Uncle Katsuyuki’s Japanese Fried Chicken [gluten free]

I love fried chicken, especially when it’s done right. My favourite is the Japanese twist on the dish, known as karaage. I’ve wanted to do this recipe on the blog for a while: the soy sauce marinade gives it a wonderful flavour, and it goes perfectly with a nice cold beer.

Gluten free karaage japanese fried chicken

Unfortunately, his version contains soy sauce, wheat flour and shaoxing wine, all containing gluten. I’ve adapted my recipe to be gluten free, and honestly? Not that much difference flavour. If anything, it tastes better. Being gluten free means you have to be creative with your ingredients, and it’s been fun discovering what works and what doesn’t. In this case, I substituted the flour for potato starch. Potato starch, known as katakuriko in Japanese, is what is usually used to coat karaage in Japan: just not in my family – until now! And once again, I can sing along to this classic by Ms. Peachez:


For a piece of my fingerlickin’ Japanese fried chicken, you’ll need:

Uncle Katsuyuki's Japanese Fried Chicken [gluten free]
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 portions
  • 500g chicken thighs
  • 3 tsp tamari (gluten free) soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sherry
  • 1tsp mirin (Japanese cooking wine, available at most supermarkets)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp potato starch (I used Encona)
  • kitchen roll
  • lemon to serve
  1. First, trim the thighs and discard any skin and excess fat, and cut into cubes.
  2. I would really recommend using chicken thighs for this recipe.
  3. It’s cheaper than breast meat, and almost always more moist and flavourful.
  4. Put the thighs in the bowl, and add the tamari, mirin and crushed garlic.
  5. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour – for extra flavour, leave it overnight.
  6. After the hour, remove the chicken from the fridge and set to one side.
  7. Heat up enough oil in the pan on a high temperature so the cubes will be at least half submerged.
  8. While the oil is heating, wipe off each piece of chicken lightly with some kitchen roll and dab dry. This ensures that the marinade doesn’t drip, and removes the crushed garlic.
  9. Pour the potato starch on the plate, and lightly roll each chicken piece until coated.
  10. Try putting a wooden spoon or chopsticks in the pan of oil: if it bubbles around it, it’s ready.
  11. Start frying the chicken until brown and crispy.
  12. Once the chicken has fried, pop the pieces on a plate covered in kitchen roll to catch the oil.

Encona potato stach gluten freePotato starch japanese fried chicken karaage blue platepotato starch japanese fried chicken karaage recipegluten free japanese fried chicken karaage recipejapanese fried chicken karaage gluten free recipe

Serve with a squeeze of lemon. Mr. A and I had it ours with some miso soup and rice, but they work perfectly as an appetizer too!

gluten free japanese fried chicken recipeestrella damm daura gluten free beer

And as for the cold beer? I’ve discovered Estrella Damm Daura gluten free beer – was expecting the worst, and was so very pleasantly surprised. No difference in taste, which makes it the perfect accompaniment to my version of Uncle Katsuyuki’s famous dish!

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  • I had some kaarage at the Matsuri festival this weekend, but was disappointed by it…I thought it taste quite bland, but maybe that’s because I’m used to the spicy Korean version.
    Maybe I should try making it a home and review my experience 🙂

    • Ooh, what’s the spicy Korean version called?? How did you find the matsuri? Perhaps the quality of karage from a stall wasn’t up to scratch 🙂

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