AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards
Chicken Nanban - Recipe by Chef Susan Jung
Chicken Nanban - Recipe by Chef Susan Jung

Chicken Nanban - Recipe by Chef Susan Jung


800g boneless chicken breast
Coarse salt flakes
30mL (2 Tbs) soy sauce
20mL (2 tsp) sake
5g (1 tsp) granulated sugar
1 tsp finely ground white pepper
100g coating mix made with potato or sweet potato flour
40mL (2 Tbs + 2 tsp) iced water
120g potato or sweet potato flour
750mL cooking oil

Nanban sauce:

60mL soy sauce
60mL sake
60mL mirin
30g (2Tbs) granulated sugar
30g (2Tbs) honey
60mL rice vinegar

Tartare sauce:

2 eggs
60g peeled onion
40-60g cornichons or gherkins
180g Kewpie mayonnaise
1/2 tsp medium- ground black pepper, or more to taste


Butterfly the chicken breast, cut them into 3cm chunks and put them in a bowl. Weigh the chicken, then multiply the amount by 0.01 - this is the amount of salt you need.

Add the salt, mix well and leave for at least 30 minutes.

Add the soy sauce, sake, sugar and white pepper to the chicken, mix well and marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

While the chicken is marinating, make the tartare sauce.

Put the eggs in a pan and add water to cover by 1 cm. Place over a medium heat, then bring to the boil. Cover the pan with the lid, turn off the heat and leave for 12 minutes. Drain off the water, then transfer the eggs to a bowl filled with iced water and leave to cool.

Crack eggs and remove the shells.

Finely mince the onion, then put the pieces in a bowl of iced water and leave for a few minutes (this makes the onion taste sweeter). Drain off the water, then dry the onion with paper towels.

Cut the cornichons into small dice and chop the eggs. Mix the eggs, onion and cornichons with the Kewpie mayonnaise and add the black pepper. Put the tartare sauce into a bowl and set aside.

To make the nanban sauce, pour the soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar and honey into a saucepan and place it on the stovetop, but do not turn on the heat.

Add the coating mix and the iced water to the bowl of chicken and mix well to create a batter that coats the pieces lightly and evenly. If necessary, adjust the consistency by mixing in more iced water.

Dredge the battered chicken pieces in the potato or sweet potato flour, shake off the excess and lay them on a cooling rack places over a tray.

Pour the cooking oil into a pan, preferably a medium wok, set over a medium heat. Fry the chicken at 160 C in four or five batches. Fry the chicken for 45 seconds, then drain on the rack. Let the pieces rest for 5 minutes, then fry them a second time at 170 C for 45 seconds.

Bring the nanban sauce to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and simmer for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat.

Put half of the fried chicken into a bowl and add half the nanban sauce. Toss the pieces in the bowl so they are lightly coated with the sauce.

Transfer to a serving dish, then repeat with the remaining chicken and sauce.

Spoon some of the tartare sauce over the chicken and serve the rest on the side.

Credits: This is an edited extract from Kung Pao & Beyond.

Photo Credits: Photography ©Yuki Sugiura