Karaage Chicken

Karaage Chicken | Gather and Graze

Well, there’s a first time for everything… and I do believe that this is the first deep-fried recipe to make its way onto Gather & Graze. Karaage Chicken (a Japanese dish) has lately become a family favourite, particularly when made into burgers with brioche-style milk buns, lettuce leaves and a dollop or two of chilli-kissed mayonnaise to bring it all together. It’s an occasional treat, due to its deep-fried nature… though I believe far better to make these dishes at home, from time to time, where you can ensure that the chicken is free-range/organic and to have an awareness of each and every ingredient going into the preparation.

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!

Karaage Chicken | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 4 Free-Range Chicken Thigh Fillets (cut into similar sized chunks)
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sake
  • 1 tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
  • ½ Cup Potato Starch
  • 1 L (4 Cups) Vegetable Oil (for deep frying)
  • Sea Salt

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 125mls (½ Cup) Mayonnaise (I use Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise)
  • 2 tsp Sriracha Chilli Sauce


I prefer to remove the chicken from the fridge about 1 hour before cooking, to allow it to come to room temperature.

Stir together the soy sauce, sake and grated ginger in a small bowl, then pour this along with the chicken thigh meat into a medium plastic zip-loc bag. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the meat, making sure that it’s all been coated. Place the bag to one side and allow to marinate for approximately 30 minutes before cooking.

Sift the potato starch into a shallow tray/dish. Allow any excess liquid to drip off the chicken pieces, before placing them into the potato flour and tossing to lightly coat. Tap off any excess and allow to sit for 5 minutes or so (which will give a better crust), while you heat the oil for frying.

Karaage Chicken | Gather and Graze

Using a deep-fryer or a suitable pot (see notes below), heat the vegetable oil until it reaches about 180°C.

Karaage Chicken | Gather and Graze

Without crowding the pot, cook the chicken pieces in batches. For a super crispy coating, I recommend frying the chicken 3 times. Start off by frying for 1 minute, then remove to a rack for about 30 secs. Fry again for 1 minute and then back on the rack for 30 secs. Repeat the process one more time. Please be careful while deep-frying to avoid any burns and do please also check to make sure that the chicken is fully cooked through, you may need slightly longer if the pieces are quite thick. Remove to a warmed oven and sprinkle with a little sea salt, while you fry the remaining batches.

Karaage Chicken | Gather and Graze

Serve with a small bowl of Kewpie mayonnaise mixed with a little Sriracha (Thai Chilli Sauce)… perfect for dipping the Karaage chicken into. A ratio of about ½ Cup of mayonnaise to 2 tsp Sriracha gave just the right amount of heat for us.

My other serving suggestion is to make burgers with larger pieces of Karaage chicken (cooking time will be slightly longer). Find some soft milk buns, add some lettuce and a dollop of the above chilli mayonnaise and you’re all set for delicious home-made burgers. Our family LOVES them!

Karaage Chicken | Gather and Graze


I have a Le Creuset (size 26) casserole pot which works really well for the occasional deep-frying. It’s just the right size to also hold a semi-circular rack (that came with my wok) on one side, which makes draining oil from the food all the easier. It also cleans up so much easier than other pots I’ve used in the past… just allow to cool completely, sieve the oil into a clean bottle to use again if you’re able to, and soak the pot for a few minutes in warm, soapy water before washing.


15 thoughts on “Karaage Chicken

  1. ladyredspecs

    This post slipped past me somehowMargot. I avoid deep frying because of the clean up but this really sounds delicious so might just cave and give it a go. I’m use potato flour more and more after accidently discovering (grabbed wrong container) on pan fried fish how crunchy it goes.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      That’s really interesting to know Sandra… a couple of nights ago I pan fried some orange roughy à la meunière and considered using the potato starch instead of plain flour, but caved at the last minute and went with the plain. Next time!

  2. Johnny Hepburn

    Where to find potato starch and flour! There not readily available here. I bet the crunch is irresistible. And I agree, far better to deep-fry occasionally at home. Besides, certainly here, all oil is heat treated to an nth of its life to pasteurize it – it has to be. And that includes extra virgin. I just don’t use oil if it’s smoking. I’ll start again if necessary. Not that I would forget to stay in the kitchen! 🙂 Nor set off the fire alarm. No, that wasn’t me!

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      You could definitely substitute the potato starch with cornflour Johnny if you wanted to give it a try… the results would be just as lovely I’m sure!
      Did you really set off the fire alarm? Must be easy to do… even cooking toast can be risky! 😉 Hope you’re well and the heat wave has eased off a bit now. We’ve just had a 2 day glimpse into spring… but back to winter now unfortunately!

      1. Johnny Hepburn

        Only In my flat. Arrgh, did you notice the glaring typo? Of course, you’re far too nice to mention. 🙂
        Aren’t those glimpses all important? And you’re looking forward to spring, no doubt. If there’s another heat wave here I’ll be making the most of it. Sandals, that are 2 years old now, are still looking too new!

  3. StefanGourmet

    Hi Margot, I love this chicken and blogged about it six years ago. Thanks for reminding me to make it again. There is nothing wrong with deep fried food, as long as your oil is fresh and it is done at the right temperature. The mayonnaise (depending on how much you use) will probably have more calories than the deep frying adds to the chicken. I love Kewpie mayonnaise by the way, it is the only store-bought mayonnaise I like. You could consider using shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-spice) instead of Thai chilli sauce.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks for all your thoughts and suggestions Stefan… interesting as always! I’ll try to track down the shichimi togarashi in our local Asian grocery store when I’m next there. Cheers, Margot

  4. Sherry Mackay

    oh yum this sounds delicious but seeing that i have a deep-seated terror of frying (the actual action rather than the fat) i always bake things like this. so i would just put my chicken pieces into the oven for a while then onto the buns. cheers S

  5. Eha

    Potato starch ia a staple in Northern Europe at least . . . it is used and, in Australia, preferred by many immigrants from these countries as a substitute to flour and corn-starch . . . ie it is usually used as a thickening agent for soups, stews, sauces etc Friends of mine say it has a ‘better taste’ which is amusing as it has no taste! I do not like ‘diets’ but potato starch is gluten-free for those who believe themselves to be coeliacs.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Eha… always interesting to learn more about how people around the world use different ingredients. I’ll be sure to try the potato starch in other dishes from now on. Cheers, Margot

  6. Eha

    Uhuh! I don’t deep fry either but being an experienced Japan-hand karaage chicken is kind’of an ‘old friend’ 🙂 ! May I compliment you on your chicken crusts . . . love the initial soy/sake bath and using potato starch is actually so, so European . . . what wonderful ‘fusion’ I’ll immediately copy with a then choice of shallow frying to get almost the same flavour!

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment Eha! I’m sure it will work just fine by shallow frying… perhaps just take a little longer. Intrigued as to the European dishes that use potato starch… love to hear more! This is the only dish I’ve ever used it in.


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