Love fried chicken? You’re going to absolutely love this Japanese-style Fried Chicken with Scallion Soy Sauce (Yurinchi). It has an insanely crispy thin crust and succulent meat and is served in an awesome tangy sauce. My family can’t get enough of it, and I hope it will be your favorite too.
There are so many styles of Japanese fried chicken. Can you name them all? We have the well-known Karaage (JFC), the home-cooked favorite Chicken Katsu, the Portugese-inspired Chicken Nanban, and so on. It’s impossible to pick a side, but everyone in my family is obsessed with Fried Chicken with Scallion Soy Sauce (ユーリンチー).
Sure, it shares similar qualities as the other fried chicken: thin, ultra-crisp crust around a juicy interior, but the sauce is what sets it apart. The vinegary sauce cuts the grease and magically makes the fried chicken a light dish. You just have to try it once, and you’ll know I wasn’t joking about it!
Why You’ll Love This Fried Chicken with Scallion Soy Sauce:
- Super crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside
- Similar to Karaage, but with a delicious sauce
- The savory tangy sauce is addicting on its own (you want to drizzle it over everything!)
- Easy to put together
Known as Yurinchi (油淋鶏, ユーリンチー), this dish is an adaptation of the famous Chinese fried chicken originated in Guangdong, a coastal province in South China. It is sometimes written as 日式油淋鶏 which translates to “Japanese version of oil-drenched chicken”.
In Japan, you’ll most likely find this dish being served at Japanese-Chinese restaurants that serve chuka ryori. Since not many people are familiar with the Chinese name Yurinchi, some restaurants named it Chicken Karaage with Negi Sauce (唐揚げ香味ねぎソース) on their menus.
The Delicious Scallion Soy Sauce
The ingredients for the sauce are very simple:
- Sesame oil
- Scallion (I use the white bottom part of Tokyo negi also known as long green onion)
- Rice vinegar
- Soy Sauce
- Optional—ginger, garlic, or dried red chili pepper. I make variations of this sauce by changing up the opt-ins. You can use all three ingredients, or just one like I did today for this recipe.
This amazing sauce doesn’t last long in our house at all. You’ll notice the amount in my recipe is slightly more than you need for two chicken thighs, but we enjoy drizzling the extra sauce over the chicken, the rice, and other dishes such as:
How to Make Fried Chicken with Scallion Soy Sauce
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Chicken: I always use boneless, skin-on thighs, but you can make it with skinless thighs, or butterflied chicken breast. Japanese fried chicken is typically made with skin-on chicken as the skin gives extra flavors and it gets crispy when deep-fried
- Seasonings (soy sauce, sake, salt, and pepper)
- Potato starch or cornstarch
- Oil for deep-frying
- Scallion soy sauce (the white bottom part of the Tokyo negi or scallions, sesame oil, dried red chili, sake, rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce)
Overview: Cooking Steps
- Make the scallion soy sauce: chop scallions and cook it with seasonings.
- Prepare the chicken by marinating with the seasoning.
- Coat the chicken with potato starch.
- Deep-fry the chicken until golden.
- Cut the cutlets into smaller pieces and serve with scallion soy sauce.
5 Helpful Cooking Tips
- Prick the chicken skin using a fork or the tip of a knife. This helps the marinade reach the meat under the skin more easily.
- Invest in an instant-read thermometer (and kitchen scale). You can easily avoid mistakes and failure by having these two items in the kitchen.
- Shake off any excess potato starch when you coat the chicken. Any extra starch will separate from the chicken and turn into crumbs as soon as you add it to the oil. So it’s best to shake it off before adding the chicken to the oil.
- Deep-fry the chicken skin-side down. When I tried deep-frying the chicken with the skin-side up, the skin separated from the meat. From my experience, the chicken looks better when it’s deep-fried skin-side down first.
- After deep-frying, the remaining heat will cook the chicken even more. Therefore, you don’t have to fully cook the chicken in the oil; or else, the chicken will become dry. Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165ºF (74ºC).
Frequent Asked Questions
Can we bake the chicken instead of deep-frying?
Since it’s not a wet batter/breading, you can lightly brush the chicken with oil and bake in the oven.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Add chicken and cook for 30 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until crisp and golden brown, 15 to 30 minutes longer, flipping a few more times towards the end.
Do we have to use potato starch or cornstarch?
In Japan, we use potato starch for karaage (or a mixture of both potato starch and wheat flour). If you can’t find potato starch, you can use cornstarch as it’s more common in the U.S. I haven’t tried other starches, so I can’t give any recommendations.
How do you dispose the used oil?
We bring the used cooking oil to the local recycling center where they collect cooking oil. So that’s one thing you can check in your area.
If the local garbage company recommends to throw away, then here are some options:
- Use this Japanese oil waste cooking oil powder that can solidify the oil. You can read how to use it in my How to Deep-Fry post.
- Pour the cooled, used oil in a jar (keep your big pasta sauce jar!) and dispose.
I’m worried about deep-frying. Do you have a tip?
I am comfortable with deep-frying but this is after years of cooking and deep-frying. I believe you will learn fast through practicing and making many mistakes, and you will get better at it. I have the deep-frying guide page where I share some tips. Hope it’s helpful.
What deep-frying pot do you use?
I’ve gone through a couple of pots over the years and I have liked two kinds so far.
- Staub Cast Iron 2.75-qt Round Cocotte — I chose this matte black color so I don’t mind if it gets dirty. It has a perfect size for deep-frying cutlets (such as chicken katsu or tonkatsu) and the shallow depth means I don’t need to use a lot of oil to fill it up.
- Summit Iron Beijing Wok Stir Fry — This wok is a recent addition to my kitchen and I love using it for stir-frying and deep-frying! Compared to the Staub Cocotte I mentioned above, the oil heats up really fast due to the thin carbon steel pan. The size is similar to the Staub, so I like this for the same reason.
Kitchen Tools from MTC Kitchen
I’ve partnered with MTC Kitchen to introduce quality kitchen tools for your everyday Japanese cooking. You will get 10% off with a coupon code JOC10 for your purchase. In this post, I’ve used:
What to Serve with This Fried Chicken Recipe
- Spicy Japanese Pickled Cucumbers
- Asparagus with Miso Dressing (Karashi Sumisoae)
- Chrysanthemum Greens and Tofu Salad (Shungiku Shiraae)
- Green Bean Gomaae (Sesame Dressing)
Fried Chicken with Scallion Soy Sauce (Yurinchi)
For the Scallion Soy Sauce (enough for 3 chicken thighs)
For the Fried Chicken
- 2 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs (1 lb, 454 g for 2 pieces; ask a butcher to debone the chicken thighs at the grocery store; you can also use skinless chicken thighs or 1 chicken breast, butterflied and cut in half)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp sake
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 4 Tbsp potato starch or cornstarch (highly recommend potato starch for all kinds of Japanese fried chicken)
- 2 cups neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make the Scallion Soy Sauce
- Cut and separate the white and green parts of the Tokyo negi and keep the green part for another use. Thinly slice the white part of the negi.
- Cut one end of the dried red chili pepper and shake it to discard the seeds inside. Cut into thin rounds. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the white part of the negi and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the red chili pepper and stir-fry for 15 seconds.
- Add the sake, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer for 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Set aside. You will reheat the sauce again right before you serve the fried chicken. The sauce is plenty for 3 thighs. If you have an extra, keep the leftovers to drizzle on other dishes (tofu, fish, etc.)
To Make the Fried Chicken
- Put the chicken skin side up in a tray or flat container. Prick the chicken skin using a fork or the tip of a knife. This helps the marinade reach the meat under the skin more easily. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Add the sake and soy sauce to the chicken and coat it well. Set aside.
- Add the oil to a medium pot (I used this carbon steel pot) and bring it to 340ºF (170ºC) over medium heat. If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, you'll know the oil is the right temperature when you insert a wooden chopstick into the oil and small bubbles appear around it.
- While heating the oil, prepare the potato starch in a shallow tray or container and coat the chicken with potato starch, pressing the starch onto the chicken and shaking off any excess. The potato starch will absorb the moisture from the chicken and adhere nicely while waiting for the oil.
- When the oil reaches 340ºF (170ºC), gently put one piece of chicken into the oil, skin side down, and cook for 5 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Don't touch or flip the chicken for the first 30 seconds until the coating has set. Why do we deep-fry only one piece at a time? You don't want to reduce the oil temperature drastically by adding too much food to the oil at once. Scoop up and discard any fried crumbs in the oil with a fine-mesh skimmer so the oil does not get darker and dirtier with burnt crumbs.
- Halfway through, flip the chicken. Keep watching the oil temperature and make sure it doesn’t go higher than 340ºF (170ºC) or else the chicken will brown too quickly while the inside will remain undercooked.
- After 5 minutes, transfer the chicken to a wire rack or a plate lined with paper towels and let it sit to remove excess oil. The hot oil on the exterior will slowly continue to cook the meat as it sits. After the fried chicken has rested for 3 minutes, check to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165ºF (74ºC) with an instant-read thermometer. Repeat with the second piece of chicken.
- Cut the fried chicken into pieces ¾ inch (2 cm) wide and transfer it to a plate. Reheat the Scallion Soy Sauce and drizzle it on top of the chicken. Put the extra sauce in a small bowl and bring it to the table for those who like extra sauce. Enjoy!
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for a month.