Karaage refers to a Japanese cooking technique in which a protein is lightly coated with flour and deep-fried. It’s most often applied to chicken, but it differs from conventional American fried chicken in the flavor profile of its marinade, its lighter breading, and the fact that it’s usually smaller pieces (one or two bites) of whole-muscle meat.
The specific flour used in Karaage can vary, but it’s often potato starch or potato flour. Being Japanese, the marinade for karaage generally includes citrus, soy, and ginger, but chefs can take liberties and use whatever other flavors they like.
The technique, and specifically naming it karaage, is gaining traction on menus as U.S. consumers sample more global flavors and opt for options that are a twist on the familiar.
Market research firm Datassential reports that karaage is still found on less than 1% of U.S. menus but it up 26% over the past four years.
Click through the gallery to learn more about this Flavor of the Week and see how one restaurant is using karaage on its menu.