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Japanese-Style Fried Chicken

Japanese-Style Fried Chicken

Learn how to make delicious Japanese-style fried chicken, known as kara-age, with a savory soy sauce-and-garlic marinade and a crispy potato starch crust. Enjoy this recipe served with steaming white Japanese rice and a refreshing tomato-cucumber salad. It's a simple, flavorful, and satisfying dish perfect for picnics or school lunches. Discover the secret to tender, juicy, and intensely flavorful kara-age and variations to the traditional recipe. Try this easy-to-follow recipe from the inimitable Nobuko and share your favorite way to make kara-age in the comments.

Sorry Paula Dean, but nothing beats Japanese-style fried chicken. (To Mary in Austin and all my friends down south who make amazing fried chicken: Don't kill me! :) ). The secret is the marinade. Before the bird hits the hot oil in Japan, it wallows in a savory, soy sauce-and-garlic marinade bursting with mouthwatering umami goodness. After that treatment, it's quickly dusted with potato starch and tossed into the bubbling fat vat. The upshot is tender, juicy, intensely flavorful chicken with a super crispy yet light crust. Unbeatable. I've been jonsing for kara-age ("kara-ageh"), as it's called in Japan, so made it last night, and served it with just a bowl of steaming white Japanese rice and a tomato-cucumber salad on the side. Simple and satisfying, what can I say?I've also seen variations with ginger, beaten egg and other ingredients in the marinade. Oh, and this fried chicken is wonderful cold, too, so perfect for picnics (apple picking season upon us here in New York, so take along a kara-age snack), or school lunches (also upon us, of course). Herewith, the recipe:

Serves 4

# **Garlic Soy Chicken Bites**

## Ingredients:
- 4 chicken legs, bones removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup Japanese all-purpose soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8-10 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 1/2 cup potato starch (katakuriko)
- 2 quarts high-smoke point vegetable oil (canola or peanut)

## Instructions:
1. **Marinate the Chicken**: In a mixing bowl, combine chicken pieces with soy sauce, sake, salt, pepper, and grated garlic. Massage the mixture with your hands to ensure the chicken is well-coated with the flavorings. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour. For a longer marination or overnight, refrigerate.

2. **Prepare the Deep-Frying Station**: Pour vegetable oil into a pot, ensuring it's at least 2 inches deep. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. Place a newspaper-lined plate next to the burner to drain the fried chicken.

3. **Drain the Chicken**: After marination, place the chicken in a colander to drain off any excess liquid. Preheat the oil to 360°F (180°C).

4. **Coat the Chicken with Potato Starch**: Place potato starch in a closable plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, seal, and shake until they are lightly coated with starch. 

5. **Fry the Chicken**: Once the oil reaches 360°F (180°C), shake off any excess starch from the chicken and fry in batches to avoid overcrowding. Fry for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.

6. **Drain and Serve**: Transfer the fried chicken to the newspaper-lined plate to remove excess oil. Serve hot, and eat leftovers cold!