The Secret to Juicy Karaage

Today, I would like to introduce my new Karaage recipe.

Did you think “another one”? – Do not leave me yet!!

It is not “just another” Karaage recipe. Today, I am revealing my secret how to make your Karaage juicer and tenderer.

The Secret to Juicy Karaage by alittlebitofsoy
Super Juicy Karaage by @alittlebitofsoy

You might have already known a cooking method called “Brining”. In short, brine is salty water, and brining is soaking meat in brine for hours to enhance its tenderness. Apparently it is science. Please see below for more information about brining. https://www.thespruceeats.com/all-about-brining-331490

I have applied this method to my Karaage.

What you have to do is soak your chicken in brine for 15 minutes just before marinating it in your Karaage seasoning. THAT’S IT! That will make your Karaage much more succulent, tender and juicy!!

What is in brine?

My basic brine is simple – water, salt and sugar. Water is to add moisture into the chicken, salt is to help the chicken to absorb the moisture and sugar is to keep the moisture inside.

What is in Karaage Seasoning?

Just to keep it simple, today I introduce the traditional Karaage seasoning – Garlic, Ginger, Soy Sauce, Sake, Mirin and Black Pepper. If you would like something different, try some of my other Karaage recipes (here and here), or you can use your own recipes as well!

By using the brining method, I also figured out that the chicken tends to absorb the seasoning quicker, therefore you do not need to marinate it for long. I say 15 minutes marinating is enough.

Chicken Breast or Chicken Thigh?

Both work! If you like juicer Karaage that is just like the one served in the Japanese Izakaya, go for chicken thigh. If you prefer it to be lighter, go for breast.

Deep-fry or Shallow-fry?

I know deep-frying is the proper way…, but I always shallow-fry… It is just my laziness considering the amount of oil used and having to clean the oil afterwards… So my answer is do deep-fry if you prefer to do it properly. I would also say, if you are like me, do not hesitate to just shallow-fry. I guarantee that it still comes out super tasty.

I really want all of you to try this method next time you make karaage. Even my husband, who is a long time Karaage fan, got suprised by its tenderness when I served this version.

Hope you like it as much as he does…

Ingredients (Serving 2-4):

  • 600 – 700g of Chicken Breast (about 2 breasts) or Chicken Thigh – cut into 5cm pieces
  • 2.5 Tablespoons of Flour Oil for Deep-frying or Shallow-frying

For Brine

  • 100ml of Water
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Sugar

For Karaage Seasoning

  • 5g of Ginger – grated or finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of Garlic – grated or finely chopped 1
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake
  • 1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Mirin
  • 1 pinch of Black Pepper

Method:

Brine Chicken

  • Mix all of the brine ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Place chicken pieces into the brine. Mix them gently by hand or chopsticks for about a minute, just like massaging the chicken. You will be able to see the brine being absorbed into the chicken while mixing. Marinate them for 15 minutes.

Marinate Chicken in Seasoning

  • Remove the chicken pieces from the brine. Pat-dry them with paper towels.
  • Place them in a bowl. Add ginger and garlic and mix them gently by hand or chopsticks.
  • Add cooking sake, soy sauce, mirin and black pepper. Mix them gently.
  • Marinate them for 15 minutes.

Shallow-Frying (or deep-frying if you wish)

  • Place flour on a plate. Coat the chicken pieces with flour evenly and shake the excess flour off.
  • Heat oil to 160° in a large frying-pan. Place the chicken pieces into the oil. Cook them for 3 minutes. Flip them and cook the other side for about 2 minutes. Please do not touch the chicken except only flipping them. This is to prevent the coating from coming off.
  • Turn the heat to high (180°) and keep cooking for about 30 seconds to make the outside crispy. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack to remove the excess oil. Serve while hot.
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