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Japanese Fried Chicken (Tori No Karaage)

(recipe, Matthew Amster-Burton)

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The traditional accompaniment for this dish is lemon wedges. Feel free to skip making the sauce and serve the chicken just with lemon instead.


  1. 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 pound)
  2. 6 Tbsp. shaoxing rice wine or sake
  3. 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  4. 2 tsp. grated ginger
  5. 1 tsp. sesame oil
  6. Refined vegetable oil for deep-frying (such as peanut, canola, soybean, or safflower)
  7. 1 cup cornstarch
  8. 1 Tbsp. mirin
  9. Steamed rice and fresh lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Cut each chicken thigh into six pieces. (Cut it in half lengthwise, then cut each strip into thirds.) Put it in a bowl, stir in the rice wine, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil, and marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the oil to 325 degrees in a deep fryer. Strain the chicken, reserving the marinade. Roll the chicken pieces in the cornstarch, shaking off the excess. Working in two or three batches, fry the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes, until light golden brown, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Meanwhile, place the reserved marinade in a saucepan, add the mirin, and bring to a vigorous boil (there was raw chicken in there, after all). Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened and glossy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil to 360 degrees. Again working in batches, fry the chicken again until deep golden brown and crispy, about 1 minute. Drain and serve immediately with steamed rice, fresh lemon wedges, and the sauce.