[originally written for eatinasian.com, also posted on EnjoyTheFlavor and AllSpiceCafe]
I was recently contacted by Kimlai of eatinasian, about sharing an Asian inspired recipe using our AllSpiceCafe sauces. My first thought was that I really didn’t have any, because when I make Japanese dishes, I try to duplicate what my mom would have made for me when I was young. I connect with a lot of foods by memories/emotionally, so altering a recipe’s flavor, even with a great hot sauce, just doesn’t taste right to me. For example I know there are several people who add our best selling chipotle garlic sauce to miso soup and really love it. I’ve tried it, but to me it just doesn’t taste good, not how I think miso soup should taste.
I figured that there had to be something I could come up with and maybe I could create a recipe with chicken since I didn’t have any real connections to Japanese chicken dishes (as a kid, we never ate chicken because my dad was allergic). It wasn’t until many years later, on a trip to Japan with my mom, that I experienced karaage chicken.
Karaage Chicken is a Japanese style fried chicken, normally with chunks of leg meat. I call my variation of this traditional dish: Karaage Chicken Buffalo Style.
Karaage Chicken Buffalo Style
Traditional Japanese style fried chicken, done with Buffalo Hot Wing flavor.
• 1 lb chicken leg meat – boneless and skinless, 1-2″ pieces
• 3 T All Spice Cafe Cayenne Habanero Sauce (or Ghost Pepper Sauce)
• 1/2 C Potato Starch (ok to sub corn starch)
• cooking/frying oil – I use Sunflower because of higher smoke point
• extra All Spice gourmet hot sauce for dipping
I usually find the chicken butchered, boneless & skinless, in Japanese grocery markets and packaged as “chicken for karaage,” but if you cannot find it like that, you can use any boneless/skinless chicken and cut it up into chunks. Even with the karaage packages I get, I still find that I need to trim it a little and cut it into smaller chunks, about 1-2″.
Place the chicken pieces in a zip-bag and add the All Spice Sauce. Cayenne Habanero Sauce has a classic Buffalo Hot Wing flavor or for something with a little more fiery kick, I use Ghost Pepper Sauce, or a mixture of the two. Close the bag tightly with as little air inside as possible, then gently massage the bag to get the sauce worked into the chicken completely. Let it marinate chilled in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1/2 hour (I prefer 3 to 4 hours).
Prepare to deep fry the chicken. I do not often fry things, but when I do I use Sunflower Oil because of its higher smoke point. Also I don’t like stinking up my home with the fry smell, so I setup outside on the patio and use a portable butane cooktop like you might see in some Asian restaurants where they cook at your table (sukiyaki or shabu-shabu).
Heat the cooking oil in a heavy pot, keeping the oil level several inches from the top of the pot, so when adding the chicken it will not overflow.
Remove the chicken from the marinade bag, shaking off excess sauce while transferring into a medium size bowl. Slowly sprinkle the Potato Starch while tossing the chicken pieces to evenly and completely coat the chicken. Corn starch can be substituted if you do not have potato starch – doing a quick online search, the only difference I could find is that people are saying that the potato will give you a crispier result.
When the oil is ready – I check the oil temp by dropping in a tiny piece of batter coating and if it instantly starts to bubble and float, it is ready to fry – slowly ease the chicken into the frying pot piece by piece. Only add enough pieces to keep things manageable, if you need to fry in batches that’s ok. Remove the chicken pieces as they are done to a golden brown, placing them on paper towels or brown paper to soak up any excess oil.
Serve on a bed of steamed rice, along with a wedge or two of lemon to squeeze over the chicken for a traditional touch. Have small bowls of extra All Spice Hot Sauce on the side for dipping.
Enjoy the Buffalo-style Karaage Chicken!