Recipe for crispy vegan karaage, or Japanese popcorn chicken

14 Mar 2022

@japanvegantown profile image

vegan karaage Photo: Japan Vegan Town

Recipe for vegan karaage adapted from Japan Vegan Town

There’s a tactile pleasure in tearing into piping hot deep fried food – and we’re here to tell you that it’s not something you have to give up if you’re going vegan. After all, the real pleasure is in the crispy golden brown layer, and no animal-origin ingredient is actually needed to achieve that.

Take your cue from karaage – or Japanese fried chicken. While the traditional version uses chicken (and occasionally other types of meat), the dish actually derives its flavor from a marinade that’s entirely plant-based. Also, no eggs are used to form the crispy deep fried crust. This means that yes, you can replicate the taste and texture of karaage without involving animal lives.

The recipe below calls for using soybean meat but you can use chunky meat replacements like seitan. Other substitutes in the recipe can include using potato or corn starch instead of kudzu powder, which gives the dish its finger-licking crispiness. Here’s the recipe.

See also: For author Momoko Nakamura, veganism in Japan is closely tied with nature

Serves 5


15 pieces of soybean meat
1-2 pieces of grated garlic
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1.5 cups of soup stock
An appropriate amount of kudzu powder
2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce
An appropriate amount of frying oil


Soak the soybean meat in boiling water for 10 minutes, squeeze and drain it afterwards.

Make the marinade by mixing the soup stock, soy sauce, grated garlic and ginger in a cooking pot.

Simmer the soybean meat in the cooking pot, slowly boil it until the soup is well absorbed.

Sprinkle kudzu powder on it and fry at 180 degrees until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with a wedge of lemon or vegan mayonnaise on the side (optional).

Japan Vegan Town

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chavonne7 MONTHS AGO