Hawaiian Fried Chicken (Mochiko Chicken with Ponzu)

  • Serves

    serves 4


The chicken for this Japanese homestyle dish is traditionally coated in mochiko, sweet rice flour, before frying, but cooks at Ethel's Grill in Honolulu, Hawaii, use Japanese potato starch to yield an extra-crispy crust. This recipe first appeared in our May 2014 issue with the story Blue Plate Special.


For the Ponzu

  • 12 cup soy sauce
  • 14 cup bonito flakes
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. mirin
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 (2") piece kombu
  • 1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and grated

For the Chicken

  • 14 cup sake
  • 14 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 12 small white onion, grated
  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
  • 1 12 cups katakuriko (Japanese potato starch)
  • Shredded cabbage and cooked white rice, for serving
  • Canola oil, for frying


Step 1

Make the sauce: Boil all ingredients except ginger in a 2-qt. saucepan. Remove from heat and let cool; strain and stir in ginger.

Step 2

Make the chicken: Whisk sake, soy sauce, sugar, and onion in a bowl; stir in chicken. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 5 hours.

Step 3

Heat 2" oil in a 6-qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Working in batches, remove chicken from marinade and dredge in potato starch; fry until crisp, 3–4 minutes. Transfer chicken to paper towels to drain; serve with ponzu sauce, shredded cabbage, and rice.

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