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Chicken Nanban with Japanese-style tartar sauce and a shredded cabbage salad.

Chicken Nanban

Authentic Chicken Nanban recipe, made with fried chicken coated in a crispy egg batter that's soaked in a sweet and sour nanban sauce.
Course Entree
Cuisine Best, Japanese
Keyword bento, fried chicken
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Poultry
Diet Dairy-Free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 serving
Calories 818kcal


Tartar Sauce

  • 1 medium-boiled egg peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon celery finely chopped
  • ½ scallion minced
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise Japanese mayo works best
  • ½ teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • teaspoon ground white pepper (to taste)
  • 1 pinch salt (to taste)

Nanban Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons usukuchi soy sauce light color , not low sodium
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger grated
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar


  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 450 grams boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour for dusting
  • 1 jumbo egg


  • To prepare the tartar sauce, add the boiled egg, celery, scallion, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a bowl and stir to combine. Add salt and white pepper to taste.
    Japanese style tartar sauce for Chicken Nanban.
  • To make the nanban sauce, add the soy sauce, sake, sugar and ginger to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling for 1 minute and then turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar.
    Making Nanban sauce from soy sauce, sake, sugar, ginger and vinegar.
  • Add 2-inches of oil to heavy bottomed pot and heat to 340 degrees F (170 C) and prepare a wire rack and pan.
  • Trim any excess fat off the chicken and lightly salt and pepper.
    Trimming chicken legs for making Chicken Nanban.
  • Dust the chicken with flour.
    Dusting chicken in flour.
  • Beat the egg in a bowl until uniform and then dip the chicken in the egg to thoroughly coat.
    Dipping chicken in egg before frying.
  • Gently lower the egg coated chicken skin-side down into the hot oil and then drizzle a little of the remaining egg onto the tops of each piece of chicken. The egg will quickly "bloom" and spread out.
    Adding egg to the chicken while frying makes it extra crispy.
  • Use tongs or chopsticks to fold the egg back over the chicken.
    Shaping the egg around the chicken while frying.
  • Fry the chicken until it's golden brown and cooked through (about 6-8 minutes). You'll want to flip the chicken over a few times, but be careful not to break the crust off off the chicken.
    Chicken Nanban fried until crisp.
  • Dip the fried chicken in the sauce, flipping it over a few times to coat it evenly.
    Dipping the fried chicken in Nanban Sauce.
  • Slice and serve the chicken with the tartar sauce.


Calories: 818kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 452mg | Sodium: 1387mg | Potassium: 580mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 525IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3.6mg