Recipe for Fried Chicken by Rika Yukimasa

The Japanese chef shares her foolproof secret to making 'kara-age', which combines tender, juicy meat with a crispy coating.


WordsClémence Leleu

© ‘Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking’ by Rika Yukimasa, Rizzoli New York, 2020. Photography © Teruaki Kawakami.

Japanese fried chicken, also known as kara-age, a cooking technique whereby the ingredients are fried in oil after being marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, is a Japanese street-food speciality that can be enjoyed in an izakaya

Rika Yukimasa shares the recipe in her book Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking: Simplifying Authentic Recipes, and also offers her secret to the perfect fried chicken: ‘Your frying oil always needs to be at the required temperature and ready to use before coating the chicken. If it sits for too long after being dusted with starch, it risks getting soggy.’

In Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking: Simplifying Authentic Recipes, the chef wanted to share simple and authentic Japanese recipes that everyone can reproduce in their own kitchen. ‘Japanese cuisine is healthy, full of soul and satisfying. Nothing makes me happier than making the Japanese cuisine I love accessible and affordable’, Rika Yukimasa explains in the introduction to her book. 

Each dish is paired with a drink. For this recipe, Rika Yukimasa recommends a glass of Prosecco, a Chianti served slightly chilled, or a whisky soda garnished with a slice of lime. 

Serves 4


2 boned chicken thighs (skin left on)

2 tbsp (12 g) grated ginger

1 tsp (3 g) grated garlic

2 tbsp (30 ml) Thai fish sauce

2 tbsp (30 ml) cooking sake

1/4 tsp (2 g) kosher salt sea salt

Vegetable oil for deep frying

150 g potato starch or tapioca starch

Lemon wedges, to garnish


Cut each chicken thigh into seven pieces and place in a large bowl.

Add the ginger, garlic, fish sauce, sake, and salt, and rub the mixture into the chicken. 

Pour several centimetres of oil into a large, high-sided pot and heat to 170°C.

Coat the chicken with the potato starch and toss to combine well. 

Fry the chicken in the oil for six to seven minutes until brown and crispy, working in batches if necessary to avoid overfilling the pan. 

Remove the chicken using a slotted spoon and place on a large platter. Serve with the lemon wedges.


Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking: Simplifying Authentic Recipes (2020), by Rika Yukimasa, is published by Rizzoli.

Rika Yukimasa presented the show Dining with the Chef, broadcast on NHK to over 150 countries. She has also released numerous recipe books in Japanese; Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking: Simplifying Authentic Recipes is her first to be written in English. 

© Rizzoli