Our karaage chicken donburi recipe makes a Japanese fried chicken rice bowl – steamed rice is topped with chicken karaage or crispy twice-fried chicken and a Japanese style cabbage and cucumber salad, then sprinkled with sesame seeds, finely sliced roasted seaweed and bonito flakes, and generously squirted with creamy Kewpie mayonnaise. It makes a fantastic filling lunch or casual dinner on the sofa.
This karaage chicken donburi recipe for a Japanese fried chicken rice bowl – a donburi is a rice bowl meal – is for those of you who liked the idea of our Japanese fried rice bowl with karaage chicken and Japanese fried rice and jammy soft boiled eggs, but fried rice with fried chicken was one too many fried components for you.
I’ve used steamed Japanese rice in my karaage chicken donburi recipe, which still makes a filling meal, but lightens things up a bit – as does the Japanese style cucumber and cabbage salad instead of jammy soft-boiled eggs, as much as we love those. Whereas that was a Weekend Eggs meal (although it can really be eaten anytime), this is more of a filling lunch or casual dinner dish.
My karaage chicken donburi recipe was created to use up leftover karaage chicken we had, along with leftover cabbage cucumber salad – and if you made those dishes and have leftovers, this dish will come together in fifteen minutes, the time it takes to cook some steamed rice, re-heat the fried chicken and assemble the bowls.
If you don’t, and you’re starting from scratch, it’s going to become a bit of a cooking project, so buy a bottle of sake and make double, so that you’re creating leftovers to repurpose. Make the karaage and cucumber salad the first night, and perhaps this Japanese potato salad, then the next day make this karaage donburi and the day after the karaage, fried rice and eggs.
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Karaage Chicken Donburi Recipe for a Japanese Fried Chicken Rice Bowl
This karaage chicken donburi recipe may have developed as a result of me getting creative with leftovers, but, yes, it’s a sign that I’m still dreaming of returning to Tokyo and travelling in Japan, which explains why we’ve been cooking more Japanese comfort food dishes.
Our fondest memories from our Tokyo travels are slurping ramen in a busy lunchtime noodle joint, tucking into juicy tonkatsu in a shopping mall tonkatsu place, and downing sakes in between feasting on an array of small plates at a boisterous izakaya. All far more fun than kaiseki.
So, yes, I confess, we’re building this collection of Japanese recipes – which includes recipes for everything from Japanese classics such as tonkatsu with tonkatsu sauce to this Japanese breakfast favourite tamago kake gohan or Japanese egg on rice – for ourselves as much as for you.
We have also been doing a bit of ‘inflation cooking’, which appears to be the next big trend since quarantine cooking, due to price increases courtesy of Putin’s war in Ukraine, global supply chain bottlenecks that began during the pandemic, and the cost-of-living crisis being experienced in many countries.
All that means is that we’re making an extra effort to reduce our kitchen waste, use up all our leftovers, and turn one meal into two or three. I’ll have more to say tomorrow on inflation cooking and will share some budget cooking tips we’ve picked up during our decade or so living in Southeast Asia.
Japanese food is perfect if you’re inflation cooking, especially if you’re still heading to an office to work or it’s safe enough where you live to be able to send your kids to an actual school, you can pop leftover fried chicken, rice and Japanese salad into a bento box for one, which always makes eating fun. Just a few tips to making this karaage chicken donburi recipe.
Tips to Making this Karaage Chicken Donburi Recipe
I only have a few tips to making this karaage chicken donburi recipe as you’ll find a super detailed recipe, below, plus if you click through to the original chicken karaage recipe and cucumber cabbage salad recipe, you’ll find lots of tips in both posts if anything’s not clear, below. Or you can leave a question in the comments.
Of course, if you’ve already cooked those, then it’s just a matter of reheating leftovers, and assembling everything in a rice bowl. If you don’t have any traditional Japanese donburi bowls, I highly recommending buying some, especially if you’re planning on making more donburi or rice bowl dishes, such as oyakodon, the Japanese ‘chicken and egg’ rice bowl, and katsudon, the pork cutlet and egg rice bowl.
You will need to have established a Japanese pantry for this dish, as you’ll be using some of the most quintessential Japanese ingredients, starting with Japanese rice. I also recommend buying a rice cooker if you don’t have one, as it really is the best way to steam rice.
If you don’t have a pantry of Japanese essentials, then stocking up on the key Japanese ingredients in these dishes is a good excuse to start one.
Begin with ingredients that our karaage chicken donburi recipe calls for, such as Japanese soy sauce, Japanese sesame oil, Japanese rice vinegar, and mirin; kizami nori, the shredded roasted seaweed or finely sliced roasted seaweed or nori sheets; bonito flakes and shichimi togarashi, the Japanese 7 spice blend (we like the S&B brand); white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds; a furikake Japanese seasoning; and Kewpie mayonnaise.
I’d also add tonkatsu sauce and panko breadcrumbs to that shopping list. Incidentally, Terence is currently setting up a shop on Grantourismo with our recommended pantry staples for our favourite cuisines. We’ll let you know when that’s open!
Karaage Chicken Donburi Recipe
Japanese fried chicken
- 2 cm knob of ginger crushed
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 500 g chicken drumettes
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper freshly ground, to taste
- ½ cup potato starch or corn starch
- vegetable oil for deep frying
Cucumber cabbage salad
- 150 g cucumbers deseeded, diced, salted, and drained
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 300 g white cabbage shredded
- 8 scallions or spring onions green part only, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger finely grated
- 2 roasted seaweed or nori sheets thinly cut with scissors
- 3 tbsp black and white sesame seeds half-half
- 1 tsp Shichimi Togarashi Japanese Seven Spice
- 1 tbsp Japanese sesame oil
- 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 2 cups Japanese rice
- 1 tbsp black and white sesame seeds half-half
- 1 tbsp roasted seaweed slices
- 1 tsp bonito flakes
- 2 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise
- Marinate the chicken in a non-reactive mixing bowl: combine the crushed ginger and garlic, soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, sugar, and chicken drumettes, and set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
- Make the cucumber cabbage salad: slice the cucumbers, sprinkle salt on them and set them aside; in a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, scallions/spring onions, grated fresh ginger, roasted seaweed, and sesame seeds. Make the dressing by combining Shichimi Togarashi Japanese Seven Spice, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin. Squeezed the sliced cucumber of excess liquid then add it to the salad, pour on the dressing, combine everything, taste, adjust seasoning if needed, then pop it in the fridge so the flavours meld and cabbage softens.
- Return to the chicken: spread the potato starch, salt and pepper out on a tray. Shake the marinade off the chicken to remove any ginger or garlic pieces. Roll the chicken in the potato starch mixture, ensuring all the pieces are fully coated before placing them in the fridge for an hour. If you have leftover potato starch apply it to the chicken as the chicken will absorb the potato starch.
- Put the rice on to steam in a rice cooker. When it’s done, use a fork to fluff it up, close the lid, and leave it until you’re ready to assemble your rice bowl.
- Finish the chicken: heat the oil in a deep fry pan or deep fryer to 165°C (330°F). Give the chicken pieces a light shake before adding them carefully to the oil. Do not crowd the pan; if the pan is small, cook the chicken in batches. Fry for around 2 minutes, after which the chicken should have a pale brown colour. Transfer the pieces to a wire rack and repeat until all the chicken pieces have been cooked. Remove any loose pieces of coating from the deep fryer as these may burn at a higher heat.
- Increase the heat to 180°C (355°F) and re-fry the chicken pieces for a minute per batch. The chicken should be a light golden brown with a crispy skin. Check that the chicken has reached 74°C (165°F) then transfer the pieces to the wire rack again.
- Assemble the dish: distribute the steamed rice between bowls; use tongs to transfer the chicken pieces to the bowls; drop a couple of generous scoops of cucumber cabbage salad beside the chicken; sprinkle on some sesame seeds, sliced roasted seaweed and bonito flakes, and squirt on some Kewpie mayonnaise. Serve immediately – with sake or Asahi.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make this karaage chicken donburi recipe for a Japanese fried chicken rice bowl as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.