Well guys, I did it. I finally caved to peer pressure and I got an air fryer. And wow am I having fun playing with it! We have this Japanese Fried Chicken on our restaurant menus, and it is hugely popular. I wanted to see if I could capture the juicy, crunchy deliciousness of it in an air fryer, and I was not disappointed! All the crispy, savory goodness with none of the hassles of deep frying, so let’s get into it.
Prepping Japanese Fried Chicken
There isn’t a culture that doesn’t make fried chicken, and I love them all, from Korean Fried Chicken to Nashville Hot. But Japanese Fried Chicken, known as karaage, holds a special place in my heart. It gets marinated with ginger, sake and oyster sauce, and that helps it stay extraordinarily juicy and flavorful. And instead of flour, I use potato starch. That makes for super crispy fried chicken, and it happens to be gluten free.
I start making this by cutting up the chicken into bite-sized chunks. I use thighs because they have a better, meatier flavor and it is we typically what use when making this dish. Also since we’re using an air fryer that is much drier that frying in oil, the extra moisture from thigh meat is very much appreciated.
When it’s thoroughly mixed I press plastic wrap down on the chicken and let it chill in the fridge for at least a half hour, or up to overnight. The extra time in the fridge really allows the flavors to penetrate giving you an even more delicious fried chicken.
Air Frying Japanese Fried Chicken
Although this recipe is made using an air fryer, you could easily adapt it to oven-frying or even traditional frying. And I put both techniques in the recipe notes. There’s no reason not to make this chicken!
The trick to air frying and oven-frying is to use a modest amount of oil to re-create a similar mouth feel and texture as fried food. However, it would be a mistake to think you don’t need to use any oil. Foods just don’t get crispy without oil, no matter how much air you pump at it. To help with that, I use a can of spray oil, which I consider a great resource for quickly and evenly getting oil across the surface.
I like to spray the fryer basket with oil. This allows the bottom of the chicken to sit on an oiled surface and develop the same texture as the top of the chicken, which will also be sprayed.
I put the chicken in two layers but I think if you can fit it in one layer, it would be easier to flip the chicken. And don’t be too aggressive when flipping/shaking the chicken as you want to preserve the coating and not have it flake off.
I cook the chicken at a moderate heat so it the coating doesn’t get too dark before the chicken is finished cooking. You’re looking for a nice golden crust and juicy chicken. When it’s done it will look like this:
Serve it with some Kewpie mayo, lemon wedges, and shichimi pepper for an outrageously delicious starter.
It’s wonderful served alongside:
Make Japanese Fried Chicken this weekend-I promise it’s worth lugging the air fryer out. Then take a moment to rate the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken
- 2 Tablespoons peeled grated ginger (minced ginger is ok too)
- 3 Tablespoons sake
- 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup potato starch
- Oil spray
- Lemon wedges, kewpie mayonnaise, and shichimi pepper for serving
- Cut the chicken into 1½ inch pieces. Place it in the bowl.
- Add the ginger, sake, oyster sauce, salt, and black pepper. Mix the chicken to thoroughly coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
- Spray the bottom of the air frying basket with oil.
- Dip the chicken pieces a couple at a time into the potato starch.
- Set the chicken into the air fryer basket/tray and spray with the oil. If you have to stack the chicken in two layers, spray each layer of chicken with oil.
- Air fry the chicken at 360 degrees for 20-25 minutes, flipping the chicken every 5 minutes so the chicken cooks evenly. (I also sprayed the chicken with oil again the first time I went to flip it.)
- Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Serve the Japanese fried chicken with some lemon wedges, kewpie mayo, and shichimi pepper.
*If you have the ability to cook the chicken in one layer in the airfryer, I highly recommend it so you reduce the chance that the coating will peel off from flipping it around.
*You can also oven fry this chicken if you do not have an air fryer. Preheat the oven to 400. Put down a piece of parchment paper. (You can also use aluminum foil). Spray your parchment paper with oil. Lay your prepared chicken on the paper and spray again with oil. Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. (I would spray the chicken again after you flip it). Serve immediately.
*If you would like to deep fry your chicken, pour 2 inches of oil into a deep heavy skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Test the oil by dipping a piece of chicken into the oil. It should bubble immediately. If not, let the oil continue to heat for a couple more minutes. Depending on the size of your skillet, put enough chicken into the pan so that it’s only half full of chicken. Do not crowd the pan otherwise your chicken will soak up a lot of oil and not cook properly. Cook for 6-8 minutes until crisp and golden. Transfer the fried chicken to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve immediately.
Keywords: air fryer, fried chicken, japanese, appetizers, small plates, gluten free
Watermelon Rind Kimchi? Well, I love watermelon. We eat an embarrassing amount in our house. We even used to have watermelon eating contests…and not even as a fun thing to do with our kids. Just me and my husband, don’t judge. But with copious amounts of watermelon, comes copious amounts of watermelon rind. Seeing the inside of the garbage can made me feel a little guilty. So I took some inspiration from the South and came up with this Watermelon Rind Kimchi. This quick crunchy side dish is perfect as an Asian condiment but equally at home on a summer table with BBQ, grilled foods, and other hot weather eats.
So next time you cut up a watermelon, don’t throw out that rind! This Watermelon Rind Kimchi adds bright, spicy sweet flavor to anything it touches. Cutting down on food waste has never been so easy and delicious…
Making Watermelon Rind Kimchi
Watermelon Rind Pickles are a Southern tradition. They are made in the same way that you might pickle cucumbers- using a salt brine with vinegar and classic pickling spices. My version takes a detour through Korea, adding gochugaru, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame seeds. This is not a traditional kimchi by any means but has many of the same flavors. It’s more like a mashup between kimchi and a pickle. You know how I love a good mashup! I start by prepping the watermelon rind.
It’s important to cut enough of the outer skin off so you don’t have tough pieces that are hard to chew. There’s plenty of rind on a watermelon, so don’t be afraid to skin a little more deeply than usual. Also, depending on how much watermelon flesh is left on the rind, your pickle will be a little more sweet or a little more savory. I love the color contrast and I’m also one of those who cuts out only the reddest part of the watermelon, so my rind is always very colorful.
Now it’s time to make the dressing. This is a quick little vinaigrette using familiar ingredients. It shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes to whip up.
I like to serve this watermelon rind kimchi with anything that could use a little blast of acidity. Try it as a side with some simply grilled fish, Omusubi Rice Balls or Korean Fried Chicken. Honestly I love to just snack on them right from the fridge, they are so refreshing!
Give them a try and let me know what you think. You can rate and comment on the recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us in your beautiful food pictures @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 2 1/2 pounds watermelon rind, about ¼ of watermelon with the red edible flesh removed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon Korean chili flakes (gocharu)
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Peel the outside skin off of the watermelon. Cut the rind into 1 inch thick pieces. Cut the rind “sticks” into ½ inch cubes. You should have about 6 ½ cups of cubes.
- Put the watermelon in a storage container. Add salt and toss to combine.
- Mix the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, chile flakes, sesame seeds, and black pepper together in a cup and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Pour the mixture over the watermelon cubes, and toss to combine. Refrigerate for a couple hours and then toss again.
- Let the watermelon rind kimchi marinate for at least 4 hours before serving though it is best the next day. It will last in the fridge for about 1 week. Serve cold.
Keywords: kimchi, watermelon rind, korean, condiments, pickles