Serves 6 to 8 | Active Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes, plus 30 minutes marinating
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ teaspoon sugar
⅛ teaspoon table salt
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1- to 1½-inch-wide strips
1¼ cups (5 ounces) cornstarch
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedges
Head Start
Cut chicken thighs into strips up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until time to marinate.
Finish Line
Aioli  and Creamy Blue Cheese Dip are great dipping sauces.
Perfect Pair
Try Cinnamon-Ginger Spiced Nuts  or Citrus and Radicchio Salad with Dates and Smoked Almonds  alongside the karaage.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS This Japanese bar snack is a dream for fried chicken lovers: juicy, deeply seasoned strips of boneless, skinless chicken thighs encased in a supercrispy crust. Minimal oil and fast frying make it a cinch to cook. Briefly marinating the meat in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, ginger, garlic, sugar, and salt imbues the chicken with savory, aromatic flavor. Dredging the chicken in cornstarch—instead of the traditional potato starch—makes for a less-sticky coating. Shaking off excess starch and letting the dredged pieces rest while the oil heats gives the starch time to hydrate. Dabbing any dry patches with reserved marinade prevents dustiness. We recommend using a rasp–style grater to grate the ginger. Use a Dutch oven that holds 6 quarts or more. Do not substitute chicken breasts for thighs; they will dry out during frying. There’s no need to check the chicken’s temperature: It will be cooked through by the time it is golden brown and crispy.
1 Combine soy sauce, sake, ginger, garlic, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add chicken and toss to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. While chicken is marinating, line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set wire rack in second rimmed baking sheet and line rack with triple layer of paper towels. Place cornstarch in wide bowl.
2 Lift chicken from marinade, 1 piece at a time, allowing excess marinade to drip back into bowl but leaving any garlic or ginger bits on chicken. Coat chicken with cornstarch, shake off excess, and place on parchment-lined sheet. Reserve marinade.
3 Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 325 degrees. While oil heats, check chicken pieces for white patches of dry cornstarch. Dip back of spoon in reserved marinade and gently press onto dry spots to lightly moisten.
4 Using tongs, add half of chicken, one piece at a time, to oil in single layer. Cook, adjusting burner if necessary to maintain oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees, until chicken is golden brown and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Using spider skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer chicken to paper towel–lined rack. Return oil to 325 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken. Serve with lemon wedges.