Kaki Fry is breaded and deep-fried oysters, often eaten with Tonkatsu Sauce, lemon juice, and tartar sauce (or other toppings). It is a taste of winter when oysters are in season in Japan.
Living in the US, we easily forget when a certain food is actually in season and supposed to be harvested because we can buy almost anything any time of the year. In Japan, although that may be becoming true too, it is hard to ignore which food is in season because of its abundance and quality at markets, and at very reasonable prices. Oysters become nice and fat and reach the peak of flavor around February and March, so you definitely have to eat them then in Japan.
We have many different ways to eat oysters during winter. If they are very fresh, we eat them raw since really fresh oysters are not fishy at all. We often eat oysters in Nabe (hot pot) — great in the middle of a cold winter. However, our favorite is Kaki Fry, deep-fried oysters. The distinctive creamy oyster flavor is enclosed inside a hot and crunchy outer layer… yum! You can just squeeze some lemon juice on top if you want, but we recommend that you have them with Tonkatsu Sauce. Oysters are certainly not Tonkatsu, but surprisingly oysters and the sauce match well.
Oysters in the US are sometimes fresh and but are often sold in glass jars at supermarkets year round. It is not hard to find oysters here, so try this next time you see them.
- 1 jar (10oz or 300g) of oysters (about 8 pieces)
- white pepper
- 1 egg
- Panko (bread crumbs)
- oil for deep frying
- Tonkatsu Sauce
- lemon (optional)
- Make salt water (mix 1 litter or 4 cups of water plus 1 tsp salt, not in the ingredients above). Wash oysters in salt water. Drain cloudy water and pat dry well with paper towels. Salt and pepper lightly.
- Coat the oysters lightly with flour, dip in egg, then cover with bread crumbs. Handle gently so that the oysters don't get squashed.
- Heat deep frying oil to 350 F, and deep fry the crumb-covered oysters. You can check the temperature by dropping a bread crumb in the oil. If it comes up to the oil surface right after it's dropped in, the oil is ready.
- Fry until the color turns golden brown and the oysters float in the oil, about 3 minutes, turning a couple times as they cook.
- Serve with Tonkatsu Sauce and lemon if you want.