The fresh Toriten, chicken tempura is especially delicious since the outside is light and crispy, and the inside is so tender. This dish, along with Karaage are two of the local specialties in Oita Prefecture. The chicken breast is so tender and the garlic really brings out the flavor.
First, let’s prepare the chicken. Pierce the skinless chicken breast in numerous places with a fork.
Pound the meat with the back of a knife to tenderize it. We used the less fatty chicken breast to make the tempura healthier but chicken thighs are also used in Toriten.
Cut the chicken in half lengthwise. Then, cut the chicken across the grain into about 10 long pieces.
Cutting across the grain will create a more tender texture so people from all generations can enjoy the dish.
Next, place the chicken pieces into a bowl. Add the salt, sugar, sake, grated garlic and ginger root.
Toss to coat with the seasonings. Then, let the chicken sit for about 30 minutes.
Let’s make the batter. In a mesh strainer, combine the cake flour, potato starch and baking powder. Sieve the flour mixture into a bowl. The baking powder will give the fried batter a pleasant light texture.
Next, add the cold water to the beaten egg and mix. Add the diluted egg to the flour mixture.
Mix until all the flour is moistened. Now, the batter is ready.
Let’s make the Toriten. Drop a small bit of batter into the oil to check the temperature. If the temperature is right, small bubbles gently form around the batter immediately.
Now, place half of the chicken pieces into the bowl with the batter.
Coat the chicken with the batter and gently place the chicken into the oil one piece at a time.
When the batter has firmed up, flip the pieces over.
Deep-fry them for a total of about 2 minutes. The chicken is cut into thin strips so it's ready in a relatively short time.
Remove and drain the oil from the Toriten. This serves 1 person. As for the other half of the chicken, coat it with the batter and deep-fry as well.
Place the Toriten onto a plate along with the shredded vegetables and the lemon wedge.
Enjoy the Toriten with the karashi hot mustard dissolved in the ponzu citrus sauce. Alternatively, you can use a vinegar and soy sauce mixture instead of the ponzu.
Toriten is a local dish in Oita Prefecture and each household is likely to have a slightly different recipe but most of the recipes use egg in the batter.
If you deep-fry the dish with a small amount of oil, the oil temperature will easily change so you should adjust the heat frequently.
Kabosu, a type of sour citrus is also one of the Oita’s specialties. Ponzu sauce using the kabosu juice along with karashi also goes great with Toriten. If kabosu isn’t available, use your local sour citrus, for example lemon, yuzu or lime instead.