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


Nanbanzuke / deep-fried fish marinated in sweet and sour broth

One of our standard dishes for get-togethers. This is on the mild end, as broth is prepared with rice vinegar and plenty of dashi, making it go well with meals or drinks as well as with both Japanese and non-Japanese dishes. Because of high dashi content, it tastes better from Day 2. Makes a great bento item as well.

1/4 of recipe: 124 calories; 11.9 g protein; 5.9 g fat; 4.5 g carbohydrate; 3.8 g net carbs; 148 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium regular soy sauce); 33 mg cholesterol; 0.7 g fiber

(Serves 3-4)

250-300 g white-flesh fish or salmon (253 g lingcod in photo)
Generous pinch (0.3 g) salt (to sprinkle on fish; not in photo)
1-2 tbsp flour (to dust fish before deep-frying; not in photo)
3 green onions (53 g in photo)
2-3 cm red bell pepper (30 g in photo)
2-3 cm green bell pepper (32 g in photo)

For nanbanzuke marinade
150 cc dashi
120 cc rice vinegar
3 tbsp mirin
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp usukuchi soy sauce
1/2 tbsp regular (50% reduced-sodium) soy sauce
1 taka no tsume red pepper (slices)


Sogigiri slice fish at slant, and sprinkle salt.
Let sit for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, slice red and green peppers.
Grill green onions.


Heat oil for deep-frying.

When oil is hot enough (170C/340F or higher; tiny bubbles come out from tips of bamboo chopsticks immersed in oil), pat off moisture on fish surface with paper towel.

Dust with flour, shake off excess, 

Gently put in oil. 
Flip once or twice while cooking. 
When nearly ready, raise heat somewhat, and continue cooking for another 30-60 seconds.
When done, hold each fish piece with one end of chopsticks still immersed in oil to draw back excess into pot, remove from oil while lightly shaking, and transfer to tray lined with paper towels. 


In a container, put fish and red and green peppers.


In a small pot, put all ingredients for marinade, and bring to boil.
Pour over fish and peppers.
Add green onions.

If fish and vegetables are not fully soaked, place paper towel directly on top, or flip ingredients once or twice for even flavoring during the course of marinating.

When cool enough, transfer to fridge. (Bring out of refrigerator some time before serving; this dish is usually eaten at room temperature or slightly cool.)

  • Fish can be sauteed instead of deep-fried.
  • Sprinkling salt on fish is to draw out excess water, which is the cause of unpleasant smell. This is especially important if using fish that is not so fresh (including previously frozen fish). In other words, the step can be skipped if using super fresh fish.
  • Usukuchi soy sauce is used in order to retain ingredients' color. When proportion of regular soy sauce is higher than above, fish and vegetables start to look tinted, although it doesn't affect taste very much.
  • If sugar is skipped, this tastes like pickled fish, which is also tasty, especially during hot seasons.
  • Nutrition information above is based on assumptions that 63% of salt sprinkled on fish is absorbed; 6 g flour stays on fish after dusting; oil absorption rate of fish from deep-frying is 8% (of total weight of fish and flour); and 20% of marinade is absorbed by fish and vegetables.
  • Nanban" generally refers to European culture (Portuguese and Spanish, more specifically) introduced to Japan via Southeast Asia, mostly from the mid-16th century. For food, "nanban" implies frying with oil and using peppers or onions. Escabeche is said to be the original form of nanbanzuke

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