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!thai karaage chickenthai karaage chickenthai karaage chicken

Serves 4


Thai Chicken Karaage

4 hr, 20 Total Time

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  • 1 lb chicken thigh, skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Thai chili, finely chopped
  • Sauce
  • 1/2 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Thai chili, finely chopped
  • Remaining ingredients
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, leaves picked, for garnish


  1. Prepare the marinade for the chicken. Whisk together 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar until sugar dissolves. Add remaining ingredients (vinegar, fish sauce, garlic, chili). Add chicken and stir to coat. Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  2. Prepare sauce. Whisk together chili sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and chili until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil for frying to 350 degrees F.
  4. Remove chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Toss chicken in potato starch, making sure to evenly coat all sides. Shake off excess potato starch.
  5. Gently place some of the chicken pieces into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from oil and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  6. Pour half of the sauce on top of the chicken and toss to coat. Top with fresh cilantro and serve with remaining sauce on the side.

**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 at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to soak in; overnight is preferred.thai karaage chickenFollowing the traditional technique, coat the chicken in potato starch, shake off the excess, and fry.  Now coat the chicken in the sauce, top with fresh herbs 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.thai karaage chicken


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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