Crispy Chicken Karage with Sweet Chili


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (1 lb = 453 g = roughly 4 pieces)
  • 2 Tbsp sake
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 knob ginger
  • 1 cup potato/corn starch (more or less)
  • 3 cups neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) (for deep frying)
  • 2 green onions/scallions
  • ¼ cup cilantro



  • ½ cup Thai sweet chili sauce (½ cup = 8 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp water


  • Gather all the ingredients.
  • Remove and discard extra fat and skin, and cut each skin-on chicken thigh into 5 to 6 pieces, about 1 ½ inch (4 cm) pieces.
  • Peel the ginger skin and grate it. Cut the green onion/scallions and cilantro into small pieces.
  • In a medium bowl, combine sake, soy sauce and grated ginger, and add the chicken pieces to marinate. Keep in the fridge for 30 minutes. Tip: You may have noticed already but in Japanese cooking, common marinade time is between 20 and 30 minutes to preserve the ingredient’s original taste.
  • In the tray or bowl, prepare corn starch/potato starch. In a deep fry pot, heat the oil to 340 ºF (170 ºC). Use a thermometer or wooden chopsticks to see if the oil is ready (See How to Deep Fry Foods). Tip: You put a chopstick in the oil and when you see the bubbles around it, it’s ready!
  • When the oil is hot, drain the chicken well from the marinade and coat each piece with the corn/potato starch. Make sure the chicken is all covered by the starch so when you put the chicken into the oil, it won’t splatter.
  • Slowly place 4-6 chicken into the wok (Work with a few pieces at a time, so the oil temperature won’t drop quickly). Deep fry the chicken for 90 seconds, or until the chicken is light golden color. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack or paper towel to drain excess oil. Let the chicken cook with remaining heat while you work on the rest of chicken.
  • Once the chicken is all deep fried for the first round, use a fine mesh sieve to pick up crumbs to keep the oil clean.  If you don't do this step, the crumbs get darker and then the oil gets darker. Increase the heat and bring the oil to 350 ºF (180 ºC). Deep fry the chicken for the second time for 45 seconds or until crispy and golden brown.
  • Transfer the chicken to a wire rack to drain excess oil.
  • In a frying pan, combine the sauce ingredients.
  • Add green onion and cilantro, and mix over medium heat.
  • When the sauce is bubbling, add the chicken and quickly coat well with the sauce. Don’t leave in the pan for no more than 15 seconds. Transfer to a serving plate.