Wednesday, September 14, 2005

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!


At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elmo - Ain't Chicken Kaarage great! I've got my own recipe that I use. It's really great with a "cold one" or in your own personal bento!!!

At 7:14 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Kirk, I saw your recipe and was also thinking of trying it once I got Yukari's basic one down. Although, I did have to look up what togarashi was. Turns out I've been using it all along when I eat at Yoshinoya!

At 9:15 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

BTW, I hope I don't get my Chowhound cred revoked for liking Yoshinoya...I grew up on that stuff. ;-)

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll pretend that I never read that - BTW, I love Popeye's - so they might take my "stripes" away as well.....

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Daily Gluttony said...

I am SOOOO making this!

At 9:59 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Can't wait to see how you like it! This one, I think, can be filed under "Completely Homemade with Daily G."


You know what's funny, I asked Chowhound about a year ago how to replicate their bacon wrapped asparagus yakitori, and they gave me some great tips on that as well. I tried it for the first time for a dinner party (which shows how confident I was of Chowhound's advice) and it came out great even on my gas grill! The only part that was lacking was the smoky taste that comes from that special wood they use. Maybe I should buy a yakitori grill?!

Here's that thread on how to replicate Honda-Ya's bacon wrapped asparagus yakitori.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Wholly agree...Popeye's rocks...well, okay most of them (I can vouch for all of them). One I tried in Detroit a few years ago simply was the best fried chicken I've ever had in my life. Never since has anything come close.

At 7:46 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

And I'd totally invite you in! Your chicken cartilage skewers, Pam's sesame green beans, Kirk's poke, and the karaage I made...okay, now we're can give Haru Ulala and Honda Ya a run for their money! All we need is a recipe for conch guts and deep fried shrimp heads. ;-)

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Seth Chadwick said...


Forget what I said about doing a restaurant review with you. You are making me dinner. :)

I loved the recipe and will try that out soon.


At 9:55 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

LOL! Thanks Seth! That's a huge compliment.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger BoLA said...

OH MY! Chicken Karaage is one of my all-time faves! My grams makes a pretty mean one to boot, but I'll have to try this recipe out. Oishi-sou-ne! :)

At 7:32 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I don't know if it'll ever top your gram's karaage, but this one's pretty tasty!

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Elmo- I tried to look for Yukari's recipe on CHowhound but it was no longer there. Could you please post on your blog or e-mail to me?


At 11:25 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I updated the link. It should take you to Yukari's recipe now. Thanks for letting me know the link was broken.


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