4 chicken thighs, boneless and skin on
cornflour (cornstarch), for dredging (if not using seasoned flour, below)
oil, for deep-frying

For the marinade

100 ml (3½ fl oz/scant ½ cup) sake
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sriracha or similar hot chilli sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled
4 shallots or 2 banana shallots, roughly chopped
15 g (½ oz) peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

For the seasoned flour (optional)

250 g (9 oz/2½ cups) cornflour (cornstarch)
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
½ teaspoon dashi powder
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon ground ginger


For the marinade, whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor until
no big chunks remain (it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth).

Cut the chicken thighs into pieces no bigger than about 3 cm (1¼ in) at their
thickest point – most thighs will yield 4 pieces, but you should get 5 or 6 out
of bigger ones. The main thing to bear in mind is that they need to cook
quickly, before the crust begins to burn. Basically, you should err on the side
of small. Place the chicken pieces in the marinade and coat them, then leave

in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 48 hours.

For the seasoned flour, if using, simply combine all the ingredients until the
seasonings are well distributed.

To cook, pour at least 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) oil into a very deep, wide
saucepan, making sure it comes no higher than halfway up the sides, and heat
to no higher than 170ºC (340ºF). Remove the chicken from the marinade,
letting any excess drip off, and dredge in the cornflour or seasoned flour,
ensuring that all the nooks and crannies are well coated – this will help
maximize crust and minimize burning. Carefully drop the chicken into the oil
in small batches, checking the temperature periodically to ensure it is
between 160 and 170ºC (320 and 340ºF), and fry for 6–8 minutes. If you
have a meat thermometer, use it: the chicken is done when it reaches an
internal temperature of 65ºC (149ºF). Or use a knife to cut into the biggest
piece of chicken at its thickest point. If it’s pink, back into the oil it goes. If
it’s not pink, it’s karaage time!

Drain on kitchen paper and, if you’re not using the seasoned flour, finish with
a little salt and pepper. This chicken is so juicy it doesn’t really need a dip,
but it’s good with mayo,
ponzu, or just good ol’ soy sauce and a wedge of