This recipe actually started as my attempt at making traditional Chicken Karaage, which is like Japanese fried chicken. But, it turned into a real test kitchen experiment with different types of flours and trying to find the best batter and method to making crispy chicken that stayed crispy. I used Katakuriko (Japanese potato starch), Mochiko (Japanese rice flour), regular AP flour and after days of trial and error, I concluded that Chicken Karaage really needs to be double-fried to stay crispy which I just don’t think the average person wants to do - nor do I as a mom of 3 kids.
So, this is my cheater version that is equally crispy and flavorful, but doesn’t require double frying. This chicken is marinated much like karaage so the chicken stays moist, tender and flavorful, but I dip it in egg and panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and then deep fry it. It comes out crispy and stays that way - for hours. Need to crisp it up? You can pop it under the broiler or toaster oven for a bit. Can’t find katakuriko? No worries, we’re using panko which is widely available. Plus, my kids loved this and gobbled them right up and said “Mom, this chicken is delicious!”, thus the name. Done. I need a nap.
Skill Level: Moderate
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
6 tablespoons shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
2 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoon sake (rice wine)
One 1½ inch-piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 spring onions or large scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 ½ pounds or 8 boneless chicken thighs with, skin on (about 8 thighs)
2 large eggs
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for frying
lemon wedges for garnish
In a medium bowl, whisk the shoyu, agave, sake, grated ginger, garlic, spring onion, salt and pepper together until smooth.
Cut each chicken thigh into 4 uniform pieces and add to the marinade. Let marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Set a cooling rack in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk the kewpie with the sriracha.
In a deep, straight-sided medium skillet, heat 2 inches of oil to 325 degrees. When the oil is hot, test the temperature by adding a small amount of batter to the hot oil. It should sizzle and fry up quickly.
In one shallow bowl, beat the eggs. In a second shallow bowl, spread the panko in an even layer. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, tap off any excess marinade, then dip them into the egg and then cover them with panko.
Working in batches and being careful not to crowd the skillet, add the chicken to the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to the prepared cooling rack, making sure none are touching and repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve warm or at room temperature and garnish with lemon wedges. The chicken will remain crispy for hours.