Crispy Chicken Cracklin’s with Ponzu

If you’ve never been, Izakayas are the Japanese equivalent of a tapas bar or pub. They serve alcohol, but they also make a variety of regional small plates to go with the booze. If you like having a lot of variety without spending a ton of money, these are the places to go.

A typical izakaya meal starts off with various otsumami (snacks) followed perhaps by some sashimi, or a salad. Next you’d get something a bit more substantial like kushiyaki or nabemono then finish off with a rice or noodle dish like ochazuke or ramen. This dish is a fairly typical otsumami you might have with some beer or sake and combines crisp deep fried chicken skins with some spicy grated daikon and a citrusy ponzu sauce.

It might sound counter intuitive, but with all the moisture gone and most of the fat rendered out, they turn out light and crisp with the wonderful flavor of browned chicken. A great way to use up a part of the chicken that might otherwise get thrown out.

daikon radish
powdered red chili pepper
chicken skins
oil for frying
chopped scallions
ponzu

Grate the daikon using a fine zester such as a Microplane. Combine with a bit of powdered chili pepper to give it a pink color and set aside.

Thoroughly dry the the chicken chicken skins using paper towels then cut them into 1/4″ wide strips.

Heat 1/2″ of oil in a heavy bottomed pan to 350 degrees F. Carefully lower individual strips of skin into the oil and fry until they are golden brown and aren’t bubbling any more (the bubbles indicate there is still moisture escaping). As they finish frying, transfer them to a paper towel lined plate.

To plate, just put down some fried cracklin’s and top with a pinch of grated daikon and some scallions. Drizzle a bit of ponzu on top and serve immediately with some beer or sake.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Ah, I’ve been interested in the izakaya way since I ate in one! I’ve wanted to buy Mark Robinson’s book. But I’ve never thrown away chicken skin– they’re the best part! :)

    • marc

      I picked up a copy of the book when it came out. It has some cool ideas in it, and I like how he interviews izakaya owners, but it’s a pretty thin book.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Ah, I’ve been interested in the izakaya way since I ate in one! I’ve wanted to buy Mark Robinson’s book. But I’ve never thrown away chicken skin– they’re the best part! :)

    • marc

      I picked up a copy of the book when it came out. It has some cool ideas in it, and I like how he interviews izakaya owners, but it’s a pretty thin book.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    fantastic looking dish. the last time i went to an izakaya place, i ate so much kushiyaki and drank so much beer, i felt like the biggest glutton in the world!

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    fantastic looking dish. the last time i went to an izakaya place, i ate so much kushiyaki and drank so much beer, i felt like the biggest glutton in the world!

  • http://colloquialcookin.canalblog.com/ Colloquial Cook

    J’ai achet√© du daikon hier!! I think I’m going to try the noodles as option one, then braiser them with soy sauce and mirin or something like that. Fried cracklings sound exciting to me, but my doctor would kill me :-)

  • http://colloquialcookin.canalblog.com/ Colloquial Cook

    J’ai achet√© du daikon hier!! I think I’m going to try the noodles as option one, then braiser them with soy sauce and mirin or something like that. Fried cracklings sound exciting to me, but my doctor would kill me :-)

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com/ Darius T. Williams

    Chicken cracklin? Hmmmm – makes my mouth water!

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com Darius T. Williams

    Chicken cracklin? Hmmmm – makes my mouth water!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    ohhh. i can only imagine the flavor… sounds amazing. i love cracklin in any form. and there’s that daikon again! yum.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    ohhh. i can only imagine the flavor… sounds amazing. i love cracklin in any form. and there’s that daikon again! yum.

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com/ Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella

    I adore izakayas ever since I first stepped foot in one many years ago. I miss not having several handy! I’m liking the sound of this one a lot! My other favourite was Nankotsu in the small ball form (chicken white bone) sprinkled with Tabasco. Even thinking about it makes me hungry :)

    • marc

      Ohh yea I love nankotsu too:-)

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella

    I adore izakayas ever since I first stepped foot in one many years ago. I miss not having several handy! I’m liking the sound of this one a lot! My other favourite was Nankotsu in the small ball form (chicken white bone) sprinkled with Tabasco. Even thinking about it makes me hungry :)

    • marc

      Ohh yea I love nankotsu too:-)

  • http://www.dinnerwithkirsten.com/ Kirsten

    Yumm, I’m going to have to track down an izakaya restaurant! I’ve never heard of it before. :P But this recipe looks amazingly simple and yummy. I’ll have to try! Thanks!

  • http://www.dinnerwithkirsten.com Kirsten

    Yumm, I’m going to have to track down an izakaya restaurant! I’ve never heard of it before. :P But this recipe looks amazingly simple and yummy. I’ll have to try! Thanks!

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  • http://whiteonricecouple.com/blog White On Rice Couple

    You just hit the nail on the head with this one, OMG. We just LOVE izakaya’s, just can’t get enough of it. Best is when Todd’s Aikido dojo goes to meet up at our local Izakaya joint, it’s all so crazy good and fun!
    We took Manggy to one when he was in LA!
    This dish looks totally amazing! Wow, now all we need is a nice cold beer and sake to follow!

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com/blog White On Rice Couple

    You just hit the nail on the head with this one, OMG. We just LOVE izakaya’s, just can’t get enough of it. Best is when Todd’s Aikido dojo goes to meet up at our local Izakaya joint, it’s all so crazy good and fun!
    We took Manggy to one when he was in LA!
    This dish looks totally amazing! Wow, now all we need is a nice cold beer and sake to follow!

  • http://www.applepiepatispate.com/ Jude

    This is the most nicely plated chicken skin dish I have ever seen. Good stuff and dangerously addictive.

  • http://www.applepiepatispate.com Jude

    This is the most nicely plated chicken skin dish I have ever seen. Good stuff and dangerously addictive.

  • http://www.practicallydone.com/ helen

    Izakayas are pretty popular in Vancouver as well. We’d often recommend them to our out-of-town guests.

    Is there a good Izakaya-style recipe book (in English) that you would recommend?

  • http://www.practicallydone.com helen

    Izakayas are pretty popular in Vancouver as well. We’d often recommend them to our out-of-town guests.

    Is there a good Izakaya-style recipe book (in English) that you would recommend?

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com/ Peter

    Great to learn that the Japanese also have a type of meze (appetizer) in the cuisine. For me, it’s the most enjoyable way to dine.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com Peter

    Great to learn that the Japanese also have a type of meze (appetizer) in the cuisine. For me, it’s the most enjoyable way to dine.

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