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Air Fryer Chicken Karaage Rice Bowl with Miso Glaze

This recipe creates a delicious and satisfying Japanese-inspired bowl with crispy air fryer chicken karaage, fluffy sushi rice, and a refreshing cucumber salad, all drizzled with a sweet and savoury miso glaze.

jess-web-air fryer chicken karaage

Japanese cuisine has long been celebrated for its delicate balance of flavours, textures, and presentation. Among its myriad offerings, karaage — Japanese-style fried chicken — holds a special place. Traditionally deep-fried, karaage boasts a crispy exterior and succulent interior, making it a beloved comfort food in Japan and beyond. This recipe is a modern twist on this classic dish: an air fryer chicken karaage rice bowl with miso glaze, a culinary fusion that brings together the best of tradition and innovation.

Just a heads up, this post contains Amazon affiliate links. Don’t worry, these are products I personally love and recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Happy cooking and thanks for supporting Culinary Cartel!

The Allure of Air Fryer Chicken Karaage

Karaage, a term that loosely translates to “Tang fried,” has roots that trace back to the 17th century. Initially inspired by Chinese cooking techniques, it has evolved into a distinctly Japanese dish. The secret to perfect karaage lies in its marination process. Chicken pieces are typically marinated in a blend of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and other seasonings, infusing the meat with rich, savoury flavours. After marinating, the chicken is coated in a mixture of flours and deep-fried until golden brown.

However, the health-conscious trend and the advent of air fryers have prompted many to seek alternatives to deep frying. Enter the air fryer — a gadget that promises the crispy texture of fried foods with significantly less oil. This recipe allows you to create a delicious air fryer chicken karaage with a fraction of the guilt.

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The Role of Sushi Rice

No Japanese-inspired rice bowl would be complete without sushi rice. Known for its sticky texture and slightly sweet flavour, sushi rice serves as the perfect base for this dish. The preparation of sushi rice is an art form in itself. The rice is rinsed multiple times to remove excess starch, cooked to perfection, and then seasoned with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. This process ensures each grain is plump and flavourful, creating a foundation that complements the other elements of the bowl.

The Refreshing Cucumber Salad

Balancing the richness of the chicken and the subtle sweetness of the rice is a refreshing cucumber salad. Made with baby cucumbers, rice vinegar, miso paste, and a hint of sugar, this salad offers a crisp, tangy contrast. The optional addition of chopped chilli provides a spicy kick, making it a versatile component that can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. The salad adds a refreshing element to the dish and contributes a vibrant splash of colour, enhancing the visual appeal of the bowl.

The Magic of Miso Glaze

Miso, a fermented soybean paste, is a staple in Japanese cuisine. It brings a depth of umami flavour that is unique and irreplaceable. In this recipe, a miso glaze made with white miso paste, honey, and rice vinegar is drizzled over the air-fried chicken. This glaze marries the sweetness of honey with the savoury, slightly tangy notes of miso, creating a harmonious blend that elevates the dish. The glaze enhances the flavour of the karaage and gives it a glossy finish that makes the bowl visually enticing.

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Assembling the Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Karaage Bowl

The beauty of the air fryer chicken karaage rice bowl with miso glaze lies in its assembly. Each component — sushi rice, crispy chicken karaage, cucumber salad, and miso glaze — brings a unique element to the dish. Flavour and texture are fundamental aspects of how different tastes, aromas, and mouthfeels interact to create a harmonious eating experience. Balance and contrast are key to achieving culinary delight. The interplay of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami flavours can elevate a dish, while varying textures such as crispy, creamy, crunchy, and tender provide sensory diversity that keeps the palate engaged. When combined, each element of this recipe ensures each bite is satisfying and delightful.

To assemble the air fryer chicken karaage bowl, the cooked sushi rice is divided between serving bowls, forming a fluffy, aromatic base. The air-fried chicken karaage, coated in the luscious miso glaze, is then placed on top. The cucumber salad is added, providing a refreshing crunch. Finally, a drizzle of the remaining miso glaze ties everything together, ensuring every bite is a balanced blend of sweet, savoury, crispy, and refreshing.

Tips for Success

While this recipe is straightforward, a few tips can help ensure success. 

  • Marinating the chicken for at least 15 minutes is essential for infusing it with flavour, but marinating overnight will yield even better results. 
  • When preparing the sushi rice, patience is key. Allowing the rice to sit covered after cooking ensures it achieves the perfect texture. 
  • Air frying the chicken in a single layer prevents overcrowding and promotes even cooking, resulting in a perfectly crispy exterior.
  • If you’re pressed for time, using pre-cooked sushi rice or a heat-and-eat bag of white rice can be a convenient alternative. Additionally, leftover sushi rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheated gently before serving.

Shop the Equipment

These are Amazon affiliate links of the products I personally love and recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Instant Vortex Plus VersaZone Dual Air Fryer

Rate This Air Fryer Chicken Karaage Rice Bowl with Miso Glaze

If you made this air fryer chicken karaage, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so I can see what you come up with.

Want to try some other miso recipes?

Decadent Miso Udon

Vegan Miso Ramen

Gochujang Rice Cakes Stuffed With Cheese

Happy cooking!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs for the karaage?

Yes, you can use chicken breasts, but thighs are recommended for their juiciness and flavour. If you use breasts, monitor the cooking time closely to avoid drying out the meat.

Can I use tofu instead of chicken?

We haven’t tried this, but a firm tofu should be perfect. You can then also substitute the honey with a vegan alternative for a delicious Japanese-inspired vegan meal. Let us know if you try it and how it turned out!

How long should I marinate the chicken for best results?

For the best flavour, marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes. For deeper flavour, you can marinate it overnight in the refrigerator.

Can I use regular white rice instead of sushi rice?

Yes, you can use regular white rice. To save time, you can use a heat-and-eat bag of your favourite white rice or purchase cooked sushi rice from a supermarket sushi counter.

What can I substitute for rice vinegar in the sushi rice?

You can use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar as substitutes, though the flavour will be slightly different. Add a teaspoon of water to cut the acidity for the sushi rice and cucumber salad.

Is there an alternative to air frying the chicken?

Yes, you can bake the chicken in the oven. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) on convection. Place a rack on top of a roasting dish and place the chicken on the rack. Position the rack close to the element in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, turning the chicken halfway to ensure even cooking, crisping, and browning.

Can I make the cucumber salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the cucumber salad a few hours ahead of time. Store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the bowls.

How can I store leftovers?

Store leftover chicken karaage, sushi rice, and cucumber salad in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. The chicken and rice can be stored for up to 3 days, and the cucumber salad for up to 2 days.

How do I reheat the leftover sushi rice?

Reheat the leftover sushi rice gently in the microwave or in a steamer. Add a little water to the rice to prevent it from drying out.

Can I make the miso glaze in advance?

Yes, you can make the miso glaze ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Can I adjust the sweetness of the miso glaze?

Yes, you can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less honey according to your taste preference.

Is it possible to make this dish gluten-free?

Yes, to make the dish gluten-free, use gluten-free soy sauce and substitute the plain flour with a gluten-free flour blend.

Can I add other vegetables to the bowl?

Absolutely! Feel free to add other vegetables like edamame, shredded carrots, or avocado to the bowl for added nutrition and variety.

What kind of miso paste should I use?

White miso paste is recommended for its mild flavour, but you can use yellow or red miso paste for a stronger flavour if you prefer.

How do I prevent the chicken from sticking to the air fryer basket?

Spray the air fryer basket with neutral oil like canola, rapeseed, or sunflower oil before adding the chicken pieces to prevent sticking.


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Air Fryer Chicken Karaage Rice Bowl with Miso Glaze


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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 portions

Description

This recipe creates a delicious and satisfying Japanese-inspired bowl with crispy air-fried chicken karaage, fluffy sushi rice, and a refreshing cucumber salad, all drizzled with a sweet and savoury miso glaze.


Ingredients

Units

Chicken Karaage:

  • 450g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 knob (3 -4 cm) ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup corn flour (cornstarch)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour

Sushi Rice:

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cucumber Salad:

  • 200g baby cucumbers, diced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Chopped chilli (optional)

Miso Glaze:

  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Garnishes (optional)

  • Sliced spring onion
  • Korean Red Pepper Powder (Gochugaru) or chilli flakes

Instructions

Time Hack: sushi rice is a large component of this recipe, which is otherwise quick and easy. Save time by using a bag of precooked jasmine rice instead

  1. Marinate the chicken: In a bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, white pepper, and half the toasted sesame seeds. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to overnight for deeper flavour.
  2. Prepare the sushi rice. Rinse the sushi rice quickly 3 – 5 times in cold water until the water runs mostly clear. Drain for 30 minutes in a fine-mesh strainer.
  3. Combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add the water to a pot and bring it to a boil. Add rinsed rice and stir gently once. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot tightly, and simmer for 13 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes without lifting the lid.
  5. Transfer the cooked rice to a large, shallow dish or baking sheet to cool. Slowly drizzle the vinegar mixture over the rice. Use a spatula to fold the rice gently, incorporating the vinegar mixture without crushing the grains. See Tips for Success above for a tip to skip the long rice prep.
  6. Prepare the chicken karaage: While the rice cooks, add the corn flour and plain flour to the marinated chicken pieces, mixing to ensure even coating.
  7. Air fry the chicken: Preheat your air fryer to 200°C (400°F). Place the coated chicken pieces in a single layer, avoiding overcrowding. Air fry for 12 – 15 minutes, turning the pieces after 10 minutes to ensure an even golden brown and that the chicken is cooked through.
    OR
  8. Making the chicken in the oven: Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) on convection to ensure air circulation. Place a rack on top of a roasting dish and place the chicken on the rack. Raising the chicken off the roasting dish allows the hot air to circulate and cook the chicken evenly. Position the rack close to the element in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, turning the chicken halfway to ensure even cooking, crisping, and browning.
  9. Make the cucumber salad: In a bowl, combine the cucumber, rice vinegar, miso paste, sugar, and chopped chilli (if using). Toss to coat and set aside.
  10. Prepare the Miso Glaze: Heat the honey in a small bowl, then whisk in miso paste and rice vinegar until smooth. Remove the chicken from the air fryer and toss through the miso glaze to coat.
  11. Assemble the Bowls: Divide the cooked sushi rice between bowls. Top with crispy chicken karaage with the refreshing cucumber salad, and drizzle with the flavourful miso glaze. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Leftover sushi rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or a steamer before serving.
  • Adjust the amount of chilli in the cucumber salad to your spice preference.
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 55 min
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Air fryer
  • Cuisine: Japanese
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