The succulent chicken morsels found in our “Fried Chicken Appetizer” and Chicken Pasta have a special name in Japanese: Tori no Karaage. The word “karaage” implies that the particular deep frying technique used was adopted from China, possibly in the early Edo period (1600’s), although nothing quite like the Japanese karaage exists in China.
To make Tori no Karaage, tender boneless tidbits of chicken are marinated in a blend including ginger, sake, and soy sauce, tossed in starch to seal in the juices, and quickly deep fried. Because the technique seals in the juices without becoming greasy, the Karaage bites are light and succulent whether hot or cold, and therefore a tasty addition to Bento boxes, buffets, and picnics.
In Japan, Toni no Karaage are a featured treat in “izakaya” or “sake house”, a popular happy hour hangout similar to a pub. Izakayas are deliberately casual, dedicated to providing an inexpensive place to relax alone or with friends after a day of work. Along with Karaage, Izakaya almost always have grilled chicken on skewers along with other selections of grilled meats and vegetables, as well as edamame . If you join us at Happy Hour (Monday through Friday, 3pm – 6pm) you’ll find that our appetizer specials all fit the typical izakaya profile. Not surprising, Karaage can also be found at the “yatai” ( movable food stalls) at street markets and festivals. And for the really ravenous fan, the Japan Karaage Association sponsors numerous carnivals and festivals around the country, dedicated to fried foods in the karaage style. Oishii desu!