Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tori no Kara-age

Deep-fried chicken bits. 鳥のから揚げ。

Chunks of chicken are dusted with flour and then deep-fried. Standard dish popular among people from all ages, both at home, as take-away, or in izakaya. The chicken bits have to be crispy on the outside and nicely juicy on the inside. As condiment, soy sauce is often used.

Kara-age is written as 唐揚げ or "Chinese frying" and as 空揚 or "empty frying." The last one is closer to the meaning of the process: empty frying is frying without batter (without the batter used for tempura), in other words "dry frying." (As a compromise, kara-age is now usually written as から揚げ).

Tori no Kara-age is different from the also popular Tori no Tatsuta-age: in the latter case, the chicken bits are first marinated in a sauce based on soy sauce, giving them a reddish color, before deep-frying. It is a variant of the kara-age technique.

Both the normal kara-age technique and the tatsuta-age technique are of course also used with other ingredients, as karei (flounder), ika (bits of squid), gobo (burdock root) and - to remain in chicken territory - nankotsu (gristle, cartilage of chicken).

Tori no kara-age is in restaurants and diners also served as teishoku (a set meal with rice and soup) and you can also buy it as a take-out bento (lunch box).

[Tori no Kara-age, deep-fried chicken]