Ginger and karashi mustard chicken, shown here on a bed of Japanese lemon-herb risotto -

Ginger Karashi Chicken

In Recipe by Sean12 Comments

Ginger Karashi Chicken

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Looking for the risotto recipe that you see in the photos? Click here!

I have a tendency to think a little too big when I start planning a recipe. As a result, I often have to winnow down to get to something manageable. Other times, I luck out and realize that I’ve actually ended up with two awesome recipes instead of one.

When I started working on this, I had a basic ‘chicken-and-rice-with-a-twist’ dish in mind. But when we tried the chicken, we (the Diversivore household, that is) realized that it would be amazing on its own as an appetizer. Basically, it’s a sweet, tangy, mustardy boneless chicken bite, and it puts a run-of-the mill chicken wing to shame. If you put out a plate of these at a party, they will be obliterated. You may notice a guest surreptitiously sneaking the plate off to another room. Make extra.

Now don’t get me wrong – the rice in the picture above is good. Scratch that, it’s phenomenal (here’s the recipe). In fact, I had to run to the computer and start working on the write up in order to force myself to stop eating it. But I digress, and I don’t want to take away from the chicken. The two dishes are spectacular together – very different, but highly complimentary – but they both stand so well on their own that I had to present them that way.

These awesome little chicken bites are a great example of the versatility of Japanese ingredients. Using nothing but good quality Japanese pantry staples and a little bit of Japanese karashi mustard (which is kind of a staple), you get something that comes together very fast and leaves you licking your fingers (and possibly the plate) with satisfaction.

Recipe Notes

Regardless of whether you’re serving this as an appetizer or main, the preparation is the same.

As I always do, I recommend using a good quality mirin and not one of the overly sweet corn syrup-based varieties. If you can’t get good mirin, use sweetened sake (check out the mirin pantry page for more on this substitution).

Ginger juice can be made by grating fresh ginger and squeezing out the juice, either by hand or with some kind of small press (garlic and citrus presses work well). If you want to extract a large quantity of juice, add ginger to a blender or food processor, then drain the juice with a fine sieve or cheesecloth bag. The juice should be an opaque yellow colour, free of any bits of skin or fiber from the root itself.

As mentioned above, these work beautifully on their own or with a simple starch, but they also partner fantastically with the Japanese lemon herb risotto shown in the picture. Believe it or not, I made both together on a weeknight, so don’t be afraid to dive in.

Karashi Mustard & Wheat

I use a readily available dried/powdered karashi mustard that is just pure, ground mustard seeds. I personally recommend that you use the same thing, as it has a long shelf-life and can be stored in the pantry. It’s also quite easy to prepare. There are pre-prepared karashi mustard pastes available in squeeze tubes, but it’s worth noting that these have a number of added ingredients, including (in some cases) wheat. If you’re looking to keep this meal wheat or gluten-free, be sure to use dried mustard, and always check you labels.

If you’re new to using karashi mustard or you want to explore it in a bit (or a lot) more detail, check out the Diversivore Ingredient Page all about it.

Nutritional info is given for a large appetizer or small meal single serving (1/4 of the total recipe).

Nutrition Facts
Ginger Karashi Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 204 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 565mg 24%
Potassium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0.1g 0%
Sugars 2g
Protein 22g 44%
Vitamin C 0.1%
Calcium 0.1%
Iron 7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

Plenty of good stuff to say here!  Low in fat, sugar, salt, and calories, these put fatty/salty/sweet chicken wings to shame.

Not much really! I will say that the serving size is fairly small, but even if you double it you’re getting a pretty healthy meal overall. Enjoy.

Ingredient Pages

No ingredient pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

Pantry Pages

  • 30 minute meal
  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten free

Note: Dry karashi mustard is generally free of other ingredients, but pre-prepared pastes may contain wheat and other additives. Be sure to check your ingredient labels.

5 from 2 votes
Ginger and karashi mustard chicken, shown here on a bed of Japanese lemon-herb risotto -
Ginger Karashi Chicken
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
50 mins
Tangy, sweet, a little hot - these are packed with flavour and surprisingly healthy. They also show how versatile and easy to love Japanese ingredients can be.
Course: Appetizer, Main Dishes
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: easy, ginger and mustard chicken, japanese mustard chicken, recipes with karashi mustard
Servings: 4 as a main or an appetizer
Calories: 204 kcal
  • 500 g boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp karashi mustard powder
  • 1 tsp water
  • 2 tbsp ginger juice see note
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper freshly ground, to taste
  • 1.5 tsp vegetable oil or other neutral cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sake
  1. Trim the thighs of fat and any small bone fragments. Cut the cleaned thighs into 2 or 3 equally-sized pieces. Season the meant with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Mix karashi powder, water, and ginger juice into a thin sauce. Toss the the chicken in the sauce and set aside to marinate for 20-30 minutes.
  3. While the chicken marinates, combine the mirin, rice vinegar, and sake, and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil over medium-high in a large pan, then add the chicken flat-side down and sear until browned and easily released from the pan (about 2-3 minutes). Turn and sear the other side until browned (about 2 minutes).
  5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the liquids (mirin, sake, and rice vinegar) to the pan. Cook until the chicken is done and the sauce has been reduced to a thick glaze (about 4-5 minutes). Spoon some sauce over the chicken during cooking. Remove the chicken and serve as an appetizer, or over a rice or noodle dish (like Diversivore's Japanese lemon-herb risotto!).
Recipe Notes

Ginger juice can be made by grating fresh ginger and squeezing out the juice, either by hand or with some kind of small press (garlic and citrus presses work well). If you want to extract a large quantity of juice, add ginger to a blender or food processor, then drain the juice with a fine sieve or cheesecloth bag. The juice should be an opaque yellow colour, free of any bits of skin or fiber from the root itself.

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  1. If I can’t find car-crashy mustard, can I make my own? I have an old clunker I’d like to get some insurance money out of.

    You really have a way with tempting dishes. Please make this as an appetizer and invite me to your party.

    1. Author

      Thanks Jeff! I’d love to invite you over, but I can’t guarantee that these would make it from the kitchen to the guests. They might mysteriously disappear en route. And as for the mustard, you can use any old clunker, but make sure to drain all the fluids first. 5-W-40 is not what I have in mind when I call for ‘oil.’

  2. I love this twist on boring old chicken, Sean! And that it’s a simple enough recipe. I’ve never heard of Karashi mustard but I’m definitely going to grab some the next time I’m at the Asian market 🙂

    1. Author

      Thanks Terri! It certainly is simple enough, and it karashi mustard is easy to find and easy to work with. I’m sure that you could substitute English hot mustard as well, but I like to go for diversity (as I’m sure you could guess). Thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment!

  3. Yeah, I can totally see these tasty little chicken bites “mysteriously” disappearing if I ever make them at home… they sound like they’re the perfect combination of interesting flavours, but in a very familiar and approachable format.
    I’ve never experimented with karashi mustard before, but I will have to put it on my list for my next trip to the Japanese market. I always try to come home with something new anytime I go!

    1. Author

      Oh totally. On their own and without any rice or sides, they’ve a lot like little boneless chicken wing bites (actually, the glaze itself would probably be AMAZING on wings), and they’re pretty easy to gobble up. I think you’ll have fun experimenting with karashi – the little tinned S&B brand stuff is very easy to find. I’m just like you too – I have a hard time leaving a Japanese market without buying something new to try. I keep wanting to buy rice bran to make Japanese bran pickles (nuka-zuke) but I’ve managed to hold off thus far. I’m almost out of mirin though, so I’m about to be tempted again….

  4. ooh..chicken bites made with mirin? Ginger karashi definitely sounds great and would be a perfect combo from the asian perspective of flavours.

    I’ll have to try this! though, first I think I need to get more mirin and find some kirashi mustard.

    1. Author

      Thanks Lillian! I think the flavours do work really well – the pungent, aromatic, clean taste of ginger is awesome against the earthy bite of the mustard. Any Asian grocery store should have you handled for both mirin and karashi, but if you can hit up a Japanese store specifically your odds of finding quality mirin go up a great deal. As I mention in the pantry page (I’ll link again here) for mirin, the most commonly found corn syrup-based stuff is not my favourite ingredient to work with.

  5. I need to run down to E-mart and stock some more Japanese ingredients…especially this karashi mustard powder!! This looks like a totally do-able dish for a weeknight. My mouth is watering, good thing I’m going out for ramen in about an hour 🙂

    1. Author

      Mmmmm, ramen…. That’s something I’m going to have to play with on here one of these days. You’re right – this is very doable on a weeknight. In fact I think I might just make it again this week, as I have everything I need AND a shortage of time 😀
      Thanks for coming by and commenting Bernice!

    1. Author

      Thanks for pointing that out Becca – I’ll add a little note below the gluten-free tag and add a bit of information to the text instead of removing the GF indicator altogether, as the powder is pure mustard and I want people to know that they still have a gluten-free option here. Thanks for taking the time to comment and contribute!

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