Japanese Fried Oysters or Kaki Fry (Furai) are one of the popular oyster dishes in Japan during fall and winter. To enjoy the tasty briny morsel at home, juicy oysters are panko-coated, deep-fried until golden brown and served with homemade tartar sauce. They are simply heavenly!
Mention deep-fried oysters, it’s easy to conjure up memories of good food, great tasting beer and fun time. Anyone from the Southern part of the States or have tasted deep-fried oysters would know what I am talking about.
In Japan, we love our oysters too. During fall and winter, we particularly enjoy Japanese Fried Oysters or Kaki Fry (read as Furai, カキフライ). The crunchy, juicy briny morsels are served more casually at home and at teishoku (set meal on a tray) restaurants.
NOT Deep-Fried, It’s BAKED Japanese Fried Oysters!
Frankly speaking, nothing beats perfectly deep-fried foods. Whether it’s coated with thin or thick breading, when the food is dipped in hot oil and cooked until golden brown, it offers you the crunchiest outer texture, juicy tender filling and amazing flavors that are almost impossible to resist. Put it simply, anything deep-fried is just outright delicious.
However, as a home cook, I understand the merit of the baking method:
- It keeps your stove and kitchen relatively clean
- No need to deal with large amount of used oil
- No oily smell throughout the house
- Can avoid “possible” risk of getting burnt by accident
- Friendly on the waistline
So, if deep frying is not your thing, you don’t have to give up on all the delicious food altogether.
Just like my Baked Tonkatsu, Baked Chicken Katsu, and Baked Croquette recipes, these panko-crusted oysters are also oven-baked. It’s the closest technique we can get to achieve the crunchy, deep-fried texture.
In order to get that golden brown deep fried appearance, we first toast the panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) in a frying pan until they turn golden, crisp, and toasty. Then gently dredge the oysters in flour, egg mixture, and toasted panko one at a time. Pop them in the oven for 15 minutes and the Baked Japanese “Fried” Oysters are done!
Enjoy Japanese Fried Oysters with Homemade Tartar Sauce
You may not think of making homemade tartar sauce to go with Japanese Fried Oysters, but this may change your mind. With just a few ingredients and a quick whisk, you get a tartar sauce that beat out the store-bought stuff big time. For a rich tangy flavor, Japanese mayonnaise is a must. I also like to mix in a bit of Karashi mustard to add another complexity to the sauce.
Mr. JOC and I were not a huge karashi mustard fan, but everything changed ever since we started to use powdered karashi mustard. You mix the powder with hot water to make a thick paste. The instruction on the can says to use water, but hot water works so much better. Let it steam a little longer to extract the maximum aroma and flavor. We don’t use a lot of it but the slight trace of karashi mustard in tartar sauce makes a difference.
Now, are you ready for some outstanding oyster treats you can make at home? Serve these baked kaki fries with a bed of shredded lettuce, along with homemade tartar sauce and lemon wedges. If you don’t mind, invite some good friends over and enjoy a delicious time!
Japanese Panko Fried Oysters (Kaki Fry) with Homemade Tartar Sauce
- 1 jar oysters (10 fl oz or 296 ml; contained 7 oysters)
- 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1 large egg (50 g w/o shell)
- 1 Tbsp water (for egg mixture)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make Tartar Sauce (You can make ahead of time):
- Put water in a saucepan, and gently put eggs. Make sure the eggs are completely covered with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, rotate the eggs with a spoon once in a while (tip to note: this is to make sure the egg yolks stay in the center). Once the water boils, lower the heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Discard the water and run under cold water or transfer to iced water to let cool completely before peeling the eggs.
- Peel the eggs and mash the hard boiled eggs with the backside of a fork in a medium size bowl.
- Finely dice the onion.
- The finer the onion is, the better the texture is for this recipe. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes. This helps to remove their pungency and soften their flavor.
- Cut the pickles/cornichons/gherkins into small pieces.
- Finely chop parsley.
- In the bowl with mashed boiled eggs, add the diced onion and pickles.
- Add the parsley, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Japanese mayonnaise.
- Mix all together. Squeeze ½ lemon (about 1 Tbsp) and mix again.
- Combine 1 tsp karashi mustard with ½ Tbsp hot water and mix well. Add the karashi mustard to the tartar sauce to your liking, small portion at a time.
To Make Fried Oysters:
- Drain the oysters well. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC).
- Add the panko in the frying pan and add 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- Toast the panko over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the panko into a bowl or shallow dish and allow to cool.
- Coat the oyster with flour and pat off any excess flour. Then coat the oyster with egg mixture (1 large egg + 1 Tbsp water).
- Lastly coat the oyster with toasted panko on both sides, gently pressing to adhere the batter.
- Bake at 400ºF(200ºC) for 15 minutes. Serve hot with homemade tartar sauce and shredded cabbage (I recommend this cabbage slicer that shreds cabbage super thinly like Tonkatsu restaurant!).