Mochiko Chicken

hawaiian fried chicken

In culinary school, it’s mandatory to do some sort of externship in order to complete your certification program. I was lucky enough to head to Hawaii to learn from Chef Mark Oyama and his crew at Mark’s Place and Contemporary Flavors Cuisine on Kauai. This was probably the most I have ever learned in all of my culinary program: I owe at least 85% of my kitchen knowledge to my Kauai family. It’s also the reason why I think culinary school isn’t necessary at all and if you want to cook and learn there’s no better way than to just get a kitchen job off the bat – but this is a discussion for another day.

One of the things I remember making was mochiko chicken: it’s hands down the best fried chicken in all the land, mainland and islands combined! It’s sweet, savory, crunchy and heavenly. If mochiko chicken were a commercial it would be like an herbal essence commercial, it just transports you to another level of deliciousness. I wouldn’t even take Jollibee’s chickenjoys over it and I am Filipino so I’m definitely going against some unknown Filipino code of conduct by saying that!

You might be wondering what mochiko is; basically it’s a sweet glutinous rice flour made from mochigome rice and traditionally used to make Japanese pastries and sweets but for Hawaiian’s it’s perfect for fried chicken kine tings! The guide is fairly simple: mix everything together, marinate at least 4 hours then fry the suckers up!


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Frying Pot
  • Spider strainer or something to fish out the chicken from frying
  • Paper towels for soaking excess oils and wire rack


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Shoyu
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup Mochiko flour
  • 1/4 cup Mirin
  • 2 tbsp Grate Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • Sprinkle of Salt
  • 8-10 Chicken thighs – skin on, bone in or boneless is your choice. If boneless, cutting into cubes is not necessary but you can for a better bit sized experience, we like to keep them whole though.

It’s basically equal parts shoyu, sugar, cornstarch and mochiko flour the rest of the things are optional but builds a great flavor! You can make it spicy and add gochujang.

Disclaimer: these are rough estimates of measurements, I rarely measure but I do stick to the ratio as its non-negotiable…sort of…


  1. Combine everything but the chicken in the bowl and mix together. You are looking for a mixture that resembles loose peanut butter, thick but a little runny.
    • My mix is too thick! – Add equal parts of shoyu and mirin to the mix to thin out, little by little!
    • My mix is too thin! – Add equal parts of mochiko flour and cornstarch to thicken it up.
  2. Toss chicken in and marinate for at least 4 hours. Best if overnight!
    • Pro Tip: if storing a bowl of this in the fridge takes too much room, try ziplock bags!
  3. Optional step: after the chicken has been marinating combine equal parts of flour and cornstarch and give the marinated chicken a final dredge before putting it in the fryer.
    • Pro Tip: I like using this method with bone in chicken thighs to give it more of a “bucket of fried chicken” feel to it. Otherwise you can go from marinade straight to the fryer, not as crispy but same deliciousness.
  4. Heat your oil to about 350F and fry them until crispy and dark golden brown.
  5. Drain any excess oil by placing fried pieces on a paper towel lined pan or wire rack.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Try it With:

  • Make a mochiko chicken rice plate by pairing with white rice and mac salad!
  • For whole boneless chickens, make chicken sandwiches with kewpie mayo spread on some brioche buns.


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