Gingery Fried Chicken

Kara Agé

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Serves

    4

    .

Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

Marinated in a robustly seasoned soy sauce, dredged, then fried twice for extra crispness, this Japanese version of fried chicken is sure to find many Occidental fans. Serve it hot with rice, pickles and a tart salad like Red and White Salad, or cold with Spinach in Sesame Seed Dressing.

Ingredients

  • pounds boneless chicken or pounds chicken with bone
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup saké (rice wine)
  • 1½–2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • cup (all-purpose) flour
  • cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon sansho (Japanese fragrant pepper)
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 lemon, cut into 6–8 wedges

Method

Cut the chicken into pieces about 1 inch square. (If you have bought it with the bone in, you must bone it first.) In a shallow bowl, combine the soy sauce and rice wine, then stir in the grated fresh ginger. Lay the clove of garlic on your cutting board and whack it with the flat side of a broad-bladed vegetable knife or Chinese cleaver. This will smash the garlic, releasing its unique aroma, and at the same time loosen the skin for easy removal. Place the smashed garlic clove in the bottom of the bowl of marinade. Add the chicken pieces and let them marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature or up to 8 hours covered and refrigerated.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper in another shallow bowl or pan. Lift the pieces of chicken, one at a time, from the marinade and dredge them in the seasoned flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and remove the coated chicken to a plate, letting it stand for 5 minutes. During this time, the coating will absorb some of the marinade and the pieces will change from white to a beige color.

Heat your oil to approximately 350 degrees F. (a pinch of the dredging mixture will sizzle immediately on the surface of the oil without burning) and fry the chicken pieces, in batches of 4–5 each, for less than a minute. This first frying will seal the outer surfaces with a light-colored crust. Drain the chicken well on paper towels and lower the temperature of your oil to about 325 degrees (a pinch of the dredging mixture will sink slightly before sizzling). Refry the chicken, this time in batches of 6–7 pieces each, for 3–4 minutes. Drain the chicken again on paper towels, and serve it hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges.