My first memory of karaage was with my dear friend Ali whose house I used to visit pretty frequently during the weekdays after high school during our senior year. Her grandmother would make delicious Japanese snacks for us after school such as onigiri, abura miso, takikomi gohan, and of course, chicken karaage. Sometimes, on a whim, we would take grocery trips to a nearby Mitsuwa market to buy karaage ready-to-eat. It was a treat! Karaage was definitely a savory comfort food that is to be eaten occasionally – more recently, I see it at ramen houses and traditional restaurants as an appetizer or side.
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a sample of Kikkoman Kara-Age Soy-Ginger Coating Mix to. As a loyal Kikkoman soy sauce user since I was born, it’s always nice to see newly created products.
My approach was simple in this trial because it’s always to start with a relative baseline and adjust accordingly. As such, original chicken kara-age it was! Here is the recipe, slightly modified from the package.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (I am pretty particular on this step, so it may have taken longer than if I used chicken breasts) and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Vegetable oil, enough to fill 1/4 inch of a heavy skillet
- Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium heat for several minutes.
- Meanwhile, pour 1 package Kikkoman Kara-Áge mix in a large plastic zip lock bag. Rinse chicken in water and allow excess to drip off. Add all chicken pieces to plastic bag, seal, and shake well to coat. Discard remaining coating mix.
- Pan fry half batch of chicken pieces in hot oil, at least 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked, turning pieces over frequently. Remove and drain on paper towels. Makes 4-5 servings.
Result: Well flavored chicken with strong notes of ginger. It definitely goes well with steamed white rice and a side salad for a light meal. If I were to make it again, I may have pan fried it longer so that it could crisp up even more because while the chicken was tender, it could have used some more snap. Alternatively, I may also try baking at a high temperature (450 degrees) and perhaps a quick broil to finish. All in all, this was an easy way to make karaage at home that had a good flavor punch. Thanks, Kikkoman!