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Japanese fried chicken

With a delicious thin and crispy skin, these juicy chicken thighs are prepared with a sweet, sake-based marinade. Plus, they're served with a soy-ginger-wasabi dipping sauce.



  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, ideally skin on
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine) + 1 tablespoon for dipping sauce
  • 1/3 cup sake
  • 3 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated, ideally on a Microplane, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon wasabi paste
  • Peanut or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup potato starch (available in Asian food stores and health food stores), or cornstarch
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
  • Green onion, sliced, for garnish (optional)


  1. Cut the chicken (skin, fat, and all) into 3/4 inch cubes. To a medium bowl or resealable plastic bag, add 1/3 cup each of soy sauce, mirin and sake, and two tablespoons ginger. Add the chicken, toss with the marinade, and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour but ideally three to 24 hours.

Dipping sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the remaining soy sauce and mirin, the wasabi, and the remaining ginger. Reserve for dipping.
  2. Preheat a deep fryer, or fill a tall, heavy, medium pot one-third full of oil. Heat the oil to 350F.
  3. While the oil is heating, drain off the chicken marinade. To a medium bowl, add the potato starch. Add the chicken a few pieces at a time and toss until each piece is well covered. Shake off the excess starch. Transfer the pieces to a drying rack or a plate and let rest for ten minutes. 
  4. Divide the chicken into two batches and fry the first batch for three minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside, and cooked throughout. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the second batch. 
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion slices, and serve with the dipping sauce.