Impress the crowds at the next dinner party with this boldly seasoned spicy black pepper Japanese style fried chicken recipe. Includes a video that shows how to whip up authentic karaage in your own kitchen.

Karaage is a Japanese version of fried chicken. It’s true that usually Japanese like to eat healthy, but karaage is our guilty pleasure! In fact, it’s so popular that some moms even put karaage in their kid’s bento box several times a week. Garlic, ginger and black pepper meet soy sauce and sake in a sensory explosion that gives this crispy treat more flavor than most fried chicken recipes. Best of all, you can do it all at home with this simple Japanese recipe.

What is Karaage?

Besides the ingredients used for seasoning, there are some basic differences between Japanese karaage and American style fried chicken that make it just a bit more yummy. First of all, Japanese karaage uses more dark meat than white, and they also use pieces of the cartilage (nankotsu), that are not normally used in the west. Secondly, karaage is also cut into smaller pieces meant to be even in size and skin-to-meat ratio. This is because of the third difference: a serious marinade.

Smaller chunks soak up the marinade better and make sure it is more evenly distributed. Thus, while fried chicken is seasoned from its outer layer (flour, salt, etc) karaage has flavor from the inside, and less salt on the outside than regular fried chicken. The result is a more tender, juicy and flavor filled creation that is even a bit healthier than western style fried chicken. One bite and you will be hooked! There are many different marinades possible for karaage in Japanese food culture, so also check out our regular karaage recipe.

Cooking Tips

  • Make sure you get boneless chicken no matter which parts of the chicken you use. This allows you to cut it into uniform pieces.
  • If you can’t get katakuri powder, you can use potato starch instead to dredge the chicken. This gives the karaage a crispier finish that locks in the marinated flavor.
  • After frying, lay the chicken on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. It will also help it get dry and crispy.

Spicy Black Pepper Karaage

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese


  • 2 lbs Boneless Chicken Thigh
  • ½ cup Katakuri Powder
  • Oil, for frying


  • 3 Tbsp Sake
  • 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp Ginger, grated
  • Plenty of Black Pepper, to taste


  1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a large bowl, mix chicken and the seasoning. Rest it in the fridge for at least one hour.
  3. Sprinkle katakuri powder and mix well.
  4. Preheat plenty of oil over medium heat (preferred oil temperature: 330F)
  5. Carefully fry chicken until done.

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