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Tori no karaage (a.k.a. Japanese fried chicken) is crispy, juicy, and always keeps you coming back for more. The soy in the marinade gives bite-size pieces of chicken thigh a savory punch, while a dry sake (like this one) imparts tons of floral, nutty flavor. Meanwhile, equal parts all-purpose flour, rice flour, and cornstarch (or potato starch) ensure the crust is crunchy, while dry spices like mustard, garlic, onion, and curry powder make a dipping sauce superfluous. A squeeze of lemon juice, however, cuts through the richness and makes each bite that much more satisfying.

If you’re new to frying, keep a few rules in mind: When in doubt, reach for a bigger pot, and make sure to have ready a plate or tray lined with paper towels to land the chicken once it’s cooked. Even better, fit a wire rack onto a sheet pan and slide it into a warm oven (about 250°) to keep the karaage chicken hot and crispy while you fry the next batch. If you don’t have one, pick up an instant-read thermometer to test the oil temperature periodically while cooking; a spider also comes in handy for fishing this Japanese appetizer out of the fryer.

Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published April 11, 2010.

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4 to 6 Servings

cups sake


cup soy sauce (2 oz.)


Tbsp. thinly sliced scallion (dark green part only)

Tbsp. grated peeled fresh ginger (about .75 oz.)

lb. boneless chicken thighs with skin, cut into 1½” cubes


cup all-purpose flour (about 5 oz.)


cup cornstarch (about 5 oz.)


cup rice flour (about 5 oz.)


Tbsp. dry mustard


Tbsp. garlic powder


Tbsp. onion powder


Tbsp. kosher salt


tsp. curry powder

Vegetable oil (for frying)

Lemon wedges