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Chicken Nanbanzuke.

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

Here's a recipe from my good friend Yumiko Nikaido who lives in Tokyo.

The dish is called chicken nanbanzuke. The word "nanbanzuke" translates roughly as "southern style taste." The nanbanzuke method of cooking originated on the southermost of Japan's main islands, Kyushu, where it was learned from Portugese traders several centuries ago. In Portugal, the method is known as escabeche and consists of a vinegar marinade usually combined with olive oil and herbs - the Portugese traders, travelling very long distances across the oceans no doubt used it to preserve food for their long voyages.

Nanbanzuke dishes usually feature fish, mackerel and salmon being popular choices but it's also used as a way of preparing meat, in this case, chicken. The marinade has a "sweet and sour' tang to it that is unusual in Japanese cuisine but I think you'll find it is a tasty way to flavour chicken. Most recipes will tell you to slice the chicken into strips but I prefer to keep mine hole - that's a personal preference, so if you prefer to serve in smaller pieces, do so once you've marinated the chicken. This dish is normally served with a bowl of white rice although I have an idea, it could be equally good serve on a bed of noodles....but that's another story...sorry, I mean, recipe!

If you think chicken nanbanzuke is something you'd like to try, you can find the youtube tutorial by clicking Chicken nanbanzuke or scroll to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is jsut below.

Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.

For another tasty Japanese chicken dish, why not check out my Simmered Chicken with Daikon?


Chicken Nanbanzuke


(makes 2 servings)

15cm dried kelp

2cm dried chilli

50ml rice vinegar

50ml soy sauce

2 tbsp sugar

50ml japanese cooking sake

1 tbsp mirin

1 onion

50g carrot

1/3 green bell pepper

500g boneless chicken thigh*

1 tbsp vegetable oil

a little salt

* chicken breast works equally well with this dish


how to:

put the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cooking sake & mirin into a small saucepan

using scissors, snip the kelp in half and add it. snip the chilli into pieces and add that too

bring the pan to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave to cool a little, then remove the kelp

halve the carrot lengthways, slice widthways and julienne

halve the pepper lengthways & julienne

spread the vegetables in a shallow dish, pour over the marinade & set aside

tenderise the chicken a little using a steak hammer or the back of the blade of your heaviest kitchen knife. pierce the flesh a few times with a fork then season with the salt

heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chicken and fry over a medium heat for 7-8 mins or until lightly browned

turn the chicken over and cook for 7-8 mins. make sure the chicken is cooked, then remove from the heat

add the chicken to the marinade and marinate for 30 mins, turning the chicken a few times

your dish is now ready - serve with white rice. you can cut the chicken into 1.5cm strips before serving if you prefer that effect


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