I really love Gojee, a very visual and ingredient-based collection of recipes from multiple blogs that I discovered through a foodie friend who tweeted about it, some months ago. Since then, I’ve been receiving their weekly top three newsletter, always mouthwatering and fun to look at.
Back in December, one recipe really caught my eye: chicken Karaage, from the Sasasunakku blog. Told with a lovely back story of time spent in Sapporo (Sasa, the blog’s author, demonstrates, in her posts, how memory and emotional associations are important in the world of taste and food), the recipe seemed like a fantastic take on fried chicken. So I put it at the top of recipes I wanted to try, and finally made it yesterday.
The word karaage basically points to a cooking technique where the food is first marinated in soy sauce, garlic and ginger before being lightly coated in flour or corn starch and then deep fried. The fact that the coating is limited to corn starch (or flour) only has the advantage, from looking at how little oil was missing from the deep fryer after cooking, of adding remarkably little fat to the dish, which becomes crispy outside and moist and tasty inside. (One tiny warning: do be careful about the cooking time. The thicker pieces, in the first batch I made, were not cooked to the center, when they had taken on a nice golden color, so I put them back in and cooked next batches to a more golden-brown color.)
The chicken was fantastic in every way, and the whole family ate a little beyond their appetite – oh, just another piece, because it’s so good. Because of the substantial amounts of ginger in the marinade, the Karaage succeeds in being at once luscious and fresh, a rare and delightful combination.
Another advantage of the tasty marinade is that you don’t really need to dip the chicken into anything. We tried a little tempura sauce, which was nice but really unnecessary. Kewpie mayonnaise was a better contrast, but again, it was just so good by itself…
We served the chicken Karaage with a side of sautéed vegetables (sweet red peppers, onions, mushrooms and snow peas with a bit of ginger, pepper and garlic). I’m guessing an arugula salad with a very light vinaigrette (perhaps with a dash of soy sauce, to tie the flavors of the salad and the chicken) would also be a good and light accompaniment.