Chicken Nanban is a dish that features succulent boneless fried chicken, marinated in a sweet and tangy “nanban” sauce, and then topped with homemade Japanese tartar sauce. Chicken Nanban is a popular dish famous across all of Japan, that originated in Nobeoka, a city in Miyazaki Prefecture located on the Pacific Coast in Kyushu. Miyazaki, a city that is known for is known for its scenic coastline, fragrant bougainvilleas, and palm trees, is also famous for many types of food prepared with local ingredients.
When preparing Chicken Nanban, make the tartar sauce first and refrigerate it so that it has cooled down when you serve it over your chicken. The homemade sauce uses minced fried onions that will be hot, so when combined with the other ingredients the sauce will be warm and runny until refrigerated. The other ingredients in the tartar sauce include Japanese cucumber and hard boiled egg- both minced finely – and mixed in with rice vinegar, Japanese mayonnaise and salt and pepper.
The secret to soft and succulent chicken is to coat it in egg and then dip it in flour. The coating keeps the chicken soft and the nanban marinade soaks into the coating which enhances the flavor. You can use whole chicken breast or if you prefer, smaller pieces of thigh meat. The coating will keep the chicken breast moist, so either breast or thigh will come out moist and tender when you fry it.
The nanban sauce is simple to prepare. Just heat the ingredients in a pot so that the sugar dissolves and bring to a light boil. Once the sauce is heated up, put it aside to use as a marinade. When the chicken comes out of the fryer, toss it in the marinade until the chicken is moist and takes on a darker color.
Final preparation is easy. You can plate the chicken into individual servings or bring it out on one serving platter. I usually plate on top of lettuce leaves- the nanban sauce makes a great dressing and can be enjoyed with the chicken. Top with a generous portion tartar sauce – either chilled or at room temperature. Unlike the condiment, Japanese nanban chicken tartar sauce can eaten on its own.
Chicken Nanban is a wonderful meal to enjoy with your family anytime, and it also makes a great appetizer you can enjoy with a cold beer.
Try this amazing Kyushu recipe and let me know what you think by commenting below.