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Out of all the chicken dishes that I prepare, my oldest son’s favorite is this Japanese Mochiko chicken recipe. He always squeals with delight when I tell him that I’m making it. You see, I don’t really care for fried chicken and I don’t make it very often. However, I do really like Mochiko fried chicken and I don’t mind making this treat for him every once in awhile.
What is Mochiko?
Mochiko is a sweet rice flour made from mochigome, a variety of glutinous short grain rice. Even though it is made with a glutinous short grain, this is gluten-free and safe for those on a gluten-free diet. Just make sure the other ingredients used in the recipe are also gluten-free.
What is Mochiko Chicken?
Supposedly, the origin of Mochiko Chicken came from Japanese immigrants in Hawaii and became a popular Hawaiian island dish. It’s made with mochiko that is mixed with soy sauce and various other ingredients. Unlike regular fried chicken, it has a unique salty and sweet flavor with a chewier, yet crisp crust. Mochiko chicken is a popular dish in Hawaii and you’ll often find it made using chicken wings, but I prefer boneless skinless chicken thighs because it’s a bit more satisfying than a tiny little wing 🙂Delicious Mochiko Chicken Recipe.
Items Needed to Make Mochiko Chicken
- Large container or large air tight bag
- Oyster sauce
- Sesame oil
- Green onions
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- Chicken thighs
Mochiko Chicken Cooking Tips
- After making this chicken for years, I prefer the quick marinade method. I just defrost frozen boneless chicken, cut, and wipe off any excess water. Then, I marinate the chicken for 45 min. – 1 hour. This ensures a nice thick crust on the chicken because liquid from the chicken doesn’t thin out the crust mixture.
- If you need to leave this overnight, use a low sodium soy sauce. This will prevent the chicken from becoming too salty. Note that the crust will be thinned by the chicken juices, so add 1-2 T. more of cornstarch.
- Make sure there is enough oil in the pan to cover the tops of the chicken. If the oil does not cover the top of the chicken, the marinade coating will slide off. You want the marinade coating to cook and set in place as soon as the chicken is placed into the oil.
- Chicken crust is not meant to be crispy like U.S. fried chicken, but more of a cross between chewy and crispy. If you prefer a more crispy crust, the chicken can be double fried. Meaning, once all the chicken is cooked, place the chicken back into the oil for about 2-minutes. Remove chicken to rack or paper towel to drain oil. I don’t think this step is needed as the chicken isn’t meant to have a super crispy crust, but it can be done.
- 3 -4 lbs. defrosted boneless chicken thighs, cut in half or thirds and wiped dry
- 2/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup mochiko
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce *see notes
- 2 T. oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 T. chopped green onions
- 2 large eggs
- oil for frying *see notes
- Optional - 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds
- Optional - 1/4 tsp. pepper flakes
- In a large sealable container, combine all the ingredients and mix well. It will be on the thicker side, but will thin out as the chicken marinates. Set aside
- Cut chicken thighs into two or three equal pieces so they cook evenly. Dry chicken with paper towels to remove excess moisture. This will prevent excess liquid from thinning out the batter too much.
- Add chicken to the mix and stir to coat well. Cover the container and let the chicken marinate overnight for a thinner crust or 45 minutes - 2 hours for a thicker crust. I prefer the quick method.
- Remove chicken from refrigerator and stir until all chicken pieces are coated well. The cornstarch may have settled to the bottom, creating a thick paste, but just mix it back up. Note: The mixture will be thinner if marinating overnight as the chicken juices will mix with the marinade. Just make sure you coat each piece with the mix before frying. If doing a quick 45-minute marinade, since the crust will be thicker, use a low sodium soy sauce to prevent the chicken from becoming too salty.
- Place enough oil in your pan to barely cover the chicken when placed in pan. Heat oil on medium-high and fry pieces till golden brown. If the chicken is browning too much, lower the heat to medium. Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes a side. Depending on the thickness of the chicken pieces, total cook time per piece should be 6 -8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve.
- Marinating the chicken for 45 minutes will result in a thicker crust, but it can be salty. If doing a quick marinade time, use low sodium soy sauce (I prefer Aloha soy as it is less intense than Kikkoman). If marinating overnight, you can use low or regular soy sauce. The juices from the chicken will help dilute the soy sauce salt, but will result in a slightly thinner crust.
- Make sure there is enough oil in the pan to just cover the entire chicken. Too little oil will cause the batter to run off the tops of the chicken when placed in the oil.
- I don't use any pepper flakes (kids won't let me), but you can add 1/4 tsp. to add some heat.
- The 1/2 T. of sesame seeds are optional too, but I like to add them in for some extra sesame flavor without it being too overpowering.
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