Sunday, 11 August 2013

Japanese street food recipe - chicken karaage

There are lots of festivals (known as matsuri) celebrated in Japan throughout the year and at each festival you'll find popular Japanese street food including takoyaki (grilled octopus balls), yakisoba (fried noodles), okonomiyaki (Japanese style pancake), ikayaki (fried squid) and chicken karaage (Japanese fried chicken). At this time of year, the Obon festival takes place which is celebrated to honor the spirits of the dead. Here is my simple chicken karaage recipe to celebrate the Obon festival.

You can use chicken breast or chicken leg and thigh for this recipe. I prefer using chicken leg and thigh as it's much cheaper and tastier. Ask your butcher to remove the skin and bone and then just cut into bite size pieces.

2 chicken leg and thigh or 2 chicken breast (boneless, skinless and cut into bite size pieces)
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp grated ginger
Potato starch or cornflour (to coat the chicken pieces)
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Black or white sesame seeds (optional to decorate)
Few wedges of lemon (optional to garnish)


  1. Mix the sake, soy sauce and grated ginger in a medium size bowl. 
  2. Put the chicken pieces in the marinade and stir to make sure the chicken pieces are evenly covered in the marinade. 
  3. Leave in the fridge for about 20 minutes or a few hours (the longer the chicken is left in the marinade the tastier and more tender the meat will be). 
  4. Drain the marinade from the chicken pieces and pat with kitchen towel to remove the excess marinade.
  5. Place the potato starch or corn flour on a large plate and generously coat the chicken pieces.
  6. Heat the oil to 170 degrees Celsius and fry for about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and a nice golden brown colour. 
  7. Arrange the chicken pieces on kitchen towel to absorb excess oil.
  8. Serve with lemon wedges, wasabi mayo or sesame seeds.

- If you like you can leave the skin on the chicken pieces.
- To check the oil temp drop a bit of potato starch into the saucepan if it drops to the bottom and immediately rises then the oil is hot enough. If you notice that the chicken pieces are starting to brown too fast then the oil temp is probably too hot.
- Do not overcrowd the saucepan or the temp of the oil will reduce.

- Check to see what Japanese festivals are in your area every year to get a chance to try Japanese street food. There is a Hanami festival in Dublin every year with a great selection of Japanese street food. Click here for more details.

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