Crunchy chicken karaage steamed buns

  • medium
  • 12
  • 45 minutes
Not yet rated

Scott Hallsworth serves up his delicious crunchy chicken karaage recipe (Japanese fried chicken) in steamed buns, complemented with lashings of sriracha mayonnaise and pickled cucumbers to cleanse the palate. This recipe is taken from Junk Food Japan by Scott Hallsworth, published by Absolute Press. Photography by David Loftus.

First published in 2017
discover more:




Crunchy chicken karaage

  • 3 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • potato starch, for coating
  • rapeseed oil, for deep frying

Chicken kara-mara marinade

Steamed buns

  • 20g of fresh yeast
  • 325g of strong white flour
  • 15g of milk powder
  • 2g of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 30g of caster sugar
  • 35g of lard, melted until liquid (or light olive oil)

Sriracha mayo


  • Electric mixer with dough hook


First make the chicken kara-mara marinade by mixing all the ingredients together. Cut each chicken thigh into 4 and rub well with the marinade. Leave for 24 hours, or at the very least, give it a couple of hours to let the flavours develop
To make the bun dough, mix 50ml of warm water with the yeast. Allow the yeast to soften for 3–4 minutes, then whisk in another 140ml of warm water
  • 20g of fresh yeast
Meanwhile, combine the flour, milk powder, baking powder, salt and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and use clean, dry hands to mix well. With the dough hook attached, set the mixer on a medium speed. Slowly pour the yeast and warm water mixture into the dry mix and mix to combine fully. Ramp up the speed a little and slowly pour in the lard (or light olive oil, which will still give you a pretty good result)
  • 325g of strong white flour
  • 15g of milk powder
  • 2g of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 30g of caster sugar
  • 35g of lard, melted until liquid (or light olive oil)
If the mixture looks a little too wet – if you pick it up and it’s just pure goo – then mix in a little more flour; if it’s too dry then drizzle in some more water. Once it’s looking as it should, slow the mixer back down to a medium speed and let it keep on mixing for 20 minutes
Lightly grease a stainless steel bowl and tip your well-worked dough in, cover with cling film and sit the bowl in a nice warm place to double in size. Once your dough has doubled, knock it back, or, to put it simply, give it a punch and knock the air out of it. Work it back into a ball, then stretch it out into a long, snake-like shape
Now, you need to divide the snake up into 30g chunks. Work fast, or the dough will start to rise yet again and we don’t want that just yet
Next, we are going to roll these chunks into balls. Press the palm of your hand down, firmly, onto one of the chunks, and move it around anticlockwise, allowing it to form a ball as you work it. Put the balls in a deep tray lined with baking parchment
Once you have finished rolling, you can either freeze your balls until you need them or carry on with the final stages of the process. If you have chosen to freeze them and want to carry on, then simply defrost and crack on with the next instruction. (This recipe makes 20 buns, so you can freeze 8 to use later anyway)
Position the buns in a warm place, lightly covered with cling film, making sure the film isn’t touching the buns (putting them in a lipped, deep tray is best). Once the buns have doubled in size and look light and fluffy, they are ready to be steamed once you’ve assembled all the other components
Make the mayo by mixing the ingredients together well. Set aside
Preheat a deep-fryer to 180°C
Wipe the majority of the marinade from the chicken then coat well in the potato starch. Rub it in really well, adding more potato starch as required. When you think you’ve given it enough, massage it again; there will be a few damp spots and we want to make sure each and every part of the chicken is rubbed with plenty of starch
  • potato starch, for coating
Carefully drop the chicken pieces into the hot oil and deep-fry for 4–5 minutes – the thickness of your chicken thighs will determine if it’s more or less. Remove and drain well on a perforated tray or wire rack placed over a baking tray. Fry in batches if necessary
While the chicken is draining, steam the buns in a bamboo steamer for 10 minutes
If you have a blowtorch, give the exterior of the buns a little torching. This makes them taste toasty and firms them up a little bit – optional but preferable
Cut your buns through the middle, add a big squirt of the spicy mayo, some iceberg lettuce and sliced green chillies, top with a crunchy chunk of chicken karaage, then give another squirt of the spicy mayo. Serve the pickled cucumbers on the side as a good palate cleanser
First published in 2017

As head chef at the acclaimed Nobu for six years, Australian-born Scott Hallsworth has mastered the ins and outs of Japanese cuisine, which he now showcases in his fun, playful dishes at Freak Scene.

Get in touch

Please sign in or register to send a comment to Great British Chefs.

You may also like

Load more