Tori no Karaage (Japanese fried chicken) is a Japanese famous food and the best fried chicken in the world. It is not only easy to make but also flavorful and tasty. Once you make Tori no Karaage, you’ll want to add it to your ordinary recipe list!! Here is the simple technique to make extra crispy Tori no Karaage.
I love Tori no Karaage.
It’s easy to make and everyone loves it.
What is Tori no Karaage? (meaning)
Tori no Karaage is a Japanese fried chicken made from tasty soy sauce, sake, ginger, and garlic marinade, coated in potato starch (Japanese: Katakuriko) and deep fried. They are super tasty and crispy. You can find Tori no Karaage at home, street-side food, Izakayas and restaurants. I think every house has slightly different tasting Tori no Karaage.
I grew up having my mom’s Tori no Karaage and have always loved it so much. When I was a student, I remember that I was so happy when my bento box had Tori no Karaage. It made my day.
Tori no Karaage pronunciation
I bet the pronunciation of Tori no Karaage is not so important, but I would like to teach you how to pronounce it because you might happen to enter Japanese restaurant or visit Japan and order Tori no Karaage one day!
The pronunciation of Tori no Karaage is “To-ri-no ka-RA-AH-geh”.
Chicken thigh karaage or Chicken breast Karaage
There is always a question of “Which kind of chicken should be used for Tori no Karaage?”. The answer is you can use both.
But I recommend chicken thigh when you make Tori no Karaage because it is more flavorful and tasty than chicken breast.
Karaage vs Tatsutaage
So many people have questions about the differences between Karaage and Tatsutaage. Tatsutaage (竜田揚げ) is made from chicken, soy souce, mirin, and potato starch and then deep-fried until golden brown.
They are the same thing, aren’t they?
Karaage is seasoned and coated with flour and potato starch, while Tatsutaage is seasoned and coated with just potato starch, so Tatsutaage is more brown than Karaage.
As a little tip, Tatsutaage came from Tatsuta river(Tatsuta-gawa) in Nara prefecture. It has a white part which is thick coated with potato starch, and a brown part which is thin coated with potato starch. Those two parts show the river with autumn leaves.
Tori no Karaage batter mix
Omg I love easy cooking. Japanese store usually has Tori no Karaage mix because it is so popular in Japan. There lots of different Tori no Karaage mixes to choose from and you can purchase them from Japanese grocery stores or online.
For example, here is one you can buy online!
Ingredients for Tori no Karaage
My Tori no Karaage uses skin-on boneless chicken thighs. They are more flavor than chicken breasts, however, if you would like to use breasts, that’s totally okay.
In the US, skin-on chicken thighs are usually sold with bones. You can ask your butcher to remove the bones or simply take the bones out by yourself. Also, you want skin-on chicken because it keeps Tori no Karaage so crispy on the outside.
As I mentioned earlier, every house has slightly different taste of Tori no Karaage. So you can use your favorite seasonings! However, Tori no Karaage always includes soy sauce, sake, and ginger.
Some ideas for making your own Tori no Karaage:
- Garlic powder
- onion powder
- curry powder
We use flour and potato starch to coat Tori no Karaage.
- cake flour
- all-purpose flour
You can use either of them!
Potato starch or Corn starch
People often question the difference between potato starch and corn starch. In Japan, potato starch is called Katakuriko (片栗粉) and it is more common than corn starch for frying food. In the US, corn starch is easier to find in grocery stores. So if you can’t find potato starch, you can use corn starch.
For frying, potato starch gets crispier than corn starch while corn starch has lighter taste.
4. Deep frying oil
I use vegetable oil to fry Tori no Karaage, but you can use:
- Canola oil (キャノーラ油)
- Sunflower oil (べに花油)
- Rice bran oil (米油)
Tips to make The Best Tori no Karaage
Here are some tips for making the best Tori no Karaage!
- Cut the chicken the size of no more than 2 inches. And you want them to be the same size in order to cook them evenly!
- To get the crispiest Tori no Karaage, you want to do a double fry. For the first fry, fry on a low heat for a longer time. For the second fry use a high heat for a short time.
- Marinating the meat for about 20 minutes is extremely important to get tasty tasty Tori no Karaage! Don’t marinate too long!
- For the coating, try not to put too much flour or potato starch.(you can remove extra flour/potato starch if it looks too thick.) If you accidentally put too much, just rub off the extra before frying. If you don’t it can make the oil cloudy and ruin the texture of the Tori no Karaage.
- First coat with flour. Second cover with cornstarch!
Q&A Often asked about Tori no Karaage
Q: Can I make Karaage without sake?
Yes, you can! However, Sake’s makes a big difference for making juicy Karaage. So if you have sake, I recommend you use it.
Q: Can I make Karaage without using potato starch?
Some people prefer not to use potato starch, Katakuriko, or corn starch after coating with flour because they like the harder texture. But normally, we will use one of them to make crispy but soft inside Karaage.
Q: How can I make crispy and juicy Karaage?
Double frying, Sake, and Katakuriko are the key! You can buy Katakuriko at almost any Asian grocery stores or on Amazon. If you don’t have Katakuriko, use corn starch or potato starch instead. They are the key to make crispy and juicy Tori no Karaage!
Q: What should I do with the leftover oil?
This is also a big question “How or what should I do with the oil after I used it?”.
In Japan, there are a lot of chances to use oil in our meals, so we keep cooking oil in a container with a strainer(Aulett Home Bacon Grease Container With Strainer). Using this, you can reuse oil for deep frying 2-3 times!
Pouring the oil down the drain is not good for the environment. When you throw it out, I recommend pouring the oil into a Ziploc or plastic bag and then zipping or sealing it, then throwing into a trashcan.
Q: How to serve Tori no Karaage?
This is an individual preference. Personally, I like to serve with salad, mayonnaise, and rice. But some people prefer just Karaage, and others prefer with lemon and some vegetables.
You can serve Karaage in any style you want!
Tori no Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)
- 400 g boneless chicken thigh
- 2 Tablespoon Cornstarch or potato starch
- 2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 4 cups neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc)
- lemon for taste and garnish
- Japanese mayonnaise for dipping. HERE to buy Japanese mayonnaise
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Cut the chicken thigh into bite sized pieces (about 2-inches). Try to trim excess fat as much as possible.*1 Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Grate the ginger and mince the garlic. Put into a large bowl, combine ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sake, salt, and sesame oil. Whisk all together.
- Add the cut chicken to the bowl and mix well. Cover and keep in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator and take the chicken out of the marinade. Prepare potato starch and all-purpose flour in separate piles. First, lightly dredge each chicken piece in the flour and dust off the extra flour.
- Secondly, dredge the chicken in the potato starch and remove extra starch.
- Pour the vegetable oil into a pot and heat the oil to 325ºF (163ºC). When oil is heated to 325ºF (163ºC), gently put each chicken piece into the oil. Add 3-5 pieces at a time, otherwise the oil temperature will drop and doesn't cook well.
- 【First Deep Fry】Deep fry for 2 minutes, until you can see the outside of the chicken gets a light golden color. *2 After 2 minutes in the oil, move to a wire rack to drain excess oil.
- 【2nd Deep Frying】Now heat the oil to 350ºF (177ºC). Deep fry for about 1 minute until the chicken looks slightly darker color and crispy. Move to a wire rack to drain extra oil and continue with the remaining chicken.
To Serve and eat
- Let's serve! Karaage is often served with mayonnaise, some vegetables and lemon.
- To store, let Karaage cool completely, and keep in an airtight container. It keeps nicely in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to a month.