The Craft of Flavor
HI! I don't make it a point of posting recipes at Alfan Select. And, goodness knows that there are PLENTY of recipes out there and websites as well! But given these stay-at-home times, I really just wanted to share a savory, easy, Japanese chicken recipe that might be cheerful! And, I thought everyone might be ready for something new to do with chicken!
Karaage Chicken: Draw out your inner cluck....
I have been living in Japan for over 20 years, and married to a Japanese who loves his native food, so yes, some experience there! This Karaage Chicken is one of my family's favorites and it always give us the party feel! I have been making this for many years and even my Japanese MIL has praised it....(maybe has to do with the extra sake I put in ?). Besides the sake, the ingredients are pretty basic. I often push myself and make a lot...it reheats in the toaster oven well, so next day's lunch or dinner all done!. I serve with rice and salad or thinly sliced cabbage topped with mayo. So without further ado, here it is!
Boneless/skinless Chicken Thighs: cut into 1 inch pieces. I use thighs because breasts tend to be too dry for this IMO. Two Medium thighs for this recipe.
The marinade is what make this chicken so flavorful. It is really an amazing combination that makes this chicken sweet, tangy, and even a bit spicy hot. You need a good amount of marinade, so depending on how much chicken you have you may want adjust the amounts. The chicken does not have to drown, but you do want it to do a good bit of swimming. Again not an exact science...I am just a relaxed kitchen cook!
Ginger root: about 1-2 inch fresh ginger root: peal and grate with cheese grater. Keep any juices. If you have a lot of chicken grate a bit more...it is not an exact science, so to your taste!
Garlic: I like to use two or three big cloves for two large chicken thighs, but again, I like a lot so I am generous. Grate the garlic as well.
Cornstarch: if you can get Japanese Katakuriko, great. Otherwise any cornstarch will do.
Soy Sauce: probably about 1/3 cup (depends on amount of chicken) for marinade and also used for dipping sauce.
Sake: Probably about 1/3 cup depending on amount of chicken
Oil: to fry
Lemon: for dipping sauce
Cut chicken to about 1 inch chunks and put in glass bowl (non metal anything). Living in Japan, I have access to great Japanese knives for this work, but outside, my cousin has a great site Chefs Knives to Go - hand-crafted Japanese knives....the sharp kind. A good knife really does help put the ease in "Easy Japanese Chicken...".; ) Now you can add in the marinade of garlic, sake, soy and ginger. You want the marinade to really coat the chicken. You can taste it before you put the chicken in and adjust the flavor. To me, the ginger really gives it a nice kick! So put the chicken in and mix it around and let stand for 30 minutes. Again, if really pressed for time, I have even marinated only 15 minutes, but longer will certainly soak the flavors better....obviously! ; )
The Dipping Sauce
Each person will do to their own taste for this dipping sauce of lemon and soy sauce. Some people just use salt. I like lemon juice (fresh lemon squeezed) and soy sauce mixed in a little dish to dip the crunchy chicken pieces.
Once marinate-time is up, coat the pieces of chicken with the cornstarch and put on a plate. When I coat them, I try to get some of the garlic and ginger to remain...great flavor! Now heat the oil and fry. I usually do not use so much oil and frequently turn the chicken pieces until they are browned and thoroughly cooked through. I have to say that frying chicken is a bit tricky as you want to make sure they are well cooked through and not just browned on the outside. Cut a few open to check they are well cooked. If not I just throw them back in the oil until done. Of course you do not want to do this with every piece as, yes, it does effect flavor. But it helps you to gauge frying time, temperature and doneness.
The Eating and Enjoying
And you are done! It take a bit of time to fry, but you can make a lot and reheat later. It goes great with beer...and now I have a great opportunity to show you one of our Horie Living Color Tumblers perfect for that! Hey, if you have any questions drop me a line. I am stay at home too. Preparing online ESL classes and of course, trying to get Alfan up and running. The small craft studios we represent are going to be feeling the pinch as well...But, if you are needing something new, do take a look at our unique selection of Japan Contemporary Crafts and Design. Thank you! Karen
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About the Author
Hi from Japan everyone! I'm Karen and I have been living and traveling, (yes, often by bullet train :) for Alfan Select, fun and adventure for over 20 years! You can read more of my personal stories in Japan here. As a cute couple, one of our new shared stories is about ferreting out the amazing contemporary examples of fine craftsmanship here in Japan. And these craft artists have amazing stories, too! So, if you like, browse around our site and enjoy reading some. Cheers! Karen
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