Chicken Nanban (Fried Chicken with Soy Vinegar Dressing) 鶏肉の南蛮漬け

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Chicken Nanban | Fried Chicken with Soy Vinegar Dressing Recipe |

Chicken Nanban is a regional cuisine from Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu Island (most southwesterly of Japan’s four main islands) but now it’s a very common dish served all over Japan.
Chicken Nanban  (Fried Chicken with Soy Vinegar Dressing) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.comNanban means “European countries” in old Japanese language.  Portugal, Netherlands, and Spain are the first countries who introduced Western cultures to Japan long time ago, and Nanban Sauce was supposed to be derived from Spanish dish called escabeche.

I usually serve Chicken Nanban with eggplant and bell pepper (eggplant is a must!).   If you can find shiso leaves (Perilla) in Japanese or Korean supermarket, I highly recommend enjoying Chicken Nanban with shiso leaves.  The combination of the chicken, eggplant, bell pepper, and shiso is excellent!  The taste starts with a refreshing flavor of soy vinegar dressing followed by the crunchy fried chicken, and the refined taste of shiso kicks in as a finale.  It’s like a perfectly blended flavor symphony – I really hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Chicken Nanban | Fried Chicken with Soy Vinegar Dressing @

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Chicken Nanban (Fried Chicken with Soy Vinegar Dressing)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2-3
  • 5 chicken thighs
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • ½ cup potato or corn starch (add more if necessary)
  • 1 Chinese long eggplant
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 10 shiso leaves (perilla) (optional)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
Nanban Sauce
  1. Rinse and pat dry chicken and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. Combine the chicken with the seasonings in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Cut the bell peppers into 1 ½ inch pieces.
  3. Slice the eggplant into ½ inch pieces and soak in water for a few minutes to prevent from changing color.
  4. Combine ingredients for Nanban Sauce in a small bowl.
  5. In a large skillet, heat ½ inch of oil over medium high heat. Use paper towels to wipe extra water from vegetables to prevent from oil splatter. Prepare potato/corn starch in a small bowl.
  6. When oil is hot (it’s ready when you dip a chopstick in the oil and see bubbles around the chopstick), dredge the eggplant in potato/corn starch and remove excess.
  7. Deep fry the eggplant until light golden brown. Transfer it to a wire rack or a paper towel. Work in batches and do not crowd the wok. When the eggplant is done, When the eggplant is done, dredge the bell peppers in potato/corn starch and deep fry, and repeat the same for the chicken.
  8. Coat the eggplant, the bell pepper, and the chicken with the Nanban Sauce.
  9. Chiffonade the shiso leaves and garnish on top and serve immediately.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: Pictures updated in August 2012.

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  1. gorgeous photos! you outdone yourself again, Nami. I always show your photos to my friends because they look more appetising than the restaurant photos! is this dish served skewered together, or can be served separately?

    • Hi Shannon! Yes, you can serve separately instead of using skewers – which I normally do. I used skewers for the photos to give some other idea to serve. :)

  2. I can’t believe I missed this post. You know I have been looking for Chicken Namban recipe for a very long time. And finally found it today. You did give the dish a new beautiful presentation, I really like it. I will give it a try soon and will let you know how it turns out. Thanks.

  3. Sylvia

    I read this post only after reading your latest one, on chicken nanban bentos. My kids are full grown now, but they would really have enjoyed the bentos. You are amazing, and I can just imagine how much your children appreciate the bentos!
    I love eggplant and red peppers, and I just happen to have bought some chicken thighs, so I’m making this dish this weekend! Sounds delish!

  4. katie

    Wow Nami these look great! They would make perfect appetiters for a party. Too bad my girlfriend doesn’t like eggplant but if its fried maybe I just won’t tell her what it is so she can try it!

  5. Hi Nami,

    I’ve just discovered your blog while searching for a chicken nanban recipe. I’ve submitted a chicken nanban recipe as well on my blog – a bit different to yours. Yours looks so lovely hors-d’oeuvre style. And I’m intrigued with the addition of shiso leaves. I’ve never had it before nor have I seen it in supermarkets in Singapore. What does it taste like? What would be a good substitute?

    • Hi Ayu! My original pictures for this post was not hors-d’oeuvre style, actually. When I decide to update the pictures, I just played around a bit. 😀

      I don’t think there is any herb that tastes just like shiso. Korean cuisine uses shiso (perilla) too, so you might be lucky to find it in a Korean market. :)

  6. Nancy

    Thank you so much for the recipe, Nami! I was thinking of making something with chicken but in a more balanced way, so I ended up founding your blog. I cooked Nanban chicken for dinner and it was delicious! At first, I was worrying whether the sauce would be too sour but it matched wonderfully with the fried chicken and vegetables. I even had a little bit too much, since I was supposed to cook for dinner and lunch and there were hardly any for the lunch next day after dinner!

    • Hi Nancy! I know, my husband gets worried when I try to add vinegar into sauce (he’s not into sour sauce), but he loves this dish. I’m so happy to hear you enjoy this dish! Thank you very much for your kind feedback. :)

    • Cheryl

      im sorry if I ask too much :( , if i cant find a perilla leaves can i used an ordinary mint leaves? ( is that right?) thank you!!!

      • Mint is not necessary. Perilla leaves go very well with eggplant and this dish in general. Not so much with mint. You can skip perilla leaves if you cannot find it in Japanese or Korean supermarkets (usually those two grocery stores carry them). :)