Chicken Karaage a la Chowhound!
Ain't Chowhound grand? A few months ago I asked for a recipe for karaage on the Home Cooking board and got a response from a Chowhound who was currently attending culinary school in Japan. And wouldn't you know it? She had just finished covering karaage in class!
If you don't know what Chicken Karaage is, you might recognize its other, more "Americanized" name: Sesame Fried Chicken.
Here is the link to her recipe.
Since then I've made this recipe part of my cooking routine. The chicken is moist on the inside, crisp and crunchy on the exterior and has the distinct nutty, gingery, and robust flavor I've come to expect. The aroma from the sake and soy permeates deep into the chicken.
This is exactly the dish I enjoy in restaurants.
I marinate the boneless, skinless breast chunks (I cut the pieces to about an inch and a half wide and half an inch thick) in 6 parts sake, 3 parts soy sauce, and 1 part grated ginger juice, and I seal inside a ziplock bag, leaving it in the fridge overnight.
The next evening, I shake off the excess marinade, and roll them in cornstarch as Yukari suggested. Tapping off the excess cornstarch, I let them rest on a plate while the oil heats.
As soon as the oil was hot enough (see her recipe for the exact temperature), I fry small batches at a time. Since these were white meat pieces, I cut down the cook time by half, so as not to dry it out. If using dark meat (which, by the way, tastes more authentic) follow Yukari's directions and cook a little longer. After about two minutes of swishing around in the oil, before they take on too much color, I take them out of the oil and let rest on a clean plate.
I think the resting process is crucial in making this dish properly. The resting allows enough carry-over heat to cook the chicken thoroughly and also allows the juices to redistribute while it cools.
This time also allowed the oil to heat up sufficiently for the final fry, which will give the chicken its final golden color and crispness.
After a good five minute resting and cooling time, I perform the final fry on high heat, also in small batches.
As soon as I detect a faint golden brown (took no more than a minute and a half for me), I lift the pieces out to drain on a paper towel.
Serve with a wedge of lemon....and viola!
Perfect chicken karaage!