Baked Chicken Karaage

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Baked Chicken Karaage. © Judy Ung
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Chicken karaage is a traditional Japanese dish of marinated fried chicken, but this variation is baked in the oven as a healthier alternative.

Karaage can often be found as an appetizer, on the menu of Japanese restaurants, izakaya (tapas style restaurants), but it can also be found in bentos at the deli section of Japanese supermarkets.

The Japanese term "karaage" is a type of cooking technique where foods are seasoned with ingredients such as soy sauce, ginger, or garlic, then coated with potato starch and deep fried. 

The karaage style of cooking is sometimes used interchangeably with the term "tatsutaage", which is also a Japanese cooking style for seasoning, coating, and deep frying foods. A recipe for Japanese chicken tatsutaage is available here.

To make chicken karaage, the chicken is first marinated in a savory blend of soy sauce, ginger and seasonings. Because the soy sauce is quickly absorbed, the time required to marinate the chicken is minimized and can be completed within 15 to 20 minutes for a mild to medium flavor. Of course, marinating time also depends on your taste preferences. The meat can be marinated for up to 2 hours, but expect the chicken to be quite salty.

This baked version of the traditional chicken karaage recipe, calls for katakuriko (potato starch or arrowroot powder), which is commonly used as a thickener in Japanese cooking. Substitutes for potato starch include corn starch or even flour, but where the potato starch is light, both corn starch and flour are slightly thicker. For the purpose of this recipe, all three ingredients may be used interchangeably although potato starch might offer better texture.

Baked chicken karaage can be enjoyed as an appetizer, side dish, main dish, or as an item in a bento (lunch box). It is kid - friendly, and also proves to be a great dish for parties or potlucks.

What You'll Need

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sake
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet cooking sake)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced 
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped (optional)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on desired. Turn occasionally to marinate chicken evenly.
  4. In a separate bowl, add potato starch. Add chicken to potato starch and coat evenly.
  5. Line baking sheet with foil and cover with cooking oil spray to prevent sticking. Lay chicken on foil, spread apart, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until fully cooked.
  1. Serve chicken immediately with fresh lemon wedges.