Chicken Karaage (Tatsutaage)
Karaage (唐揚げ), also known as Tatsutaage (竜田揚げ), is the Japanese version of fried chicken. Pronounced kah-rah-ah-geh, the name literally means “Tang fried” (Tang as in the Chinese dynasty). Like Gyoza and Ramen, Karaage is an example of Wafu-Chuka (Chinese-style Japanese) cuisine, whereby dumplings, noodles, or in this case fried chicken, was adapted from the Chinese culinary repertoire and turned into something uniquely Japanese.
After being marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic, the two-bite nuggets of chicken are dredged in potato starch and deep fried until crisp. The potato starch creates a golden shell around the karaage with a lasting crispness which makes it perfect for packing into a bento lunch. Karaage also makes for a great summer picnic with some onigiri (rice balls).
In Japan, a finely ground wheat flour called karaageko is used for coating the meat. It forms a light, crispy crust that does not become saturated with cooking oil. If karaageko is unavailable, cornstarch or potato starch may be substituted. Peanut oil, canola oil or vegetable oil are the best choices for deep-frying. Fresh lemon wedges are traditionally served with karaage, and Kewpie brand mayonnaise is the most popular condiment for the dipping sauce. If Kewpie is unavailable, a homemade version may be made with plain mayonnaise and rice vinegar or cider vinegar, seasoned with a little monosodium glutamate (MSG). A small amount of hot mustard or cayenne pepper may also be added for spice. Karaage is a favorite dish in Japan’s izakaya pubs. Since it may also be served cold, it is also a popular choice for bento lunchboxes. Karaage is also included on menus in many Japanese restaurants outside Japan.
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp white sugar
- 1 tbs minced garlic
- 1 tbs grated fresh ginger root
- 1 tbs sesame oil
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 tbs potato starch (katakuriko)
- 1 tbs rice flour (joshinko)
- oil for frying
How to make it
- In a large bowl, mix together eggs, salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
- Add chicken pieces, and stir to coat.
- Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove bowl from refrigerator, add potato starch and rice flour to meat, and mix well.
- In a large skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).
- Place chicken in hot oil, and fry until golden brown.
- Cook meat in small batches to maintain oil temperature.
- Drain briefly on paper towels.
- Serve hot.