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Moist and Crispy Chicken Karaage

I was so excited when a request was made for a dish! Then I realized it was for chicken karaage and then I immediately thought how is this ever going to work. My biggest complaints about the dish were always…

  1. dry
  2. soggy (Yes, a dish that is both dry and soggy…)
  3. greasy
  4. all of the above

By breaking away from standard methods of preparing the dish, I am happy to say that you can make a moist and crispy chicken karaage without being greasy! It does take a bit of planning, but I think it is well worth it for some amazing results!

List of Ingredients

  • 1-1 ½ lbs. Boneless chicken thigh, skin-on
  • 5 Tbs. Soy sauce or tamari sauce and enough water to fill up to 1 C liquid
  • ½ Lemon, sliced
  • ½ Cup ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Clove garlic, smashed
  • 3 Tbs. (heaping) Rice flour (not glutinous rice flour) for batter plus more if necessary, avoid using Bob’s Red Mill as it will seem gritty. The rice flour can be purchased from any Asian market.
    Rice Flour
    Rice Flour
  • Milk or non-dairy substitute to form batter (I like using oat milk.)
  • Cornstarch (or potato starch) for coating chicken
  • Oil for frying, enough for about 1 inch deep (I use refined not virgin coconut oil. It’s my favorite oil for deep frying.)

List of Tools

  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons and/or measuring glass
  • ½ Cup measuring cup
  • Small mixing bowl or I use a 4 cup measuring cup for making the brine
  • Chopsticks and spoon
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Paring knife or spoon for peeling ginger
  • Glass container with lid or gallon sized Ziploc
  • Small bowl for batter
  • Small bowl for cornstarch
  • Two large plates – one lined with paper towels for the draining chicken, one for the battered chicken
  • Heavy gauge pot (I use a 3 quart pot to use less oil.)
  • Cooking chopsticks or tongs
  • Cooling rack and paper towels and baking sheet for the fried chicken
  • Serving plate

Directions

Prepare the chicken thigh

Cut boneless chicken thigh with skin-on into 1” by 1” pieces. Cut the pieces into similar sizes to cook evenly and relatively small to cook thoroughly. Typically, it is easier to find bone-in chicken thigh which will need to be deboned. When finished cutting the chicken into pieces, place in a lidded container or a gallon sized Ziploc. Set aside.

Prepare the brine for the chicken

Add 5 Tbs of soy sauce or tamari sauce to a 4 cup measuring cup. Now, add enough cold water to the measuring cup for 1 cup of liquid. Slice ½ a lemon thinly. Squeeze the slices over the measuring cup and then add into the brine. Add 1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced ginger. Add 1 peeled and smashed garlic clove and 1/4 Tsp maple syrup or similar sweetener. Give the brine a good stir and check the flavors for a good balance. Set aside.

Add chicken to brine

Pour brine into the container with the chicken. Mix thoroughly and cover. Let sit in the refrigerator 4-5 hours or even longer.

For the last 30-60 minutes, pull out the container from the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature. (This will make for crispier chicken when fried.)

Using a large plate lined with paper towels, pull the chicken out of the brine and let drain on the plate.  Lightly pat the chicken on top to soak up additional brine.

Coat the chicken

Traditional karaage does not use a batter (and doesn’t brine either) but it is worth the extra step. Make a rice flour batter with a non-dairy substitute or milk. (Consistency should be similar to pancake batter.) Dip the now dry pieces of chicken inside the batter and dredge with cornstarch. Set aside the pieces on a different large plate. (Grab another plate if you run out of room for all the battered chicken. Do not stack or overcrowd.)

Fry the battered chicken

Heat the oil in the pot (enough for about 1 inch deep) on medium high. The oil is ready when it bubbles quickly when a small piece of chicken is added.  (The piece of chicken should also float quickly to the surface.) Once heated, begin adding the chicken to the oil, do not overcrowd. Let fry untouched to set the batter then check that no pieces are stuck to the bottom. Be good about agitating the pieces so that they cook evenly. The chicken is cooked when the outside is golden and has browned evenly. Place the cooked pieces on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and a cooling rack on top. Continue until all of the chicken is cooked. Serve with some freshly squeezed lemon juice!

Enjoy!


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Creamy Japanese Sesame Seed Salad Dressing

Make this creamy Japanese Sesame Seed dressing for an impressive salad to start any number of meals from what we make on this blog.  By replacing the mayonnaise with Vegenaise®, it can also be made vegan! It’s simple to make but packs lots of flavor! 

Ingredients

  • *⅓ Cup Roasted white sesame seeds, ground
  • ¼ Cup Rice vinegar (Mizkan preferred)
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Neutral oil, like avocado oil
  • 1 ½ Tsp Soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • ~1-2 Tbs Grated yellow or white onion (to taste)
  • ⅛ Cup Mayonnaise (optional) or I like to use Vegenaise®.
  • Salt and pepper, sprinkle to taste

*Grinding sesame seeds can be done in a number of ways. There are handheld sesame grinders, a suribachi (Japanese grinding bowl) and surikogi (Japanese wood pestle) or placing the sesame in a Ziploc bag and rolling with a rolling pin. (Be sure to press out the air from the Ziploc and seal securely before rolling!)

White Sesame Seeds and Grinder
White Sesame Seeds and Handheld Grinder

Ziploc and Rolling Pin
Ziploc and Rolling Pin for grinding sesame seeds

List of Tools

  • Small mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Measuring cup or measuring glass
  • ⅓ Cup Measuring cup
  • ½ Tbs Measuring spoon which is also 1 ½ Tsp.
  • ⅛ Cup Measuring cup
  • Spatula
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Fine grater
  • Sesame grinder (or a Ziploc bag and rolling pin will also work)
  • Container for storing
  • Serving bowl for the salad

Directions

Crush or grind the sesame seeds

Using any above methods, crush or grind ⅓ cup roasted sesame seeds and place in a small mixing bowl.

Add remaining ingredients to bowl

Now add the vinegar, sugar, oil, soy sauce/tamari sauce to the bowl and stir thoroughly.

Grate yellow or white onion

Peel and finely grate 1-2 Tbs yellow or white onion. It is always best to start conservatively and add more to taste. The onion can quickly overpower the flavor if not careful.

Add the grated onion and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the amount of onion.

For a creamier dressing, add ⅛ cup mayonnaise. (optional)

Storage

Store in a glass container to avoid the grated onion from ruining any plastic containers. Then place the dressing in the refrigerator for later use. Be sure to mix again prior to using!

Enjoy!


Don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Jalapeño Scrambled Eggs — Asian-Style

A twist on scrambled eggs that you are guaranteed to enjoy made with Asian-style pickled jalapeños! You will always find a jar of these jalapeños in my refrigerator! No pickling experience required and no special equipment or ingredients! And don’t be concerned about the heat because deveining and deseeding will keep the flavor without the heat. I am positive these jalapeños will also become a staple for you too for using with eggs or in other dishes! Hope you will try it out! 🙂

List of Ingredients for Jalapeños

(Enough for 1 pint jar)

  • ¼ C Water
  • 6 Tbs Soy sauce or tamari sauce

  • 6 Tbs White vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Sugar
  • 4-5 Medium jalapeños – Try to purchase relatively straight jalapeños because it makes it easier deseeding and deveining.

List of Ingredients for the Jalapeño Scramble

  • 6 Eggs
  • ~⅓ C Pickled jalapeños, chopped – add more or less to taste
  • Oil or butter for frying
  • Soy sauce or tabasco sauce optional for serving!

List of Tools for Pickled Jalapeños

  • 1 glass pint jar with tight fitting lid
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Paring knife
  • Food grade gloves or plastic bag
  • Measuring cup
  • Chopsticks or a spoon to mix the sauce (I use a long handle iced tea spoon.)
  • 1 Tbs measuring spoon (a measuring glass is helpful but optional)

  • Small pot for heating the sauce

List of Tools for the Scramble

  • Measuring cup or small bowl for the eggs
  • Fork or chopsticks to mix the eggs and for the jalapeños
  • Cutting board and knife for the jalapeños
  • ⅓ cup measuring cup
  • Fry pan
  • Spatula and resting plate
  • Serving plate

Directions

Prepare the Jalapeños

Rinse then deseed and devein the jalapeños. Deseeding and deveining can be done in a number of ways, and it is usually suggested to use food safe gloves. My favorite technique is to cut off the stem and core the center because gloves are not needed if done carefully.

Use a paring knife to cut off the top and carefully cut around the core, and pop it out. Continue to cut out any remaining membrane and seeds being careful not to touch any interior part of the jalapeño. (Any oil on the fingers can cause burning especially if the eye is touched! And trust me, you really don’t want this!) Once the jalapeños are deseeded and deveined, slice carefully, making rings. Now, using a plastic food bag like a glove, place the sliced jalapeños in a pint jar that has a tight fitting lid.

Prepare the Brine and finish pickling

To make the brine, add the water, soy sauce, white vinegar, and sugar to a small pot. Bring the pot to a simmer to blend the flavors and dissolve the sugar. Pour to cover the jalapeños in the jar. Push down any jalapeños with a spoon to ensure everything is covered by the pickling brine. Tighten the lid on the jar and leave out on the counter for the remainder of the day. Place in the refrigerator at night. Leave for a minimum of 3 days before using. These will keep for weeks in the back of the refrigerator.

Prepare the Scrambled Eggs

Crack 6 eggs into a bowl or measuring glass. (I like to remove the chalaza which is the white cord/band that keeps the yolk in the center of the egg. I do this only as a preference for texture.) Now, lightly beat the eggs with a fork or chopsticks. Chop enough jalapeños for about ⅓ cup but chop more or less to taste. Add the jalapeños to lightly beaten eggs and continue to whisk together.
Heat oil or butter in a medium sized frying pan and cook the egg mixture until desired doneness.

Enjoy your Asian inspired scrambled eggs with a bowl of rice! (Try drizzling with soy sauce! Yum!)


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Also, don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Ginger Tofu with Green Onions

Inspired by my cousin, this savory vegan-friendly ginger tofu dish is simple and satisfying. The sauce is only three ingredients but it can be made even easier with store bought sauce. Every bite feels like a step towards better health inside and out!

List of Ingredients for Ginger Tofu

(3-4 servings)

    • 1 Block firm tofu, cut into ½  inch cubes
    • ~½ Cup Green onions, chopped
    • ~1 inch Fresh ginger, peeled and grated

List of Ingredients for Sauce¹ 

(One full recipe is used for one block of tofu; there should be no leftover sauce.)

  • 2 Tbs Rice vinegar (Mizkan if possible)

  • 2 Tbs Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ C Soy sauce or tamari sauce

¹ You can substitute store bought ponzu sauce and add to taste. Not all ponzu is created the same, so be sure to check ingredients if you prefer vegan-friendly.

List of Tools

  • Small mixing bowl
  • Spoon, a large flat surface area preferred
  • Measuring cup
  • Chopsticks or a spoon to mix the sauce
  • Measuring spoons (measuring glass is helpful but optional)

  • ½ C measuring cup
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Fine microplane or grater — grating ginger into the dressing

Directions

Cube Tofu

Cut tofu into ~½ inch cubes and place into a medium mixing bowl.  Let any water drain out of the tofu into the bowl while preparing other ingredients. (See the video for technique on cutting the tofu).

Mix ingredients for the sauce

Stir the rice vinegar, lemon juice, and soy sauce (or tamari sauce) together and set aside.

Chop green onions

Clean and chop ~½ cupe green onions and set aside.

Prepare ginger

Remove the skin from the ginger by using the edge of a spoon or a paring knife. Peel only as much as needed, if possible. When finished with the ginger, place it in a sealed bag with air removed and put it in the refrigerator crisper. Or for longer storage, put the ginger in the freezer for another time.

bring the dish together

Remove any water that has drained from the tofu into the mixing bowl. Pour the sauce into the bowl. Add the chopped green onions. Grate the ginger into the bowl. Mix the ingredients very carefully to avoid breaking the cubes of tofu. Add enough ginger according to taste. (My gauge for the amount of ginger is watching for the color of the sauce to lighten.  My family likes a strong ginger flavor.)

That’s it! Enjoy with some rice!


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Also, don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Agedashi Tofu at Home

Just in time for the colder months, agedashi tofu is lightly fried and served with a warm sauce. While this is a popular dish at restaurants, I think it is tastier when made at home. Hope this will become a favorite dish in your household too!

List of Ingredients for Agedashi Tofu

(3-4 servings)

  • 1 Block firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • ~1-2 Stems of green onions, chopped
  • 1 small packet (2.5 grams) of bonito flakes (dried fish flakes) or katsuobushi in Japanese

  • Potato starch or cornstarch for dusting tofu cubes
  • Oil for frying, enough for about ½ inch deep

List of Ingredients for Agedashi Tofu Sauce

(One full recipe is used for one block of tofu there should be no leftover sauce.)

  • ½ C Water
  • ¼ C Sake
  • ¼ C Soy sauce or tamari sauce

  • ⅛ Tsp Powdered katsuo dashi

  • 1 Tbs Sugar

List of Tools

  • Measuring cup for the sauce
  • Something to mix the sauce, chopsticks or spoon
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cutting board and knife
  • 2 large plates, flat bottom preferred
  • Paper towels
  • Weight to put on top of a plate — I use 2-3 Pyrex containers.

    The weight 2-3 pyrex containers can help press out the water
    The weight of 2-3 pyrex containers can help press out the water
  • Small bowl
  • Soup spoon for starch
  • Large plate when dusting the tofu with starch
  • Cooking chopsticks or tongs
  • Baking sheet lined with paper towels and a cooling rack that fits inside or on top, to help drain oil from the tofu and keep it crisp
  • Heavy gauge pot for frying, I am using a 3 quart pot to us less oil
  • Ladle and resting plate for the sauce
  • Small pot to heat the sauce
  • Serve individually in small bowls or serve in a larger shallow bowl

Prepare the tofu and green onions

Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes. To remove water, press the tofu by lining a large plate with several paper towels. Next, place the tofu on top of the paper towels both neatly and close together in one layer. Place several more paper towels on top of the tofu and put a plate on top. (Like a sandwich!) Now add some weight to help press the water out. (I use 2-3 Pyrex containers.) Leave for about 20-30 minutes.

Clean and chop the green onions and set aside.

Prepare the sauce

Add the water, sake, soy sauce, dashi, and sugar to a small pot. Bring to a simmer then cover and set aside.

Fry the tofu

After 20-30 minutes, remove the top plate and top layer of paper towels. Put 2-3 spoonfuls of starch in a small bowl, take a cube of tofu and coat each side. Set aside on a clean dry plate. (Be sure the pieces do not touch to avoid sticking to each other.) Repeat with the remaining tofu.

Once all the tofu is coated, fill a heavy gauge pot with ~½ inch of oil for frying.

Heat the oil on medium high. Check the oil periodically by lightly pressing the tips of the chopsticks to the bottom of the pot. If the oil bubbles quickly around the tips, then the oil is ready. If you are not sure, stick one piece of tofu in the pot. It should bubble quickly if ready and if not, that’s okay. It is better to be under the right temperature than too hot. Too hot will burn the outside of the tofu.

When the oil is ready, fill the pot with tofu but do not overcrowd. Be sure to let the tofu fry a bit initially. Otherwise, the pieces will stick together when moved.

Check that no pieces are stuck to the bottom, move tofu around to cook evenly. Fry to a nice golden color. Once golden, place on the paper towel lined baking sheet with the cooling rack. Continue until all the tofu is fried. Reheat the sauce.

Place the tofu in individual bowls or in a larger shallow bowl. Pour the sauce over the tofu, then sprinkle the bonito flakes on top and follow with the green onions. You’re done! Enjoy!


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Also, don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!