Kara-age : fried chicken my hometown style

You might have tried some kara-age (pronounce each syllable separately, ka-ra-a-ge) chicken at a sushi restaurant.  It is the one of the most popular Japanese foods in the U.S.

I would love to share the recipe of my hometown, Hokkaido. This is actually easier than regular Kara-age recipe and has more enhanced flavor. You want beer with this.

Interestingly, Hokkaido people call this recipe Zangi and insist its difference and independency from kara-age. I actually got friendly complaints from Hokkaidians through Twitter and requested to add this note for broader popularization of Zangi . Love.

The original recipe can be found here (in Japanese. By Mrs. Esunohara. ) .


Chicken thigh, boned      2 pounds
Soy sauce 6 tbs
Japanese sake or wine   4 tbs
Grated ginger  1 tbs
Grated garlic  1 tbs
2 eggs
Flour  4-5 tbs  (or 3 tbs flour and 2 tbs corn starch for crispier finish)
Oil for frying

How to cook

1) Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes.

2) Put chicken, ginger, garlic, say sauce and sake in a large bowl and mix well.

kara-age making

If you have an opened bottle of Japanese sake, just use it.  But you don’t have to buy one only for this recipe. I have tried red and white wine instead and both worked fine.

3) Marinate it for 2-3 hours or overnight.  You can make a large amount of this and freeze for quick dinner later on.

4) Add eggs and flour  in the bowl.

Usually a Kara-age recipe tells you to coat chicken with flour but my hometown recipe mixes all in the bowl. It holds the flavor better and easier to fry.

mixed kara-age Mix it well.

5)  Heat oil in a large pan and fry until appetizingly brown.

Oil temperature should be about 350 F.

A kitchen drinker enjoying sizzling hot fried chicken.

Hokkaido Zangi should ideally be as brown as Hokkaido grizzly bear. Mine this time had too light color.. can only be a Hokkaido fox.

6) Cut lemon in wedges and serve.

Bon Appetit!!

I suggest to have some tofu and tomato salad with this.  Enjoy!

I have the recipe in Japanese, too.

5 thoughts on “Kara-age : fried chicken my hometown style

  1. Pingback: カラアゲじゃなくてザンギ | お料理ダイスキ!ニューヨークおうちごはん

  2. Rion

    so what did you use exactly when you made it…sake or wine? and all flour or the flour & cornstarch combo….i made some omitted the sake or wine and it didnt come out quite like your pictures…it still tasted good….i still would like to know the specifics of what you use though….i love this chicken

    1. Yu Post author

      Thank you for the comment & sorry for taking time to reply.
      I believe it will come out okay without wine nor sake but I never tried. I usually use white wine (because it’s cheaper!) or even beer. I heard that alcohol and corn starch in batter helps to make it crispier because they prevent from creating gluten. It might be a reason of a bit different look. Hope you enjoyed the chicken and happy holidays!

  3. Rion

    oh yeah another thing what type of frying oil…sorry imma chef professionally and these things matter when trying new recipes…even down to little things or technicques…like can you cut the chicken pieces bigger or do they have to be 1 inch cubes?…thank you for your time when you do reply

    1. Yu Post author

      Thanks again, and I am kinda nervous to answer questions from a pro.
      I usually use canola or corn oil for frying, it’s just because my mom keeps using them and I don’t see a reason to change.
      And I like to cut chicken large pieces, maybe a bit larger than 1 inch cubes since the bigger the surface areas, the less oil them absorbed, concerning our health.


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