Karaage chicken is just chicken nuggets, Japanese style. I suppose the only difference about Japanese chicken nuggets is in the seasoning, which is just light soy sauce, sake or mirin and some ginger juice. The coating flour can be corn or potato starch. Cornstarch is the flour of choice for Chinese cooking because it makes very crispy coating that stays crispy longer and doesn't brown as quickly as plain flour. The Japanese seems to prefer potato starch which makes very light, flaky and crisp coating but it doesn't stay crisp too long in humid weather so it's best to serve the nuggets as soon as they come out of the oil. The fried flakes that come off in the oil do taste like bits of potato chips. To cut the grease and freshen the palate, serve karaage chicken with some chilled cucumber slices.
Here's a very useful little gadget that I picked up in Tsukiji Market, Tokyo years ago. It's a ceramic plate that you can use to grate ginger, horseradish, tumeric and so on. The grated ginger is superfine and soft and I can get nearly a whole teaspoon of juice from a little thumb-sized knob of ginger.
Only about 7 cm from mouth to tail, this little grater plate is very handy and efficient.
400 gm (2 deboned chicken legs or breasts, skin on is tastier)
juice from a small knob of ginger (size of the first joint of your thumb)
3 to 3 1/2T Kikkoman light soy sauce (to your liking)
1 T sake or mirin
3/4 cup potato starch or cornstarch
oil for frying
serve with: lemon wedges. mayo
garnish: cucumber slices
1. Cut the chicken into small bite-size pieces and marinade with the soy sauce, ginger juice and and sake/mirin for about 20 minutes minimum.
2. Coat each piece of chicken in the flour, pressing firmly to coat well.
3. Heat oil in a wok or fryer and fry the nuggets a few pieces at a time in high heat for about 1/2 minute, then turn down to medium heat to finish cooking. As with all food with flour-coating, a second frying will further crisp the coating or skin but remember to do that in very hot oil and for a brief half minute or the meat'll dry out.
4. Drain on paper towels and serve hot as an appetizer with lemon wedges, Japanese mayo and cucumber slices.