Kara-age is a type of food that is marinated, dredged and deep fried. The most well known kara-age dish is Tori no Kara-age which is Japanese-style fried chicken nuggets. Chunks of dark meat chicken are marinated in a teriyaki sauce then coated with potato or cornstarch before frying until golden brown.
Sometimes, my mother would wrap each little chicken nugget with a strip of nori before frying for a different variation and because we loved nori, it was one of our favorites. Nori adds a savory, umami flavor. Kara-age would be eaten as okazu with musubi, yakisoba or o-chazuke. My father used to love to snack on a few with a cold bottle of beer after his weekly golf game.
Easy to make, these make great additions to any bento box or appetizer tray as they may be eaten at room temperature.
Tori no Kara-age
1 lb. chicken thigh meat, cut into small chunks
¾ cup soy sauce
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. mirin or sake
¼ inch slice of fresh ginger
1 cup potato or cornstarch
2 nori sheets, optional
vegetable oil for deep frying
Cut chicken thighs into about one-inch chunks. In a small pot, blend together soy sauce, sugar, mirin or sake and fresh ginger; bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature. Marinate chicken meat in this mixture for several hours.
Cut nori sheets into about 1/2-inch x 2-inch strips. Drain chicken meat and dredge each piece in potato or cornstarch. Wrap each piece in a strip of nori, dabbing a bit of water on the end to seal the nori together.
In a deep skillet or pot, heat vegetable oil to about 375. Deep fry chicken pieces until golden brown, turning as necessary. Drain on paper towels.