All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Nanbanzuke / deep-fried fish in sweetened vinegar marinade

This nanbanzuke has lots of vinegar in the marinade and keeps well in the fridge for several days. One of my standard additions to osechi and meal for a group of people. Sliced/julienned ginger and lemon help control the oily aftertaste.


1 medium-size fillet fish (200 g rockfish in photo)
2-3 tbsp potato starch

For marinade
200 cc rice vinegar
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp usukuchi soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 red chili pepper (sliced)
1 small knob ginger
1/2 small lemon
Oil for deep frying (not in photo)


Thinly slice lemon and julienne ginger. In a pot, put vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, salt, red chili pepper and ginger, and bring to boil.

Remove from heat, and add lemon when marinade is cool. Set aside.


Slice fish fillet at a slant.


Deep-fry fish. Heat oil on medium high to high heat. When very fine bubbles briskly come up from tips of chopsticks when dipped in oil, oil is ready. The temperature should be quite high.

Coat each fish piece with potato starch, shake off excess starch, and slide into oil.

The fish should sink for a short time and then come up to the surface quickly (otherwise, oil temperature is too low and fish will be soggy and greasy).

Do not crowd the oil with too many fish pieces.

When almost done, raise heat slightly, and hold a piece to be removed with one end still immersed in oil. This draws out oil and returns it to the pot.

Lift from oil, lightly shake, and place in a drain pan lined with paper towel.


Soak fish in marinade while fish is still hot.

Keep in the fridge until the day of serving. Occasionally turn upside down for even flavoring. Serve at room temperature or slighter cooler.

  • White-fleshed fish or "blue" fish such as sardines work best; also red/pink fish, such as salmon.
  • This tastes good after 10-20 minutes or so. If you wait longer, a day or two, it tastes milder, although the vinegar punch is still there.
  • Add black pepper to the marinade for an additional flavor boost.
  • Boiling marinade ingredients together blends the individual flavors and aromas, and eliminates the "edge" of each ingredient. You can microwave the marinade ingredients until sugar is dissolved.

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