Happy Monday, internet family! Did you have a lovely weekend? I certainly did, because it involved these burgers!
Ya see, here in Australia, it’s nearly the end of Autumn. Too cold for a burger, you might think. But actually it’s pretty much the perfect time of year. Bright, sunny days, nice and cool in the shade but warm in the sun, and usually without a cloud in the sky.
But don’t be too jealous of us because the trade-off is that for most of the Spring and Summer it’s literally too hot to think, let alone eat a burger outside. In fact, any hot foods are basically out. It’s grapes and watermelon or bust for about 6 months of the year.
It’s funny that for me, the perfect time of the year for burgers and barbecues actually coincides with you folks up there in the Northern hemisphere! Not something that happens often.
So in the spirit of global togetherness, and eating outside, let’s talk Japanese Fried Chicken! Have you had it? You probably know it as Chicken Karaage, and it’s delicious. Tender pieces of usually thigh meat chicken, marinated in light soy, mirin, ginger and sesame oil, then coated in starch (sometimes cornstarch, sometimes potato starch), and deep fried.
It’s often served with a hefty dollop of kewpie mayo – aka the world’s best mayo – and a squeeze of lemon. Delish.
Now, I love Fried Chicken, but I don’t always love to fry. So my version is shallow fried instead of deep fried. I also used chicken breast instead of the usual dark meat, because it takes less time to cook, which makes it better suited to shallow-frying.
I also tossed some sesame seeds into the coating mixture because their smoky flavour is delicious, and who doesn’t love a little extra crunch?
To top the chicken in my burger, I used a hefty handful of my Sriracha + Coriander Coleslaw because I’m in love with it at the moment, and I can’t seem to stop piling it onto my plate! I think that the combination of the crunchy, spicy coleslaw with the crispy marinaded chicken is kind of perfect.
For a more low-effort option, some sliced cucumber, scallions and butter lettuce would be pretty great. And of course, a very generous slick of kewpie mayo is non-negotiable.
This burger is a symphony of different flavours and textures. The chicken is crispy, aromatic, savoury and tender, and the slaw adds great crunch as well as a little spice. The whole thing is a glorious melding of down-home American cooking and delicious Japanese Izakaya flavours.
I hope you try this one – it’s pretty low-effort cooking for such high-flavour returns! Do you have a crazy burger combo of your own creation? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear about it!
- 2 small chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic, flattened slightly
- ¾ cup cornstarch (cornflour in Australia)
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- 4 burger buns
- Sriracha Coleslaw (recipe linked in post) or other salad, to serve
- kewpie mayo, to serve
- Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally, so each breast becomes two flat breast-sized pieces, about ½ inch thick. Thinner is better, as they will cook through more easily.
- Place the pieces into a bowl, and add the mirin, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Stir to coat everything and leave to marinate for 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
- When you're ready to cook, place the cornstarch and sesame seeds into a shallow dish and stir them together well. Place a large heavy based frying pan onto a medium heat, and pour in enough oil to create a layer just under ½ inch (1 cm) thick.
- To test if the oil is hot enough, place a wooden spoon or chopstick into the oil. If the oil bubbles up gently around the implement that means it's hot enough to cook.
- Working quickly, take a piece of marinaded chicken, dip it into the coating mixture, and turn to coat well on all sides. Shake lightly, to get rid of any excess coating and then carefully place the piece into the hot pan.
- You may need to cook in batches, so as not to crowd the pan, but make sure that each piece goes into the oil as soon as it is coated. If the coating sits around, it will go gluey and won't become crisp.
- Cook each piece of chicken, for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown, crispy and cooked through. If you're not sure, the best thing to do is cut a piece open. Under-cooked chicken is not cool.
- When the chicken is cooked, you can keep it in a low oven on a lined baking sheet, but it's best to serve them up straight away, on a mayo-slicked bun with a big heaping pile of 'slaw! YUM.