This tender and juicy Hawaiian Mochiko Chicken will tantalize your taste buds and transport you to the Hawaiian Islands. Succulent chicken thighs are marinated with and dredged in Mochiko flour then fried to golden perfection.
I don’t break out the deep fryer often but when I do you better believe it is worth it. These Fried Panko Coconut Shrimp are always the first appetizers to disappear at any party and there are never any leftovers when we have Orange Chicken for dinner.
Mochiko Fried Chicken
Hi. It’s me again. Just over here dreaming of a Hawaiian vacation and all the wonderful things we ate on Maui 6 years ago. At the top of that list is ahi tuna poke, POG shave ice, and mochiko chicken. I can’t do much about fishing for Ahi here in Canada, or shave ice as finely as they do at Ululani’s but I CAN buy Mochiko flour and deep fry chicken.
One taste of this authentic fried chicken recipe and you will be dreaming of the islands too. This crunchy, yet juicy chicken is the perfect combination of sweet and salty with just a touch of spice. The extra dredging step before frying helps give the chicken a super crunchy texture and deep golden-brown colour.
What is Mochiko Fried Chicken?
Fried chicken. There’s almost no better winner when it comes to chicken dinners. Chicken curry is great, roast chicken is delicious but fried chicken is a revelation. It’s no wonder that fried chicken can be found in many world cuisines. From Dominican Republic chicharron de pollo to German schnitzel and South Indian Chicken 65, the world loves this perfect comfort food.
This tantalizing chicken is the Hawaiian version of the popular Japanese karaage style fried chicken. It consists of small pieces of boneless chicken (usually skinless chicken thighs) marinated in a spicy soy sauce mixture with mochiko sweet rice flour. Once marinated, the chicken is dredged in a dry mochiko flour mixture and deep fried.
In Hawaii, this mouth-watering fried chicken is served ‘plate lunch style’ with sides of rice and macaroni salad. It’s also delicious as mochiko chicken musubi which is fried chicken and sushi rice wrapped in nori.
This mochiko chicken recipe is a combination of regular pantry items plus one specialty ingredient. However, you can find Mochiko flour at Asian grocery stores or order it online from Amazon at the click of a mouse.
- Chicken Thighs
- Soy Sauce
- Black Pepper
- Sriracha Sauce
- Mochiko Flour
- Vegetable Oil
- All Purpose Flour
Ideally, you’ll want to use skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces for this recipe. Dark meat contains more protein and more fat than white meat. This automatically makes it tastier and less likely to dry out during cooking. You can use diced chicken breast for this recipe, just be careful not to overcook it.
If you are watching your salt intake, feel free to substitute low sodium soy sauce for the regular soy sauce and/or omit the salt in the marinade.
Not all mochiko chicken recipes contain hot sauce like Sriracha and you can leave it out completely if you do not want spicy fried chicken. Use a mixture of equal amounts of minced fresh garlic and grated ginger or use garlic ginger paste, for added convenience.
What is Mochiko Flour?
Mochiko, which means ‘mochi flour’ in Japanese, is the glutinous rice flour used to make Japanese sweets like mochi. Even though it is often described as ‘glutinous’, it is gluten free because it is made from ground sticky rice. When rehydrated, the almost flavourless flour becomes sticky with a glutinous texture.
Mochiko flour is a great all purpose flour substitute in gluten free baking, though adding too much will make the baking gummy and off putting. Careful measurement during mochiko substitution is the key to gluten free baking success.
There are a couple of glutinous flours you can use in place of Mochiko flour. However, they are often more difficult to find.
Which Oil is Best for Frying?
There are many different varieties of vegetable oil suitable for frying. Since the ideal temperature for deep frying is 360 F – 375 F, it’s important to choose a neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point.
What is a smoke point? This is the temperature at which heated oil begins to burn, creating a bitter flavour in your food. Smoke point ranges from 325 F and 525 F, depending on what kind of vegetable oil is being used. For deep frying, it is best to choose an oil that has a smoke point of at least 400 F.
The most used vegetable oils with a 400 F (or slightly higher) smoke point include: Canola, Safflower, Cottonseed, or Sunflower oil. Peanut oil is quite affordable but contains a very common allergen, and Avocado oil is very healthy but incredibly expensive.
Corn oil is commonly used for deep frying because it is inexpensive. Sadly, corn oil also contains zero nutritional benefits.
How to Make Mochiko Chicken
Don’t be alarmed at the length of time it takes to make this recipe. The total time includes very little recipe prep time, 8 hours of ‘hands off’ marinating time, and only 10 minutes total cooking time. You’ll find the results worth waiting for!
In a medium mixing bowl combine soy sauce, salt, black pepper, Sriracha sauce, ginger garlic paste, cornstarch, 1/4 cup Mochiko flour, and egg. Use a whisk to ensure they are thoroughly combined. If you like, you can also add sliced green onions to the marinade.
Add the bite size pieces of chicken to the marinade, then cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
While most mochiko chicken recipes marinate then directly deep fry, I have included this additional dredging step to ensure the chicken fries up perfectly golden and crispy. Dredge the chicken while the deep-frying oil is heating up.
To begin, heat 3 inches of oil in a high sided pan to 360 F. Cover a plate with paper towel or have a metal rack over a baking sheet nearby.
In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, corn starch, black pepper, and salt. Drop the marinated chicken pieces and toss them in the dredge, coating them thoroughly.
Deep Frying the Chicken
Carefully lower a portion of the chicken into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan or it will cause the frying oil to lose too much heat. Frying chicken at a cooler temperature will result in oily fried chicken and overcrowding the pan might make the chicken clump together.
Fry the chicken until it reaches a golden-brown colour. Use a slotted metal spoon to remove the chicken to the paper towel lined plate or wire rack. Insert a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 F. Fry for longer if it hasn’t reached that temperature.
Continue frying chicken in batches until it is all fried. Serve chicken hot, with rice and mac salad.
NOTE: I do not suggest air frying this chicken unless you dry the marinade off the chicken before dredging it. You will need to use plenty of oil/oil spray to ensure the chicken does not stick to the air fryer basket. However, the air fryer is perfect for warming up leftover Mochiko Chicken!
If you make this Hawaiian Mochiko Chicken recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
Hawaiian Mochiko Chicken
This tender and juicy Hawaiian Mochiko Chicken will tantalize your taste buds and transport you to the Hawaiian Islands. Succulent chicken thighs are marinated then coated in Mochiko flour and fried to golden perfection.
- 1 lb. chicken thighs; cut into pieces
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- 1 Tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup Mochiko flour
- 1 large egg
- oil for frying
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a medium mixing bowl combine soy sauce, salt, black pepper, Sriracha sauce, ginger garlic paste, cornstarch, Mochiko flour, and egg. Use a whisk to ensure they are thoroughly combined.
- Add the chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
- To fry the chicken, heat 3 inches of oil in a high sided pan to 360 F. Cover a plate with paper towel or have a metal rack over a baking sheet nearby.
- In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, corn starch, black pepper, and salt. Drop the marinated chicken pieces and toss them in the dredge, coating them thoroughly.
- Carefully lower a portion of the chicken into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan (the amount depends on the size of your pan).
- Fry the chicken until it reaches a golden brown colour. Use a slotted metal spoon to remove the chicken to the paper towel lined plate or wire rack. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 F. Fry for longer if it hasn't reached that temperature.
- Continue frying chicken in batches until it is all fried.
- Serve chicken hot, with rice and mac salad.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 627Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 1863mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 42g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.
I can’t believe how delicious this chicken looks. It looks perfect – crunchy, yet flavorful. I can’t wait to make it!!
Winner winner fried chicken dinner! Happy cooking Elaine.
What a fun and unique recipe! My partner and I both love Hawaiian food so I can’t wait to make this later this week. Thanks for sharing your recipe!
I’ve been to Hawaii a few times and I will always be craving the food! When I get a chance to make it at home I jump on it.
These look incredible I just need to find the mochiko flour.
Good luck! It’s honestly not too difficult to find. You may need to go to an Asian market.
These chicken bites were so delicious and packed with flavor. I love how easy these were and perfect for a snack or appetizer!
So great to hear Kathryn. I think they’d be great for a summer picnic or potluck too.
I had a bag of rice flour on hand so I used that in the recipe. The chicken was delicious! It was so crunchy. I have a personal chef client who will just love this recipe. Thanks for sharing it.
Yes, that would be an acceptable GF substitute, though it won’t have the exact texture it will still be delicious fried chicken.
I have not had this chicken before. Sounds very delicious! Sounds like a great new chicken recipe to try!
It’s always great to try something new! Happy cooking!
My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures! Oh my goodness I have to make this…it sounds like heaven! I have to find mochiko flour though I am assuming its the same as sweet rice flour? Thank you for this recipe!
It is basically the same, yes. Enjoy!
It’s my first time hearing about mochiko flour and I’m glad I know it exists now! The chicken was super crispy and the marinade gave it amazing flavor! So good!
So glad you gave this chicken a try and loved it as much as we do. Thanks for letting me know Veronika.
Every time we’ve been to Hawaii I gaze longingly at Mochiko chicken but it always seems to have gluten. I used this recipe but subbed a gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose, and the same with the soy sauce. OMG amazing! Thank you.
Great idea! In fact, you could probably just sub more Mochiko flour for the AP to make it entirely GF. Great tips!
I can’t tell you how much I love the fact that this Hawaiian mochiko chicken uses chicken thighs! They were so juicy and flavorful that it truly elevated my boring salad when I topped it with them.
The best of both worlds! Yes, the thighs are my favourite for cooking (and eating!).
I love a good piece of fried chicken and the flavors in this were incredible. I had not heard of Mochiko flour before now and I loved it.
The Mochiko really makes this recipe. I’m glad you know about this great ingredient now!
What a great idea to use Mochiko flour to dredge the chicken. It got it super crispy and the sauce was bang on!
It truly is a unique ingredient! Well worth searching for.
Ok, I was lazy and just subbed regular all purpose flour – and omg yum. This chicken is so good. I think I’m going to make fried chicken burgers out of it next time.
Yes, it’s still great fried chicken with regular flour but the Mochiko really adds a certain something to the recipe. I bet it would be great to make it as a chicken burger using a whole thigh!
Wow, this Hawaiian Mochiko Chicken recipe looks absolutely delicious! The combination of sweet, salty, and savory flavors in the marinade sounds irresistible. I can’t wait to try making this dish for my family and enjoy a taste of Hawaii at home.
Your whole family will love it Sangeetha. Happy cooking!
So flavorful, crispy, and juicy – the perfect pieces of chicken!
It’s pretty difficult to stop at one piece!
Look at that crunchy texture!! They look irresistible! I’m not a deep-frier, but I’ll totally make an exception for these! Yummy!
Truthfully, I’m not either. I only have a few recipes that I deep fry. If I could make this work in an air fryer, I would!