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Chicken Karaage (Sesame Fried Chicken) Recipe

Chicken Karaage (Sesame Fried Chicken)
Chicken Karaage (Sesame Fried Chicken) pictures (4 of 7)

Near the Sensoji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo, where many street vendors set up stalls to sell various snacks and street food, chicken karaage (唐揚げ) is one of the popular offerings. A quick walk around and you can find many vendors with a big wok/pot of boiling oil, deep-frying their chicken karaage to golden perfection. I had my first real taste of chicken karaage when I first visited Tokyo many years ago and it has since become my favorite. I always order it at Japanese restaurants or izakaya here in the United States–which is commonly labeled as “sesame fried chicken.”

Inspired by my recent trip to Tokyo, I made this delicious and crunchy chicken karaage the other day. According to Just Hungry, the word kara means “Chinese” (唐) and “age” means “deep-fried.” The cooking method is fundamentally Chinese but as Just Hungry pointed out, I can’t think of a Chinese fried chicken dish with the exact recipe! The closest variation would be the popular Taiwanese fried salt and pepper chicken or 盐酥鸡.

Chicken Karaage (Sesame Fried Chicken)

Chicken karaage calls for really simple ingredients but the end result is pleasing. I love it that the flavors are very clean–which is a signature style of Japanese cooking. In no time, I finished my one bowl of chicken karaage and had to fry up a second serving to satisfy my hunger and craving.

Chicken karaage/sesame fried chicken is also a simple meal to prepare and takes less than 30 minutes (I marinated the chicken for only 10 minutes!). You can also add a little sesame oil to the chicken and I guess that’s the reason why this dish is also referred to as sesame fried chicken in the United States. I ate my chicken karaage without any dipping sauce, but it’s commonly served with a slice of lemon and/or mayonnaise.

So here you have it, my take on Japanese chicken karaage or sesame fried chicken. Do try the recipe and let me know what you think. If you love Japanese food, you might want to check out my Japanese recipes, for example: miso ramen, steamed clams with sake, tofu salad, grilled cod with miso, and more!

Do try my chicken karaage (sesame fried chicken) recipe. If you have any questions about the recipe, please drop me a comment.

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48 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. GiGi

    this is something i never try b4, sake in marinated chicken, ok will try for sure..but one question, why need to deep fry the chicken 2 times? any specific rational behind? if i only fry once, it wouldnt be as crispy as frying it twice? i try the taiwanese 盐酥鸡, i only deep fried once too.

  2. Aaron Fong

    Look Yummy!!..Shall try to cook this over the weekend..Had something similar to this in some taiwanese eatery in Melbourne. Yeah its called Salt n Pepa chicken.

  3. Mrs Ergül

    Hmmmmmmmm this is my favourite to order in Japanese restaurants too! Thanks for the recipe!

    Would you be posting a recipe for Chawanmushi anytime soon? I have been craving for that!

  4. cheesypizzazz

    I love chicken karaage/sesame fried chicken. I checked out your recipe and it seems really easy to prepare these chicken karaage at home…sweet. I will give your recipe a try. Thank you.

  5. mycookinghut

    I love this too! I used to have this at a Japanese restuarant in Perth called Samurai. Not sure if it’s still there.

  6. limpepsi

    Looks yummy!
    My Japanese friend advised me to use potato starch. It gives better and crispy crunchiness after deep-frying in the oil.


  7. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I remember the wonderful street markets around Asakusa — a jumble of food stalls and electronics! We went there on our very first day of our very first trip to Tokyo — what an introduction to the city and food culture.

  8. Rasa Malaysia

    All – thanks for your comments, please keep them coming.

    Mrs. Engui – yes, I will be making chawanmushi today. :)

    Limpepsi – thanks for your tip, I will use potato starch next time. :)

  9. Anonymous

    Sesame fried chicken, I love this so much. I didn’t know that there is no sesame in the cooking process. LOL, but it tastes very good and juicy. Thank you for your recipe!

  10. allenooi

    i like fried chicken very much. the best is the boneless fried chicken. this one is almost the same as the one sell in KFC. i also can eat the whole bowl within minutes. :)

  11. Kevin

    My Japanese friend had a perfect chicken karaage recipe. She used to make it for me. I love chicken karaage because the chicken pieces are always juicy, sealed in the corn starch coating, and the ginger, sake, and soy flavors are just great.

  12. Katia

    I love chicken karaage, but what I found brings out more flavor is to use a tbsp of ground ginger alond with the cornflour to coat the chicken, it gives it an extra punch.

  13. Bell

    I fry up a batch of Kaarage from time to time. Love the stuff! Incidentally my recipe also comes from Just Hungry. I never added sesame oil but I do throw in chopped spring onions. Never thought to double fry them though it makes total sense! I’ll try to do that next time! Thanks for that tip!

  14. Moshi

    I love karaage and am surprised to see that the recipe is so simple! What kind of oil would be best for frying these mouth-watering nibbles?

  15. Nasyrah

    Hi! I would like to ask if I could substitute the sake for something else? This is because I don’t take alcohol.

    • Maria, 13 yrs

      When you are cooking, most if not all, of the sake evaporates. Alcohol evaporates at 60 degrees Celsius, remember, while water does at 100 degrees celsius.
      So you have nothing to worry about. By the time it is finished cooking, the alcohol has evaporated.

  16. Lilacz

    I have difficulty extracting ginger juice. Do you think its possible to replace ginger juice with ginger powder?

  17. LOVED this recipe, Rasa. My friends and I have always been ordering this kind of thing at the boba houses dotting Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    I do have the problem of making the chicken a little too dry and a little too salty, though. Next time I’ll trim less fat off and shorten the 1st and 2nd fry times by a few seconds.

    Those were my mistakes, though–Everything you jotted down was absolutely a pleasure to make and eat.

    I do have a suggestion for an alternative to mayonnaise and it’s a pepper dust the guys down south use after the second fry while the pieces are still warm:

    3 tbs Cayenne
    2 tbs white pepper
    1 tbs black pepper
    1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp salt

    lemon wedges to cut the pepper taste

    Again, thank you–trying this recipe again soon.

  18. rik

    cant wait to do this!

    never thought of using corn starch instead of flour for the coating – ill bet itll be crispy without being heavy or oily.

    as far as the ginger juice, would a coffee or spice grinder help? or a food processor and then a strainer? even you have to use extra ginger to make the required amount, im sure itd be worth it.

    i currently have a bottle of sweet soy rather than “regular” soy. do you think it would add to or detract from this dish if i used it?


  19. Paulina

    Hello,from over a year im checking Your blog and trying recipies and i love it,i got Your book as well,but i was wondering which of Your recipies i can use for food to take to work,i have 24h shifts so i need somthing what i can reheat.I was wondering if that chicken is good for this or to eat it cold?

  20. I learn this recipe when I was the cook in the japanese restaurant.

    Add in sake, ginger juice, soy sauce, sesame oil (optional), kiwi juice, garlic (fresh), white pepper, and also add 1 egg.


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