- 1 inch ginger
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sake (or dry sherry)
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Cut each chicken thigh into 2 inch pieces (so that deep frying time is about the same). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the chicken in a large bowl or Ziploc bag.
- Grate the ginger and mince the garlic (with garlic presser).
- Combine the chicken and all the seasonings in the bowl (or Ziploc bag). Cover with plastic wrap and rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Bring the oil to 320-338F (160-170C).
- Meanwhile combine potato starch and flour, and whisk all together.
- Right before the oil is ready, add the potato starch and flour mix to the chicken. You do not need to mix it evenly. The uneven coating gives each piece its unique texture.
- Gently drop each piece of chicken separately into the oil. Do not overcrowd. Deep fry 3-5 pieces at a time. If you put a lot of chicken in the oil, the temperature will drop quickly and chicken will end up absorbing too much oil.
- Cook for 90 seconds, or until the chicken is cooked through and outside is light golden color. If the chicken changes color 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 oil temperature is the key for deep frying.
- Transfer the chicken onto a wire rack to drain excess oil. While resting on the wire rack, the chicken will continue to cook with the remaining heat.
- Between batches (or even while cooking), make sure to pick up crumbs to keep the oil clean (otherwise oil will get darker).
- When you finish all the batches, then bring the oil to 356F (180C).
- Deep fry for the second time for 45 seconds, or until the skin is nice golden color and crispy.
- Transfer the chicken onto a wire rack or paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve the chicken immediately with lemon wedges.