Japanese Fried Chicken with two ingredient marinade

Main | September 28, 2016 | By

Japanese Fried Chicken- Karaage


Today was my middle daughter’s second birthday and I wanted to do something fun for dinner. Going out to a restaurant is fun, but then you have to constantly tell your kids to sit down and don’t climb out of the highchair, stop pouring pepper on your fruit… the usual stuff. I thought it would be more fun and relaxing to have a picnic! So I made some basic picnic/bento lunch foods and we packed it up and headed to a park.

The first thing on my list of picnic foods is Japanese fried chicken, aka karaage. It’s bite sized and you don’t feel like a bad parent when you let your kids eat it sans-utensils.  The recipe I’m sharing with you today is totally doable for those who don’t have many Japanese ingredients. When I was looking around online at other karaage recipes, I noticed that they had lots of ingredients in the marinade, including things like sake, mirin, stuff you might not have in your pantry. The marinade I used has just two ingredients: soy sauce and grated fresh ginger. Now, I wondered if I would be missing out, not using these other ingredients. And then I had an epiphany. It’s salty and I’m frying it. I’m not necessarily saying this tastes better than other marinades, but what I am saying is that it’s really good, and you only need two ingredients soooo… yeah. Decide for yourself.

One ingredient that you may not have is potato starch that you coat the chicken in. You can buy it at the Asian market, but, then, if you were there then you’d probably also pick up mirin and sake right? You can substitute corn starch for the potato starch, but be warned that it’s not quite the same. I heard it’s a little less crispy. But probably still delicious, so don’t let the lack of potato starch stop you from trying this out.

I fried mine in a wok, which is my new favorite way to deep fry things. It’s also the best way! J. Kenji Lopez-alt who is my favorite food writer said so, so it’s true. You should try it out! I used to fry in my dutch oven and I find that there really is less splattering and less gunk build up on the sides with the wok.

Feel free to use chicken thighs or breast. I usually use chicken breast because that’s what I have on hand. Although it’s more dry, I find that thighs are a little too fatty for me. I know thighs is the traditional Japanese way to do it, but, sometimes we break the rules here.

Try it out!



Japanese Fried Chicken with two ingredient marinade

An easy two-ingredient marinade makes this Japanese fried chicken accessible to anyone!
Servings 3


  • 1 lb chicken breast or thighs
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 1 inch grated fresh ginger or more if you like ginger
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • oil for deep frying


  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Combine soy sauce and grated ginger in a baggie and add chicken. Seal bag and massage the chicken. Let marinate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil to 350 degrees f. Combine potato starch and flour in a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the mixture to a bag and add 5-6 pieces of chicken (these small batches keeps from overcrowding and lowering the temperature of the oil too much). Shake bag up to coat the pieces, shake off excess powder and fry until golden brown. Make sure to stir the chicken pieces around periodically while frying.
  3. When golden brown, remove from oil and place on paper towel lined plate.
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