Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Japanese Fried Chicken and Two Simple Salads

Shopping List

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 pound) - $3.29
1/2 pound green beans - $0.49
1 large cucumber - $0.55
1 lemon - $0.50
Small knob ginger - $0.25
24 ounces vegetable oil - $2.49

Pantry items:
Dark (Asian) sesame oil, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, corn starch, white sugar

Total cost: $7.77

I love fried chicken in all its forms but tori no kara-age, Japan's barely-breaded answer to popcorn chicken, holds a special place in my heart.

Each bite-sized nugget offers a higher crunch-to-flesh ratio than a breast or a drumstick—and I'm all about that crunch. Not that there's anything wrong with the flesh: tender, dark-meat chicken infused with soy, ginger, and, if you have it, a splash of bourbon.

The bantamweight morsels are a boon, too, to the novice deep-fryer. Golden-brown in four minutes, they're almost impossible to over- or under-cook.

For contrast, serve with either or both of these refreshing salads: cucumber sunomono—bright, vinegared cucumber slices enriched with just a touch of sesame oil—and cool, crisp green beans tossed in a sharp mustard sauce.

Perfect for a midsummer night's grazing.


Japanese Fried Chicken

Don't buy a bottle of bourbon just for this recipe, but a spoonful of whiskey in the marinade adds a lovely, warm depth. Dry sherry or sake work well, too.

About the author: Michele Humes, crunch fanatic, writes Georgia On My Thighs.

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