Chicken Tatsuta-Age

Japanese style Bento
Akiko Aoki/Getty Images
Prep: 70 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
539 Calories
29g Fat
32g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 539
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 173mg 58%
Sodium 911mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 19mg 1%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 437mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Karaage, pronounced kah-rah-ah-geh, literally means “Tang fried” (Tang as in the Chinese dynasty), and is an umbrella term for any chicken that's coated in either potato starch or flour and deep-fried. Like Gyoza and Ramen, Karaage is an example of Wafu-Chuka (Chinese-style Japanese) cuisine, whereby dumplings, noodles, or in this case fried chicken, were adapted from the Chinese culinary repertoire and turned into something uniquely Japanese.

The most common type of Karaage is known as Tatsuta-age, which is usually defined by the chicken first being marinated in soy sauce and then coated with potato starch. The name is in reference to the reddish brown color imparted by the soy sauce, which was thought to resemble the color of the Tatsuta River in autumn when the surrounding Japanese maple trees turn the river a similar hue. After being marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic, the 2-bite nuggets of chicken are dredged in katakuriko ​(potato starch) and deep fried until crisp. The katakuriko creates a golden shell around the karaage with a lasting crispness which makes it perfect for packing in a bento lunch. Karaage also makes for a great summer picnic with some onigiri (rice balls).

The recipe below calls for mirin, a type of rice wine, similar to sake, but with lower alcohol and higher sugar content. Mirin has a sweet flavor, a golden to light amber color and slightly thick consistency. A little goes a long way. If you can't find mirin, try dry sherry or sweet marsala. Alternatively, you can dissolve a small amount of sugar in a little white wine or sherry.

Katakuriko is potato starch made from the dried starch component of peeled potatoes. It does not have any potato taste or smell so it does not influence other flavors. Deep-frying with katakuriko makes the chicken crispier. If you can't find katakuriko, try potato or corn starch.


  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into about 1-inch pieces

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sake

  • 1 tablespoon mirin

  • 2 teaspoons ginger juice

  • 1 cup katakuriko, or cornstarch, or as needed for coating

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or amount needed for deep-frying

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix soy sauce, sake, mirin and ginger juice in a large bowl.

  3. Marinate chicken in the sauce for 30 to 60 minutes.

  4. Take out the chicken from the sauce and dry lightly with paper towels.

  5. Preheat oil to about 330 F in a deep pan.

  6. Lightly coat chicken pieces with katakuriko and deep-fry them until done.

  7. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towels.

  8. Serve and enjoy.