Learn . Laugh . Eat

Karaage

Prep: 15mins

Cook: 20mins

Merry Christmas! Learn how to make Karaage, the Japanese deep-fried chicken dish that is becoming amazingly popular thanks to the country’s tradition for KFC at Christmas.

  • 2 Chicken thighs, skin on
  • 2 chicken drumsticks, skin on
  • 200g cornflour
  • 200g plain flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

The Marinade

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sake (rice wine)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

The Garnish (optional)

  • Wedge of lemon
  • Parsley
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • Asian slaw

Preparation

First, finely dice your garlic cloves and set to one side. Then place the chicken drumsticks and thighs into a large mixing bowl and pour over the light soy sauce, sake and sesame oil. Introduce the diced garlic to the bowl along with a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of both salt and black pepper, and thoroughly massage all of the ingredients into the chicken pieces.

At this point, you can leave the meat to marinate overnight, but if you are short for time it is just as effective to get cooking immediately! Just before you are ready to cook, combine your cornflour and plain flour in a large mixing bowl. (Hint: you may not need all of the flour recommended in this recipe - please alter the quantities according to the size of your chicken pieces!). One by one, roll your marinated chicken pieces through the flour mix, ensuring that each piece has an even but thin coat of flour covering the skin. Dust off any excess flour and then place the chicken on a large plate, ready for deep-frying.

Cooking

Time to get cooking! To deep-fry your chicken, half-fill your wok or deep-fryer with vegetable oil, and heat to 180C (350F). Test the temperature of your oil by placing the tip of a wooden implement, such as a skewer or chopstick, into the oil: if the wood starts to fizz after a second or so, the oil has reached 180C. At this point, carefully add all of the chicken pieces into the oil and allow them to fry for approximately 30 seconds over a high heat. Next, reduce the temperature to a low-medium heat so that the oil is just simmering, and leave your chicken to cook slowly for between 10-15 minutes dependent on the thickness of the pieces.

After cooking for approximately 15 minutes, turn the heat back up to medium-high and fry the chicken for a further 2 minutes to achieve a really crispy skin. The chicken is ready when the pieces begin to float freely to the top of the oil; when this occurs, carefully remove each piece from the hot oil and transfer to a plate or bowl lined with kitchen roll, to drain. (Hint: differently sized pieces of chicken will vary in cooking time. Don’t be scared to leave some pieces in the oil longer than others, only removing when you see it floating freely to ensure that each piece is thoroughly cooked).

When drained, place your deep-fried chicken on to a serving plate and garnish with parsley, a wedge of lemon, asian slaw and a ramekin of Japanese mayonnaise, if desired. Serve - and get stuck in!

Want to learn more about Karaage, and the Japanese tradition of eating KFC for Christmas? Then check out our blog post 'Christmas Feasts Across Asia' here!


  • 2 Chicken thighs, skin on
  • 2 chicken drumsticks, skin on
  • 200g cornflour
  • 200g plain flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

The Marinade

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sake (rice wine)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

The Garnish (optional)

  • Wedge of lemon
  • Parsley
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • Asian slaw

Preparation

First, finely dice your garlic cloves and set to one side. Then place the chicken drumsticks and thighs into a large mixing bowl and pour over the light soy sauce, sake and sesame oil. Introduce the diced garlic to the bowl along with a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of both salt and black pepper, and thoroughly massage all of the ingredients into the chicken pieces.

At this point, you can leave the meat to marinate overnight, but if you are short for time it is just as effective to get cooking immediately! Just before you are ready to cook, combine your cornflour and plain flour in a large mixing bowl. (Hint: you may not need all of the flour recommended in this recipe - please alter the quantities according to the size of your chicken pieces!). One by one, roll your marinated chicken pieces through the flour mix, ensuring that each piece has an even but thin coat of flour covering the skin. Dust off any excess flour and then place the chicken on a large plate, ready for deep-frying.

Cooking

Time to get cooking! To deep-fry your chicken, half-fill your wok or deep-fryer with vegetable oil, and heat to 180C (350F). Test the temperature of your oil by placing the tip of a wooden implement, such as a skewer or chopstick, into the oil: if the wood starts to fizz after a second or so, the oil has reached 180C. At this point, carefully add all of the chicken pieces into the oil and allow them to fry for approximately 30 seconds over a high heat. Next, reduce the temperature to a low-medium heat so that the oil is just simmering, and leave your chicken to cook slowly for between 10-15 minutes dependent on the thickness of the pieces.

After cooking for approximately 15 minutes, turn the heat back up to medium-high and fry the chicken for a further 2 minutes to achieve a really crispy skin. The chicken is ready when the pieces begin to float freely to the top of the oil; when this occurs, carefully remove each piece from the hot oil and transfer to a plate or bowl lined with kitchen roll, to drain. (Hint: differently sized pieces of chicken will vary in cooking time. Don’t be scared to leave some pieces in the oil longer than others, only removing when you see it floating freely to ensure that each piece is thoroughly cooked).

When drained, place your deep-fried chicken on to a serving plate and garnish with parsley, a wedge of lemon, asian slaw and a ramekin of Japanese mayonnaise, if desired. Serve - and get stuck in!

Want to learn more about Karaage, and the Japanese tradition of eating KFC for Christmas? Then check out our blog post 'Christmas Feasts Across Asia' here!

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