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Chicken Nanban with Sweet-and-Sour Tare & Tartar Sauce

Servings: 4

While most styles of Japanese fried chicken are double-fried, this version (nanban translates to foreign, referring to a Portuguese-Spanish influence) is coated in an egg batter, fried once, and then dipped in a sweet-and-sour sauce. The addition of eggs adds a Japanese touch to the tartar sauce.


For the tare sauce

  • 6 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. mirin
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. crushed red pepper flakes

For the tartar sauce

  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped yellow onion
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 large hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped dill pickle
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken

  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 to 12 cups canola oil, for frying
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 830
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 580
  • Fat (g): 64
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 30
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 21
  • Cholesterol (mg): 280
  • Sodium (mg): 1810
  • Carbohydrates (g): 17
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Sugar (g): 12
  • Protein (g): 43


Make the tare sauce

  • Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Make the tartar sauce

  • Put the onion in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp. salt and massage into the onion. Cover with 1/4 cup cold water. Let sit 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the onion, then squeeze out the excess water using paper or kitchen towels.
  • In another small bowl, combine the onion, mayonnaise, eggs, pickle, parsley, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the chicken

  • Put the chicken between sheets of parchment, and gently pound to 1/2-inch thickness. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot until two-thirds full. Heat the oil to 350°F.
  • Meanwhile, put the flour and eggs on separate rimmed plates. Put racks over two large rimmed baking sheets, and set aside.
  • Dredge the chicken lightly in the flour and shake off any excess. Then dip the chicken in the egg on both sides. Working in batches, fry the chicken until golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to one of the prepared racks, let rest for 1 minute, and then dip into the Tare Sauce (the chicken must be hot when dipped in the sauce). Transfer the dipped chicken to the second prepared rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • Thinly slice the chicken. Divide the cabbage among serving bowls or pile on a large platter, and top with the sliced chicken and dollops of tartar sauce. Garnish with the parsley, and serve with the remaining sauces at the table.


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