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Mochiko Chicken

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?

Mochiko chicken on tray

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. Click to Tweet
Mochiko Chicken Ingredients
I skin/debone chicken thighs myself and use it to make chicken stock.

Items Needed to Make Mochiko Chicken

  • Large container or large air tight bag
  • Spoon
  • Tongs 
  • Oil
  • Mochiko
  • Oyster sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Green onions
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • Garlic
  • 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.
Japanese Mochiko Chicken
Japanese Mochiko Chicken

Mochiko Chicken

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Japanese style fried chicken made with mochiko crust.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

    1. mochiko chicken raw ingredients 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
    2. Cut chicken thighs in half 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.
    3. mochiko chicken marinade 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.

Notes

    • 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.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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    43 Comments

    1. Aloha! Born & raised in Ewa!

      Question….how do you get a little thicker crust but with the same marinade overnight flavor/taste? Do i add more mochiko flour?

      1. Hi Edith, I prefer doing the 45 minute short marinade with low sodium shoyu. If you want to marinate overnight, you could definitely add a bit more mochiko and cornstarch to help with the liquid that comes out of the chicken for a thicker crust.

    2. Thanks for letting me know to only marinate for 2-3 hours for a thicker crust! I’ve been marinating over night and it was really thin. Thanks for the advice!

    3. Hey! Just browsing through and I think the picture you put up with the recipe for this dish isnt showing properly.. Just wanted to bring to your attention (: Would love to give this a try!

    4. I’m making this now. I just so happened to have all the ingredients. I was wondering if instead of red pepper flakes if adding a little siracha or red pepper paste would work to give it a little kick. Also was thinking of using the ckn to make tacos. Could you recommend a garnish? Maybe a cabbage type of slaw? Anything come to mind?

    5. Just wanted to let you know I’ve featured this post this week at our What We Eat Wednesday Link Party! Have a wonderful week 🙂
      -Kayla

    6. That chicken looks delicious! I love different coatings for covering chicken with and this looks great. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great weekend!!

    7. That look so delicious!!! Might have to give it a try!! Thanks for linking up to the first “Stumble Into The Weeked” Link up!!

      Mandy

    8. OK, this one has me intrigued! I have never been able to find the Mochiko in my area. The first time I looked for it was to make an ice-cream filled Mochi. The rice flour I bought instead didn’t work well, but then I found a “glutinous” rice flour that worked better. Hoping that works for this as well. Can’t wait to try it! 🙂

      1. If you were able to make mochi from the “glutinous” flour, you should be okay. This is going to give a crispy and chewy crust at the same time. The cornstarch and mochiko will settle at the bottom, but just mix it again before frying.

    9. Your Mochiko Chicken looks awesome, I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing your special recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great week and come back soon!
      Miz Helen

    10. I love this recipe because it looks awesome and you can do all the prep work the night before! This would save me so much time! Pinning it right now!
      I would love it if you’d link this up to the Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop–it just went live a couple minutes ago!

    11. Love this! I had never heard of mochiko. Can you find it in a quality grocery store (I have wegman’s and safeway here) or should it be ordered online?

    12. I am squealing right along with him – this looks fantabulous!!!! Thank you for linking up with us at the #WWDParty and sharing this great recipe. Have a wonderful weekend!

    13. wow that recipe looks delicious! I am always looking for new chicken recipes -I am going to try it soon! thanks!

    14. My family loves chicken and on some days am just our of ideas of what to make that tastes different and has texture. the pictures look amazing and the recipe is looks very easy…this is definitely something i will make. Thanks for sharing this on the pin junkie link party!

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