Mom’s Home Cooked 唐揚げ (Karaage): Japanese Fried Chicken

Japanese Fried Chicken (karaage) is one of the nation’s most celebrated dishes, found in restaurants, markets, and convenience stores all over the country. The dish is so important that there’s even a dedicated karaage association that issues standards and ratings for it!

Karaage fanatics will say that this is the best fried chicken in the world, and their love for the dish most likely started right at home, prepared by mom. Below, we’ll dive into why this crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside, bite-sized fried chicken is the ultimate comfort food and how to prepare this dish right in your own kitchen.

Karaage’s History

Karaage (pronounced kara-ah-gay) historically refers to any dish that is coated in potato starch and deep-fried without seasoning. Because karaage refers to the method of preparing a fried dish, it can also refer to fried fish and vegetables. However, it is most commonly made with chicken- specifically boneless chicken thighs.

The word “karaage” translates to “Chinese Fried,” so it is believed this method was learned from the Chinese around 300 years ago and then adapted to Japanese cuisine. However, the dish really took off when it was popularized in the 1920s after WWII, when chicken was scarce.

Tatsutaage is a very similar dish that is used interchangeably with Karaage. Technically, what we know as Japanese fried chicken is in fact Tatsutaage. Why? Karaage refers to food only coated in starch and fried, while Tatsutaage refers to food being marinated, coated in starch, and fried. While all Karaage is Tatsutaage, not all Tatsutaage is Karaage. Tatsutaage is strictly meant to be made with soy sauce, while Karaage can be made with a variety of ingredients.

Tips and Tricks

Karaage is uniquely Japanese because it is marinated in soy sauce, sake and ginger. After the sauce sets, the chicken is coated with potato starch and fried until golden brown and crispy. To make the most flavorful karaage at home, traditionally or with your own twist, follow the tips and tricks below:

Chicken

  • Use fresh chicken over frozen
  • Keep the chicken skin on for a more crunchy texture
  • Cut the chicken into smaller pieces for crispier chicken, slightly larger for juicier chicken
  • Poke holes in the chicken with a fork for extra crispiness

Marinade

  • Marinate for at least 20 minutes
  • Add garlic for extra flavor and kick
  • No Recipes likes to marinate in salt brine, curry powder, chili powder, or even fish sauce
  • Just One Cookbook also suggests marinating in sesame oil, mirin, oyster sauce, egg yolk, or Japanese mayonnaise

Coating

  • For the starch, some will use a 50:50 ratio of potato starch and rice flour, but The Chopstick Chronicles swears that 100% potato starch results in a crispier chicken
  • You can also use flour or corn starch
  • For convenience, you can also use ready-made fry mixes sold at your local market

Frying

  • You can fry in an electric deep fryer or a pan
  • Fry twice for extra crispiness, fry once for extra juiciness. If frying twice, fry the first time at a lower temperature and then fry at a higher temperature the second time to lock in crispiness
  • Expert fryers will be able to know when the chicken is ready by looking at the bubble sizes, but it is recommended to use a thermometer to read the heat to know when it is ready (160 °F internal temp)

Enjoy

  • Enjoy with a generous squeeze of lemon and a side salad or rice if you’re preparing a bento box
  • A popular dipping sauce is Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise
  • An extra perk is that it is delicious served hot and cold

From the Zojirushi Kitchen: Are you ready to make your own karaage? Here is our recipe with our Zojirushi twist. We add dark sesame oil and suggest you marinate the chicken in a plastic bag to lock in all of the flavor.

Want to learn about another karaage variation? Last year, in our B-kyu Gurume series, we explored Tebasaki Karaage from Nagoya. Take a look at that piece on our blog to learn more about a different variation on this fan-favorite dish – that’s more like a Japanese style of chicken wings instead of fried chicken.

How did your karaage come out? Do you have any special recipes or tips to share with us? Let us know on social media by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

 

Product of the Month –
Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer (NL-BAC05)

Hello and happy February Zojirushi fans!  We are so excited to announce that our Product of the Month is the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer (NL-BAC05)!

Why?  Because it is such an all-around versatile rice cooker!

This rice cooker and warmer works best for individuals, as well as small families because of its compact cooking capacity.  It can make as little as a half cup of uncooked rice or other grains, which is great for an individual serving, and as much as three cups for multiple portions.  The Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer ensures perfectly cooked rice and grains every time.  How?  It comes with a rice measuring cup and an inner cooking pan with water level markings which make it easy to measure out the correct amount of ingredients.  Long gone are the days of inconsistent measuring and guessing; we made is simple, so you can have the best meal.

This rice cooker and warmer is also intelligently designed.  It comes with a black, nonstick inner cooking pan that is 2.5 mm thick, allowing for even heat distribution for better cooking.

It also features a triple heater with extra-large heating elements that heats the food from the bottom, side, and top.  In order to prevent messy overflows during high temperature cooking, the rice cooker also includes a removable Steam Vent Cap.  Lastly, another notable feature is its removable Inner Lid to aid in cooking an an easy-to-use LCD Control Panel from which you can program the rice cooker and warmer.

With all these useful features, its no wonder that this rice cooker and warmer is able to prepare more than just rice.  As we mentioned previously, this rice cooker has dedicated menu settings for rice and other grains.  When cooking rice, the settings for White/Sushi, Quick, Brown, and Long Grain White allows you to cook short, medium, and long-grain white rice, short and medium brown rice, as well as white rice with the germ, germinated brown rice and semi-brown rice.  The menu settings for Quinoa and Steel Cut Oatmeal lets you prepare white, black and red quinoa, steel cut oats, as well as rice mixed with barley.  And the rice cooker’s microcomputer uses advanced fuzzy logic technology to ensure perfect results every time by making fine adjustments to cooking time and temperature.

We love how our Quinoa and Chicken Super Salad (pictured below) and Thai Oatmeal Salad with Eggplant turn out in this rice cooker, along with how the long-grain white rice for Jambalaya is made.  Check out other recipes on our website for more inspiration!

Oh, and did we mention that it makes cake?!  The “Cake” menu setting lets you make various types of cakes such as sponge-type cakes and cheesecakes, by pouring in the prepared batter, selecting the “Cake” menu setting, and programming in the cooking time.  How simple is that?

Cooking is just one of the rice cooker’s function.  This rice cooker can automatically keep cooked food warm with the “Keep Warm” setting and can do that for an extended period of time with the “Extended Keep Warm” setting, which maintains a low temperature so the food doesn’t dry out.  The Timer function lets you set when you’d like cooked rice, quinoa, or steel cut oats to be finished cooking.  Two timers can be preset, which is great if you know you will need rice ready for dinner or oats ready for breakfast.  And you’ll know when your food is ready because the rice cooker’s melody or beep will play.

As with our other products, the retractable power cord and sturdy handle makes this machine simple to store, and all surfaces that come in contact with food are BPA-free.  Accessories include a spatula and a measuring cup.

We hope you love this awesome rice cooker and warmer as much as we do.  Make sure to share all your delicious recipes with us and don’t forget to tag your photos with #ZOJIRUSHI on Instagram!

Product of the Month –
Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10)

Happy New Year, Zojirushi fans!  We hope that this new decade helps bring you success and happiness!

What are some of your goals for 2020?

We are excited to start this year by introducing you to one of our favorite products and our Product of the Month– the Gourmet d’Expert®  Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10)!

This Electric Skillet is not like any other– this versatile product is packed with so many ingenious features that we’re sure you’ll love.

Let’s start with the basics– how it works.  This skillet is composed of a main body with heating surface, a cooking pan, a lid and a power cord.  Once out of the box, you just simply wash the cooking pan and lid before the first use, place the cooking pan in the main body, attach the removable power cord and you’re ready…how simple is that?!

The cooking pan is 2 1/4 inches deep with a diameter of 10 1/2 inches, and it features a titanium and ceramic nonstick coating.  The size of the cooking pan, as well as the nonstick coating makes it ideal for sauteing ingredients, braising vegetables, simmering stews, cooking risottos, grilling meat or gyoza, and even for making fondue and pasta!  It’s the perfect addition for family nights and for impressing your guests at any potluck event.

Once the cooking pan is set in the main body, which houses the heating element, dishes can be prepared on various temperatures, ranging from 280°F to 430°F.  The skillet can also be set to Keep Warm.  This Electric Skillet can also be used on a gas stovetop burner to help precook ingredients for stews or other dishes simmered in liquids.

Along with the cooking pan, the tempered glass lid is a cook’s best friend.  Not only does this lid let you safely monitor cooking, and of course, prevent splatters, but it helps foods and liquids cook faster.

And that is how this great skillet works!  Even better, this skillet is built with safety in mind, just like our other products.  First, the power cord easily detaches in case it’s accidentally tugged.  Second, the handles on the cooking pan stay cool, preventing burns when transferring the pan.

And of course, each component of the skillet is easy to maintain.  Simply wipe the main body and heating element with a damp cloth, wash the pan and lid with warm water and mild dish detergent and let everything dry thoroughly.

Ok, now that we’re done talking about the awesome features, we really need to get to the food!

WHAT. DOES. THIS. SKILLET. COOK?

Well, we love the traditional Japanese dishes that we make in this skillet.  Everything from Japanese-Style Teriyaki Chicken and Chanko-Nabe to Sukiyaki and Salmon Kobumaki Kelp Rolls, served during the New Year festivities!  We also love the Western savories that cook up beautifully in this skillet, like like Fava Bean Risotto and Chicken Breast Cacciatore.  But we really go for the unexpected dishes that we make in this skillet like Chocolate Crème Brulee and Thick Style Matcha Hotcakes

Chocolate Creme Brulee

Chocolate Crème Brulee

You’ve got to try all of the recipes on our website (and don’t forget to tag your photos with #zojirushi on Instagram)!

Don’t forget to follow us on our blog and Instagram to keep up on all of our delicious Japanese and Western recipes and how to cook them with all of our amazing products!

 

Foreign Foods in Japan – Baumkuchen!

We’re ending our year of Foreign Foods in Japan on a sweet note, with a luscious cake that spans the globe: baumkuchen!

Known as “The King of Cakes”, baumkuchen is most notably a German cake. Variations are claimed by other European nations as far back as Ancient Roman times, but the true delicacy of this spit-roasted cake was perfected in Germany. A baumkuchen cake is made with simple ingredients, like flour, butter, eggs and sugar. The beauty of this cake is that it is painstakingly made, with layers upon layers of sweet sponge cake batter roasted on a rotisserie-style spit, each layer cooked until golden and delicious.

Traditional baumkuchen were made over charcoal or open flames. The base layer was coated on the spit, cooked all the way through and then coated with another layer, which in turn was cooked over the heat. The process was repeated up to 20 times, resulting in golden lines between each layer of cake. The overall effect was similar to the growth rings found in tree trunks, hence the name baumkuchen, which literally translates to “tree cake”. This tree cake, inspired by German forests and open-flamed cooking methods, was transplanted to Japan!

Baumkuchen was first introduced in Japan during World War I. The Japanese Army captured a German expat named Karl Juchheim, who owned a pastry shop while living in Tsingtao, China, during the war. He was interred along with other Germans in Ninoshima Island of Hiroshima Prefecture. In 1919, an exhibition of commercial goods made by the prisoners of the camp was hosted by the Japanese, and Juchheim created his famous baumkuchen cake in a show of German pride for the exhibition. Needless to say, the cake was a smashing hit! Following the end of the war, Juchheim stayed in Japan and opened his eponymous shop. Known as a Master Baker or “Meister”, Juchheim offered the cake to an avid Japanese market.

Today, baumkuchen is prized all over the world. The cake is made in specialized ovens instead of over an open flame and found in specialty bakeries in Japan. The ovens are so prized that the first one was only recently sold in the United States!

In Japan, baumkuchen is a popular return gift at weddings, not only because of its lovely ring shape – which symbolizes love and adoration – but also because of its intricacy and fancy preparation. The ring pattern and light sweetness of the cake make it a perennial favorite, and we hope that the same sweetness and light follow you into 2020! Happy New Year!

Product Inspirations –
Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus Breadmaker (BB-PDC20)

It is the perfect season for baking, and we’d like to share our flagship breadmaker, the Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus Breadmaker (BB-PDC20) with you this month.

2-lb automatic breadmaker bakes a horizontal loaf

The Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus has a smart mix of the best features traditionally found in our breadmakers along with new, healthy menu settings. It makes traditional, rectangular, 2-lb loaves and also has settings to mix dough, create sourdough starter and make cakes and jam. It features 14 pre-programmed course settings along with a Homemade setting that allows you to store up to three custom settings.

Easy-to-read key code on lid for course selection

The course settings work by altering the time the breadmaker kneads the ingredients, allows them to rise, and bakes them to the desired crust. Each course setting sets a different time for each function based on the type of bread to be made, ranging from classic White, Wheat and European breads to health-conscious options like Gluten Free, Salt Free and Vegan breads. A rapid course setting allows you to bake a loaf of White or Whole Wheat bread in just two hours and 25 minutes!

Easy-to-use control panel

Along with the pre-programmed course settings, the Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus comes with a special Homemade course, which allows you to input up to three of your own custom recipes and store your own knead, rise, and bake times.

Cakes, jam and sourdough starter is just as easy to make as bread and dough. Simply add in the ingredients, select the appropriate course setting and let the breadmaker work. Detailed instructions can be found in the easy-to-read instruction manual that comes with the machine.

The easy-to-use LCD control panel and convenient key-code make it easy to choose the course setting, select the crust color – from light to dark – and set the optional 13-hour delay timer. Our website features seven videos with how-to tutorials for using the breadmaker to its fullest. Learn about How to Measure Ingredients, How to Make Bread, How to Set the Clock and Timer and How to Clean and Store among other great tips.

Homemade loaf of bread

In order to make these delicious foods, the Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus utilizes heating elements in the lid and bottom of the machine, promoting even baking and browning. It has dual kneading blades that rest inside the baking pan and do a great job of mixing all of the ingredients. The baking pan is removable and nonstick coated which makes it easy to remove your delicious creations from the pan.

Both the pan and blades are easy to clean, and all surfaces that come into contact with food are BPA-free. Accessories include a full-color recipe booklet with 50 delicious recipes, nested measuring cups for dry ingredients, a liquid measuring cup and a measuring spoon.

Baking pan with dual kneading blades

All of these smart features are nothing compared to the food the Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus makes! You can find many recipes on our website in the Breadmakers section but we wanted to share our favorites from the recipe booklet. The Multigrain Raisin Bread is to die for, as is the Italian Herb Bread. We love the Breadsticks and the traditional Pizza Dough. And no one can go wrong with Pound Cake! The truly amazing surprises are our suggestions for the Homemade course. You have to try the Meatloaf Miracle and the Tomato Pasta. And when you do, be sure to come back to our website or our Instagram page and share your creation with us!

Happy Holidays and good baking to you all! See you in 2020!