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Since I was shown how to make tatsutaage (a particular type of Japanese fried chicken with grated ginger in the marinade), I've been tweaking things in the recipe here and there, and this week have arrived at one that produces results I'm very happy with. The only problem is that the starch I coat the chicken with before frying it is accumulating as a thin layer of sediment in the oil which after a while starts to smoke, forcing me to pause, dispose of the oil, wipe everything down, then begin the process from scratch to finish, making the whole process far more time consuming--not to mention impractical for serving big groups that require several batches.

Here's the gist of the process: chicken thighs are sliced into pieces roughly 25 sq. cm on the smooth outward face, and about 2 to 3 cm thick. These are marinaded for 2 to 3 hours in a blend of usukuchi, koikuchi, tamari, sake, mirin, and grated ginger. I place a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat and put about 1.5 cm worth of light olive oil (dat higher smoke point), and when the oil reaches 120C, I start adding the chicken.

The chicken is tossed in tapioca flour and lightly shaken of excess, then placed in the skillet, flipped once, then removed when internal temperature reaches 74C and placed on a plate with paper to let extra oil drain off.

The issue is that because the starch isn't clumped together in any significant way, the excess coming off is not even visible in the oil until it accumulates at the bottom, by which point it has browned and shortly after, things start to smoke. I am confident it is not the oil I use, as I monitor temperature closely and use a significantly lower temperature for this shallow fry than I do for the deep fry method I initially used, which did not cause the oil to smoke.

Any suggestions for managing this that don't require me to stop everything in its tracks, clean up, and then wait for a cast iron skillet full of oil to get back up to temperature before I can finish a batch?

  • Why are you doing the whole "clean halfway" thing? Many types of frying accumulate sediment, I've never bothered to remove it as it charred below the cooked stuff. Did you notice some problem with having the charred starch in there, or did you just never try continuing? – rumtscho Jan 21 '16 at 21:01
  • As I mentioned above, the sediment starts to smoke before I can finish cooking a batch. – user242007 Jan 21 '16 at 21:21
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Its your temp. The high temp of your deep fryer is exactly why your starches are staying put. Why did you choose a cooler temp for your shallow frying?

  • The lower temperature has, at least in my testing, allowed a longer cook time that resulted in significantly juicier, more tender piece of chicken--this is an effect I'd really like to preserve, so what might I do to keep that while increasing the cooking temp? – user242007 Jan 21 '16 at 17:20
  • And the deep fry didn't do that for you? – Escoce Jan 21 '16 at 17:22
  • The result of the original deep fry approach yielded decently moist chicken, but not quite as much as this shallow fry, and the tenderness is quite improved. – user242007 Jan 21 '16 at 17:25

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