Karaage chicken

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? This Japanese recipe (with a few tweaks) is so tasty that I’m sure you’ll be making it many times. Karaage chicken (から揚げ) is sometimes known as popcorn chicken and a popular dish in Japan. These crunchy and seasoned pieces of chicken are perfect to eat while finally catching up on your favorite TV show, or to share with someone over a few cold beers. Treat yourself to these delicious chicken pieces, dipped in sweet chili sauce or wasabi mayonnaise, and you’ll see that this will be a favorite of yours too!

Preparation Time: 60-70 min | Cooking Time: 10 min | Serves: 2 | Spice level: 0


What you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp mirin (rice wine, see the notes for substitution)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • A generous pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • Half a cup of plain flour
  • Half a cup of cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper q.b.
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Garnish suggestions: lemon wedges, sesame seeds, chopped chilis



  • Start by cutting the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a large bowl and add the mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, the garlic and the ginger. Marinate for at least an hour – the longer you marinate them, the more flavourful your chicken will be.
  • Once the chicken has marinated, combine the flour and the cornstarch, and season them with salt and pepper.
  • Coat the marinated chicken pieces with the flour mixture.
  • Fry them in hot vegetable oil until golden and crispy (about 5-7 minutes, depending on how big the pieces are).
  • Serve with some sweet chili (or wasabi mayonnaise, a squeeze of lemon or even just soy sauce). Garnish with some sesame seeds, chilis and chopped scallions, if you’d like.
  • Enjoy!



  • The traditional Japanese recipe sometimes calls for sake instead of mirin. They are both rice wines, although the latter is sweeter and less alcoholic (sometimes non-alcoholic), so I like to use it instead of sake. You can find both in Asian stores, but if you don’t have any at hand, you can replace mirin with about half a cup of dry white wine (vermouth will work well too) and 2 tablespoons of sugar mixed together: this will make half a cup of mirin substitute.


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