The flavour of my Fried Chicken Tenders Wrapped in Nori is similar to Karaage Chicken, but a strip of nori (roasted seaweed) is wrapped around each piece of chicken. It has a hint of flavour from the sea.
I talked about two types of Isobe-age dishes in my post Chikuwa Fishcake Tempura (Chikuwa Isobe-age).
One type of Isobe-age is a deep-fried ingredient coated in batter with aonori (dried seaweed flakes) mixed in. Another type of Isobe-age is made by wrapping a piece of meat in a strip of yaki nori (roasted seaweed). Chikuwa Isobe-age is the former and today’s recipe, Chicken Isobe-age, is the latter.
Wrapping each piece of chicken with yaki nori adds an extra step to making of standard fried chicken, but such a small amount of nori changes the flavour of the fried chicken. It is so tasty.
Chicken tenderloin is considered to be the healthiest part of the chicken meat with the lowest fat content, but it tends to become very dry when cooked. In today’s recipe, I tried to cook juicy chicken tenderloin. Here are the secrets.
Secret to Cooking Juicy Chicken Tenderloin
There are a couple of things to prevent your Fried Chicken Tenders from getting too dry.
Add mayonnaise to the marinade:
Mayonnaise is mainly made of egg, vinegar, and oil. Oil and vinegar are hard to mix and separate easily. The emulsification process produces mayonnaise with a smooth and creamy texture.
This emulsification of mayonnaise and the oil in it makes the chicken tender and juicy.
Fry the chicken at low temperature:
This is the technique I used to make Karaage Chicken. Cook at about 160-165°C/320-329°F first, then at the end, fry at 190-200°C/374-392°F to crisp up the surface of the chicken.
Meat becomes dry when cooked at high temperature. Cooking your chicken at low temperature first keeps the moisture within the flesh better. That’s how a slow cooker makes the meat juicy and tender.
What’s in my Fried Chicken Tenders Wrapped in Nori (Chicken Isobe-age)
- Chicken tenderloin, diagonally sliced into 3-4 batons
- Strips of yaki nori (roasted seaweed sheet)
- Corn flour/cornstarch
- Oil to fry
- Cooking sake
- Soy sauce
- Ginger juice (juice from grated ginger)
Depending on the size of your chicken tenderloin, the number of batons you get might be different. You will need the same number of nori strips as chicken pieces.
I had 12 chicken pieces, so I cut 1 sheet of yaki nori into 12 strips. Halve the sheet, then halve it perpendicular to the first cut, making 4 sheets. Cut the pile into 3 strips of equal width.
My yaki nori was so crispy that I did not have to use scissors or a knife to make strips. I simply folded it to cut.But if you like, you can pile 4 sheets together and cut the pile with scissors.
How to Make Fried Chicken Tenders Wrapped in Nori (Chicken Isobe-age)
Although it was deep-fried, the depth of oil was only 1-1.5cm/⅜-⅝”. As long as half of the chicken pieces submerge in the oil, that’s sufficient. See the video.
- Put the chicken pieces and all the Marinade ingredients in a bowl or a zip lock bag and mix well. Leave for 15 minutes.
- Wrap a yaki nori strip around each chicken piece in the middle.
- Coat the chicken pieces with corn flour.
- Heat oil in a pan at 160°C/320°F and fry the chicken for a few minutes, then transfer the chicken to a tray.
- Bring the oil to 190°C/374°F and fry the chicken pieces for only about 30 seconds to brown the surface of the chicken. Transfer the chicken pieces to the tray.
You don’t have to use mayonnaise to make chicken isobe-age. The flavour is still great. But when I compared the same dish made with and without mayonnaise, the tenderness of the chicken was notably different. Unless you have food restrictions, I do recommend adding mayonnaise to marinate your chicken.
Fried Chicken Tenders Wrapped in Nori is a perfect nibble for drinks too. It is also a great dish for a bento box. They are still very tasty even if served cold.
Watch How To Make It
The flavour of my Fried Chicken Tenders Wrapped in Nori is similar to Karaage Chicken, but a strip of yakinori (roasted seaweed) is wrapped around each piece of chicken. It has a hint of flavour from the sea. See the video.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 300g/0.7lb chicken tenderloin (tendon removed, note 1)
- 12+/- strips yaki nori (note 2)
- 2-2½ tbsp corn flour/cornstarch
- Oil to shallow fry
Diagonally slice each chicken tenderloin into 3 strips (note 4), then put them into a bowl.
Add all the Marinade ingredients to the bowl and mix well ensuring that the marinade coats each chicken piece. Marinate for 15 minutes.
Taking one piece of marinated chicken at a time, wrap a strip of yaki nori around the middle of piece of chicken.
Coat each piece of chicken with corn flour/cornstarch. Rolling the chicken piece on the corn flour/cornstarch makes it easy.
Fill a frying pan with oil to 1-1.5cm/⅜-⅝" deep (note 5) and heat to 160°C/320°F (note 6).
Put the chicken pieces in the oil and cook for about 1.5 minutes. Turn them over and cook for 1-1.5 minutes. (note 7)
Transfer the chicken pieces to a tray with a rack or a tray lined with kitchen paper.
Bring the temperature of the oil up to 190°C/374°F (note 6).
Return the chicken pieces to the oil and cook for about 30-40 seconds. Turn the chicken pieces over after 15-20 seconds (note 8). The chicken should be golden brown. (note 7)
Transfer the chicken to the tray. Serve while hot.
1. Please see my post Marinated Chicken Tenderloin, which explains how to remove the tendon out of chicken tenderloin. I used 4 chicken tenderloins that weighed 305g/0.7lb.
2. You will need the same number of yakinori strips as the number of chicken pieces. I cut each tenderloin into 3, making 12 chicken pieces in total. So, I made 12 yakinori strips from 1 sheet of yaki nori.
Please see the photo in the post, which shows how I cut a sheet into 12 thin strips.
3. I used kewpie mayonnaise as it has less acidity compared to Western-style mayonnaise. Mayonnaise prevents the chicken from getting dry when cooked, resulting in soft and tender flesh. You can omit mayonnaise if you prefer.
4. If your chicken tenderloin is large, you may need to cut it into 4 pieces. My chicken strips were about 2.5cm/1" wide and the length was anywhere between 7cm/2¾" and 10cm/4". They don’t have to be the same size, but they look better if the size of the chicken pieces are similar.
5. You only need to submerge the chicken pieces halfway. If your chicken pieces are thin, you may need only 1cm/⅜" deep of oil. If they are thicker, 1.5cm deep of oil will be better.
6. I used a thermometer as well, but you can check the approximate temperature by putting a thick bamboo stick upright in the oil, as demonstrated in the video. If tiny bubbles around the bamboo stick are coming up gently, it is about 160°C/320°F. If many bubbles around the bamboo stick are coming up rapidly, the oil is about 190°C/374°F.
7. If your frying pan is small, you can do this in two batches.
8. If you are putting the chicken pieces in the oil one by one, by the time you put the last chicken piece in the oil, you will need to turn the first chicken piece over.
9. Nutrition per serving. It assumes that the vegetable oil absorbed into the fried chicken is about 8% of the weight of the chicken.
serving: 195g calories: 374kcal fat: 21g (27%) saturated fat: 2.5g (13%) trans fat: 0.1g polyunsaturated fat: 5.9g monounsaturated fat: 11g cholesterol: 112mg (37%) sodium: 552mg (24%) carbohydrates: 6.6g (2%) dietary fibre: 0.6g (2%) sugar: 0.1g protein: 35g vitamin D: 0mcg (0%) calcium: 13mg (1%) iron: 0.9mg (5%) potassium: 571mg (12%)