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Karaage chicken dipped in Japanese kewpie mayonnaise.
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5 from 2 votes

chicken karaage

Chicken karaage is Japan's answer to fried chicken. Lightly marinated and deep fried, it's absolutely delicious.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4
Calories: 612kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


  • 8 boneless chicken thighs with the skin on - Seriously. Use dark meat with skin
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2-3 tsp ginger grated (a microplane works well)
  • 4 tbsp sake
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup potato starch - enough to coat the chicken
  • oil to deep fry
  • lemon and Japanese mayo to serve


  • Cut each chicken thigh into 3-4 pieces. You are going for large bite sized pieces.
  • Mix the sake, soy, mirin, salt, ginger and garlic in with the chicken. Let sit 15-20 minutes minimum. Up to an hour is OK.
  • Individually dust the chicken pieces with the potato starch. Don't go overboard. Don't double dredge. It will be tough. You really want a light hand here. Set chicken on a rack on a cookie sheet until you are ready to fry.
  • Pre-heat the oil in a heavy frying pan. A nice large cast iron pan works well here. Go for about 1 inch of oil in the pan. 
    Use a candy thermometer. You want your oil at 340-350F when the chicken goes in. Regulate your heat to try to keep it in the range while the chicken cooks if you can. 
  • A word of caution here. Don't add a bunch of chicken at the same time. You run the risk of the oil bubbling up over the edge of your pan. That's really bad. Dangerous. Be careful. Cook smart.
  • Working in batches, deep fry the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 170F. Get an instant read thermometer if you don't have one. Instant read thermometers are how you get consistent results.
  • Once the first batch of chicken is done, set it on paper towels on a plate. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
  • Serve with fresh lemon and optionally Japanese (kewpie) mayonnaise. Kewpie mayo is not the same as regular mayo. 
    You can also sprinkle a bit of shichimi togarashi on it if you want a bit more zing. Green onions make a nice garnish.


If you want to mix it up a bit try serving it with gochujang mayonnaise. That moves things firmly in a Korean direction. Even if you don't, keep gochu mayo in the back of your mind. It's tasty stuff on sandwiches...


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 612kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 1546mg | Potassium: 701mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2.2mg