Japanese Fried Chicken Kaarage

This Japanese Fried Chicken recipe, also known as karaage, is going to give you crispy, crunchy and juicy bites of chicken full of appetizing umami flavors.  Best of all, they are low carb and easy to make!

If you haven’t tried Japanese fried chicken (karaage), you are in for a treat!

The taste is unparalleled to other types of fried chicken packed with a savory umami taste unlike anything you’ve tasted before.

Japanese fried chicken karaage being picked with a pair of chopsticks.

So next time you’re craving fried chicken, give this Japanese fried chicken recipe is try!

What is Japanese Fried Chicken, also known as karaage?

Boneless chicken thighs are cut into bite-size pieces, marinated in a soy ginger and garlic sauce, coated in pork rinds then deep fried until golden brown.  Each serving only contains 4g net carbs.

What spices and ingredients do you need to make Japanese style fried chicken?

  • Chicken Thigh – Cut into bite size pieces. Chicken thighs are the preferred meat for this recipe because it tends to be juicer and more tender.
  • Ginger – Grate ginger using a hand grater or a cheese grater works well too.
  • Soy Sauce – Low sodium is preferred (kikkoman) For gluten free you can use tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Japanese Sake – Use Japanese cooking sake which is fairly inexpensive and can be found in most Asian supermarkets.
  • Sesame Oil – Use toasted sesame oil (dark and rich in color).  Look to make sure it is not a sesame oil blend.
  • Monkfruit Erythritol Blend – This is our preferred sugar alternative.  It is low carb, keto friendly and has 0 calories.  Feel free to use your preferred sweetener or regular cane sugar.
  • Cloves Garlic – Grate garlic using a hand grater or garlic press.
  • Togarashi (red pepper) – A Japanese chili pepper blend found in most Asian or Japanese supermarkets. A good alternative would be cayenne pepper or chili pepper.
  • Egg – Eggs are beaten in a bowl and used as a binding agent for the fried chicken.
  • Pork Rinds – Use unflavored pork rinds found at most supermarkets.  Pork rinds are a low carb alternative to panko and adds so much flavor to the fried chicken.  You can also use panko or potato starch like the traditional method if preferred.

Keto style Japanese fried chicken karaage being marinated before coating and deep fry.

Is this Fried Chicken recipe gluten-free?

This recipe is not gluten-free, however, it can easily be done by substituting soy sauce for tamari soy sauce.

Can you use an air fryer or oven instead of a deep fryer for this recipe?

Yes, you can air fry or bake at 390F for 6-8 minutes.  Oven times vary so check for doneness often.

Keto friendly bread crumbs pork panko in a jar to be used in a fried chicken recipe.

What is pork panko and why do you use it for this fried chicken recipe?

Pork panko is ready made ground pork rinds that works as a gluten-free low carb alternative to breading panko.

Should I use chicken breasts or chicken thighs for Japanese style fried chicken?

Traditionally, Japanese fried chicken is made with chicken thigh, but you can also use chicken breast if you prefer.

Is there a batter version for this low carb fried chicken recipe?

Traditional, Japanese karaage recipes doesn’t use batter.  Instead, it is coated with potato starch and deep fried.

For the sake of making this recipe a keto and low carb version, we replaced the potato starch method with a pork rinds crust.

But if you’re looking for a keto batter recipe, the batter from this recipe should work nicely.

Do you have any tips for making this Japanese fried chicken recipe?

  • Use boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces.
  • For an extra kick, add cayenne pepper to the marinade.
  • Make sure oil is up to temp before frying.
  • Do not overcrowd when frying.
  • Re-fry for 30 seconds to make it extra crispy.
  • If you prefer traditional coating, simply omit step 5-7 and coat with potato starch instead.

Japanese fried chicken karaage being picked with a pair of chopsticks, top down shot.

For more chicken recipes, check out the below!

Now, let’s get making this Japanese Fried Chicken Karaage recipe!

  • Prepping Time 10M
  • Marination Time 1H
  • Cook Time 10M
  • Total Time 1H 20M
  • Net Carb/Serv ~1g
  • Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lbs Boneless Chicken Thigh
  • 1/2 Inch Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake (can substitute with Dry Sherry)
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp Sweetener (Monkfruit Erythritol Blend, sugar or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic (add up to 6 garlic cloves if you like garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp Togarashi (optional)
  • 1 Egg (omit if you are using traditional potato starch to coat)
  • 3 oz Unflavored Pork Rinds (1/3 Cup if using Pork Panko, omit if you are using traditional potato starch to coat)
  • 1 Lemon Wedge (optional)

Directions

1) Gather all the ingredients.

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karaage Recipe (1)

2) Grate garlic and ginger with a grater and add into a mixing bowl.

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karaage Recipe (20)

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karaage Recipe (21)

3) Combine Soy Sauce, sweetener, Japanese sake, Sesame Oil, optional Togarashi into a mixing bowl and mix well.

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karaage Recipe (22)

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karaage Recipe (23)

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karaage Recipe (24)

4) Cut chicken into small bite-size pieces, about 1/2 x 1/2 inch and place into a ziplock bag.  Pour marinade from above into the ziplock bag and marinate for 1 hour minimum (up to overnight) in the refrigerator.  Note – if using traditional potato starch to coat, coat directly from marinade and skip to step 8).

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karaage Recipe (25)

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karaage Recipe (14)

5) Pour Unflavored Pork Rinds into a food processor and pulse until ground into very fine crumbs.  You can also use your hands to crush the pork rinds if you don’t have a food processor.  Note – Skip this step if you are using Pork Panko.

6) Beat eggs in a bowl and set side.

7) After chicken is done marinating, remove chicken and dip into beaten egg followed a coat of crushed pork rinds.  Place onto a holding plate.

8) Add enough oil to cover about 1/2 inch and heat oil up to 375F. Once up to temp, carefully place chicken inside without overcrowding to deep fry (cook 2 batches if needed).  Cook until crust is lightly browned on all sides, about 2 – 3 minutes in total.  You may have to rotate/flip chicken depending on how much oil you used.

Keto Popcorn Fried Chicken Recipe (22)

9) Transfer to an oven rack. If you do not have a drying rack, place use a plate with a paper towel to soak up oil.

Keto Popcorn Fried Chicken Recipe (23)

10) Optional – next step is to refry, so place the chicken back into the oil and refry until the chicken turns to a darker shade of brown, about 1 minute.  Afterwards, place back onto the oven rack and let it rest again.

11) Once all residual oil drips off, transfer to a serving plate with an optional wedge of lemon.

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karaage Recipe (27)

Hope you enjoy your Japanese Fried Chicken Kaarage!

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More Recipes

Japanese fried chicken karaage being picked with a pair of chopsticks.

Japanese Fried Chicken Kaarage

This Japanese Fried Chicken recipe, also known as karaage, is going to give you crispy, crunchy and juicy bites of chicken full of appetizing umami flavors. Best of all, they are low carb and easy to make!
5 from 8 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese karaage
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marination Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 453kcal

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lbs Chicken Thigh Boneless
  • 1/2 Inch Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake can substitute with Dry Sherry
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp Sweetener monkfruit erythritol blend, sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 4 Cloves Garlic add up to 6 garlic cloves if you like garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Togarashi optional
  • 1 Egg omit if you are using traditional potato starch to coat
  • 3 oz Unflavored Pork Rinds 1/3 Cup if using Pork Panko, omit if you are using traditional potato starch to coat
  • 1 Wedge Lemon optional

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
  • Grate garlic and ginger with a grater and add into a mixing bowl.
  • Combine Soy Sauce, sweetener, Japanese sake, Sesame Oil, optional Togarashi into a mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Cut chicken into small bite-size pieces, about 1/2 x 1/2 inch and place into a ziplock bag. Pour marinade from above into the ziplock bag and marinate for 1 hour minimum (up to overnight) in the refrigerator. Note- if using traditional potato starch to coat, coat directly from marinade and skip to step 8).
  • Pour Unflavored Pork Rinds into a food processor and pulse until ground into very fine crumbs. You can also use your hands to crush the pork rinds if you don’t have a food processor. Note – Skip this step if you are using Pork Panko.
  • Beat eggs in a bowl and set side.
  • After chicken is done marinating, remove chicken and dip into beaten egg followed a coat of crushed pork rinds. Place onto a holding plate.
  • Add enough oil to cover about 1/2 inch and heat oil up to 375F. Once up to temp, carefully place chicken inside without overcrowding to deep fry (cook 2 batches if needed). Cook until crust is lightly browned on all sides, about 2 – 3 minutes in total. You may have to rotate/flip chicken depending on how much oil you used.
  • Transfer to an oven rack. If you do not have a drying rack, place use a plate with a paper towel to soak up oil.
  • Optional - next step is to refry, so place the chicken back into the oil and refry until the chicken turns to a darker shade of brown, about 1 minute. Afterwards, place back onto the oven rack and let it rest again.
  • Once all residual oil drips off, transfer to a serving plate with an optional wedge of lemon.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 453kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 1147mg | Potassium: 414mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 281IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 2mg
*Values Based Per Serving
Did you make this recipe?Tag @LowCarbingAsian on Instagram and hashtag it #LowCarbingAsian

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8 Comments

  1. Wow, this looks delicious! What kind of oil did you use to fry the chicken?

    Also, thank you for the step-by-step photos. It’s so helpful!

    • LowCarbingAsian

      Thank you!! We just used regular vegetable oil, but you can use any oil suitable for deep frying and you are welcome for the step by step!! Like they say, a picture is worth a 1000 words!!

  2. This recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it out! I was just wondering if you have the nutritional information for all macros or is it similar to the original kaarage? Thanks!!

    • LowCarbingAsian

      Hi! We do not have the exact nutritional facts on it but it would be similar to traditional kaarage. My guess would be the carbs would be less and fat would be increased. Hope the recipe comes out well for you!

  3. is there a possible replacement for pork rinds

    • LowCarbingAsian

      Hi Sam! We haven’t tried it, but believe you can use psyllium husk as a replacement. You also try to toss it in some almond flour as well. Just keep mind though that both these methods probably won’t be as crisps as pork rinds.

  4. Jenny Wilson

    I was so hopeful for this dish…I followed the directions exactly but was quite disappointed. I ended up with deep fried chicken pieces as all the coating came off as soon as the chicken hit the oil.

    • LowCarbingAsian

      Hey Jenny! Sorry to hear you were disappointed with the dish. Some of the pork rinds are going to come off when it hits the oil but it helps if you grind the pork rinds very finely. This dish is traditional made with potato starch, but there isn’t a low carb substitute for that ingredient so pork rinds will have to do. I haven’t tried this, but if you dip the marinated chicken into beated eggs before applying the pork rinds, it might help bind the pork rinds onto the chicken.

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