Japanese-Style Crunchy Fried Chicken Cutlets from Wataru Yokota's "The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook"


Called yurinchi in Japan, this is a Japanese version of the crispy fried chicken that is popular in Cantonese and Hong Kong cuisine. A vinegar-based sauce with lots of aromatic vegetables is poured over the chicken while it’s still sizzling hot.

Serves 2 

  • 2 boneless chicken thighs, skin on 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Oil for deep-frying

For the sauce

  • 4-in (10-cm) length Japanese or baby leek, or thick green onion (white part only), trimmed and finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well to blend.

Use a sharp knife to make several incisions in the chicken on the skinless side, severing the muscle fibers. This prevents the meat from shrinking when it’s fried.

Season the chicken with the salt and pepper, then coat both sides well with cornstarch. Shake off any excess.

Heat the oil to 355°F (180°C). Put in the chicken, skin side down, and fry for about 7 minutes. Turn over and fry for another 3 minutes or so.

When the chicken is browned and crispy, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and let rest for about a minute. Cut into bite-sized pieces, arrange on a serving plate, and pour the sauce from step 1 over all.

Reprinted with permission from The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook by Wataru Yokota, copyright © 2019. Published by Tuttle Publishing.

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