Fried chicken is one of the true joys in life, it's heralded in many parts of the world and done differently wherever you go. The Japanese version is known as Chicken Karaage and it's absolutely delicious, particularly when dunked in some rich Kewpie mayonnaise, spiked with Japanese seven spice. I've served my Karaage with a simple slaw that I dressed with a really great sweet miso and sesame dressing and some plain rice.
The crispy coating for Karaage is created by dredging the marinated chicken in potato flour that locks in all the lovely marinade ingredients. The other important cooking technique is to deploy the double fry method. This not only gives you the perfect outer texture but it also makes it much easier to supply your family with lots of lovely chicken, without having to wait for each batch to cook. The first cook is done with your oil at a lower temperature, around 150°C - the chicken is cooked in batches and removed to a wire rack. You then whack up the temperature to around 180°C for the final crisp.
Ingredients for Chicken Karaage
650g chicken thighs, skinless boneless
30g peeled fresh ginger, finely grated
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons Light soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoon Sake (you can use Chinese Shaoxing wine)
2 tablespoons Mizkan Mirin
½ tablespoon Toasted Sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons potato flour (potentially more if necessary)
200ml Fussel's Rapeseed Oil for frying
Ingredients for the Sweet Miso Sesame Dressing
50g white miso paste
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon Sake
1 tablespoon Mizkan Mirin
2 tablespoon Toasted Sesame oil
1 teaspoon Shichimi Togarashi
1 tablespoon Toasted white sesame seeds
Ingredients for the slaw
Mix of any of the following to make a crunchy slaw:
White cabbage, finely sliced
Red cabbage, finely sliced
Carrot, finely sliced
Radish, finely sliced
Spring onion, finely sliced
Cucumber, finely sliced
1. Start out by making the marinade for the chicken by mixing the grated ginger and garlic with the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sake, mirin, sesame oil and black pepper.
2. Cut the chicken thighs into bite size pieces, roughly 1½'' square, but it's always tricky cutting chicken thighs into even pieces, so don't get stressed if they're not perfect.
3. Massage the marinade over the chicken pieces and try to let it sit for around an hour at room temperature. You can do this the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight.
4. Meanwhile, make the dressing for the slaw. In a small saucepan, heat up the mirin, sake and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Pour this over the miso paste and using a spoon, mix them together. Stir in the sesame oil, sesame seeds and shichimi. You should have a thick dressing to coat your slaw ingredients, however, you can let this down with a little cold water if you want your dressing slightly more pourable.
5. Slice and chop up your slaw ingredients and set to one side.
6. For the first phase of frying, heat up a couple of inches of oil in a pan to around 150-160°C. This is still pretty hot, but not absolute boiling!
Generously coat the chicken pieces in the potato flour and drop them into the hot oil. Make sure you don't overcrowd the pan otherwise the temperature will drop and the coating will absorb too much oil. Fry the chicken in batches for around 3 minutes, the coating should develop a nice golden colour. Remove from the oil and place on a wire rack. Continue cooking until all the pieces have had their initial cook.
7. Now heat the hot to around 180°C and drop the chicken pieces back into the oil. They will only take around 1 minute and will crispy up perfectly on the outside. Again, cook them in batches and place back on the wire rack when done. They really retain their heat so don't be tempted to dip in too soon, give them a few minutes to cool.
8. Once all the chicken is cooked to perfection, mix the sweet miso dressing through the slaw and serve your Karaage chicken with the slaw, plain cooked rice and plenty of Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise with a good sprinkle of Shichimi, Japanese Seven Spice over everything!
Enjoy! And don't forget to tag us in your social feed - and leave a review here when you make it. Ben
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I keep reaching for our delicious Pickled Lemon Paste. It's intense lemon flavour provides a great lift to so many dishes whether it's a stew, sauce, dressing or marinade. This little salad is really quick and simple to prepare. The liquorice flavour of fennel is perfectly suited to carrying strong flavours...
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