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Karaage Chicken AKA Japanese Chicken McNuggets

Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise

Kewpie Japanese Mayo

I meet my architect girlfriends in Seattle’s International District once a month for lunch, shop talk, life talk……Since it is a little bit of a distance for me to come, and I never like to be late, I usually have time to spare when I get there.  I always use my time wisely by perusing the aisles at Uwajimaya, a huge Asian grocery store and the attached book store, Kinokuniya.  A few weeks ago in Kinokuniya a book caught my eye – Everyday Harumi, Simple Japanese Food for Family and Friends. Harumi was described as Japan’s answer to Martha Stewart.  So, of course I had to have it. I thought the Karaage (Japanese fried chicken) recipe looked really interesting.  Then last Sunday in the Seattle Times, local chef Greg Atkinson had an article with a Karaage recipe adapted from this same book.  Well, I thought I better get on this Karaage bandwagon so I made it last night,  along with Harumi’s Japanese Coleslaw,with mixed results.  It was good and everyone liked it except Coco.  Please remember, this is nothing new. Mr. D. thought it could be considered Japanese style chicken McNuggets. But, it was quite salty- it is good no one in my family is on blood pressure medication!  I do think this was my fault as I left the chicken in the marinade longer than the 5-10 minutes Harumi called for. So, the next time I make it I will actually follow the directions. 

 In Japan, each piece of fried chicken is impaled on a skewer and served with lemon, shichimi togarashi (I don’t know what the heck this is) and Japanese mayonnaise.  I picked up Kewpie brand Japanese mayonnaise at a local grocery store for fun.  It wasn’t bad – it wasn’t Best Foods (My personal favorite) – it had a consistency more like miracle whip, but it did have a mayonnaisey taste.  We enjoyed trying it and the bottle was sure cute.  The skewers are fun, but really not necessary. Also, as you may realize by now, the Wilsons are hearty stock, therefore, hearty eaters.  So, I actually tripled the following recipe which serves 4. So, here is my adaption of Harumi’s Karaage Chicken. 

karaage chicken

Karaage Chicken


Karaage Chicken (Japanese Fried Chicken)


  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup potato or corn starch
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • lemon wedges, shichimi togarashi, mayonnaise to serve

Cooking Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized chunks.
  2. Mix soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a bowl and leave it alone for half of a day.
  3. Marinate the chicken in the marinade for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Coat each chicken piece with the starch and flour mixed together.
  5. Deep fry in very hot oil (365 degrees) until golden brown. I used a 10 inch diameter cast iron dutch oven filled with a couple of inches of oil to do my frying.
  6. Remove from oil and drain on a rack or paper towel. You can also keep warm in 250 degree oven.
  7. Put each piece of chicken on a skewer and serve with lemon, shichimi togarashi and mayonnaise.

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