It's been months since I've traveled to Tokyo, and I still think about the food there. When I was visiting the Inari Shrine in Kyoto, I was amazed at the endless amount of food stands. They offered everything from mochi to okonomiyaki to the best karaage I've ever had. The dark chicken was seasoned and perfectly fried. Every karaage dish in the United States comes with a dipping sauce but this chicken did not need extra sauce. Since I know I won't be able to replicate this appetizer, I decided to make my own spin on the classic karaage - a Thai spin. Thai chilies, fresh herbs, and Thai chili sauce come into the mix and make this Thai chicken karaage a little sweet, a little spicy but still moist and so flavorful!
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Karaage refers to the Japanese cooking technique in which the protein is marinated, coated in flour, and fried. I've taken that application and used it for this recipe, changing up the ingredients to make it a Thai chicken karaage.
The first step is to marinate the chicken thigh in the sugar, fish sauce, vinegar mixture. Let the chicken sit in the marinade for 1 hour to allow the flavors to soak in. The combination of sugar, water, vinegar, and fish sauce will add all the flavor to the chicken resulting in the most delicious karaage.
While the chicken is marinating, make the sauce. Going with the Thai theme, we are going to use Thai sweet chili as the base for the sauce. By adding sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, garlic, and Thai chile, we are adding elements of salty, sweet, and spicy to the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes or until slightly thickened.
Now it's time to cook the chicken. Following the traditional technique, coat the chicken in potato starch, shake off the excess, and fry. Unfortunately, because the chicken is coated in potato starch, it cannot be baked in the oven. You just wouldn't get that same crispy coating in the oven.
Coat the chicken in the sauce, top with fresh cilantro, and enjoy! I made my Thai chicken karaage the main star of the meal instead of just an appetizer, and boy was it delicious! Definitely a different type of karaage but still tasty nonetheless.
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