My grandmother, the best cook I have ever known, was famous (in our family, at least) for ensuring that no one ever walked away from her table hungry. Mostly because by the time you were finished eating, you couldn’t walk. There’s a reason why I’m called Sumo, folks.
In restaurants, this dish is known as chicken kara age. Normally, it looks like a plate of wings and mini drumsticks; my version is made from chicken breasts. I just find it easier that way – no annoying bones to worry about.
1 lb boneless and skinless chicken breasts/chicken thighs (cut into small pieces/cubes)
3 inches fresh ginger (peeled and pounded with a mortar and pestle to extract 2 tablespoons of ginger juice)
3 tbsp soy sauce
6 tbsp sake
1/8 tsp sesame oil (optional)
Corn starch to coat the chicken
Oil for deep frying
Use paper towels to pat dry the chicken pieces and transfer to a bowl. Add in sake, ginger juice, soy sauce, sesame oil (optional) and marinate for 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces out of the marinate and coat them evenly with corn starch. Shake off excess.
Heat up a wok/pot of cooking oil (I have a deep fryer, which is a helluva lot easier). When the cooking oil is hot enough for frying, drop the chicken pieces into the oil and quickly deep fry them until they float. Transfer them out onto a plate and wait for a couple of minutes. Put the chicken back into the oil and deep-fry until golden brown and crunchy. Dish out to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil, serve hot with a slice of lemon and mayonnaise.