Chicken kara-age and lotus root nanban 鶏の唐揚げピリ辛南蛮漬け

japanese cake

I bought bone-in chicken thighs one weekend, thinking I would make something with it but it did not happen. A week later, when I checked the chicken, it was still good (some chicken we buy at our grocery store goes bad very quickly). So I decide to try this recipe which I saw on-line. It is essentially chicken nanban 鳥の南蛮漬けwith some interesting variations.

The marinade is a bit more assertive than my usual marinade for nanban but the high acidity cut through the oiliness of the fried chicken. The crispy renkon slices were also nice but, next time I will not marinade the renkon chips because they became soggy. I’ll serve them crispy on the side.

For onions, I used Vidalia onion.

The marinade clung to the crust on the chicken which created an interesting surface that delivered layers of flavor.

Ingredients (4 servings):

Chicken thighs, 4, deboned and excess skin and fat removed. Cut into a bite sized pieces.

Seasoning for chicken; Soy sauce  (1 tbs), sake (1 tbs) and roasted sesame oil (1 tsp)

Potato starch for dredging 

Oil for frying ( I used peanut oil)

Renkon (Lotus root), one package cleaned and boiled. cut into thin (2-3mm thick) rounds, excess moisture blotted out using paper towel.

For Marinade:

Lemon juice (2tbs), rice vinegar (2tbs), soy sauce (2 tbs)

Dried small Japanese hot red pepper (赤唐辛子), seeds removed, 2

Sugar (2 tsp)

Garlic, grated 1/2 tsp

Ginger, grated 1/2 tsp

Black pepper for taste

Onion, one small, halved, then sliced thinly, salted and kneaded and left for 5 minutes and then soaked in water (I used filtered water) for 10 minutes, drained and moisture squeezed out


1. I placed the chicken in a Ziploc bag, added the seasonings, massaged it, and removed as much air as I could and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

2. I mixed all ingredients for the marinade and added the onion in a flat sealable container.

3. Fried the renkon rounds in 350F oil for 1 minutes each side or until the renkon rounds got brown and crispy (it is a great snack as is with some salt, see below).

3. I removed the chicken and blotted the excess moisture from the surface. I dredged it with potato starch or katakur-ko 片栗粉 and fried in 350F oil (I used a shallow frying method. Some believe, this method will let the moisture evaporate more easily and make a crispy surface but I did it just because it uses less oil). This time I double fried the chicken using a higher temperature for the second frying but this is probably not necessary. Of course, we snacked on the chicken immediately after it came out of the oil and hit the draining rack.

4. I added the fried chicken and renkon to the marinade while they were hot and gently mixed (I just turned the sealable container upside down to make sure the marinade make contact with all the surfaces.)

This is a good dish, although frying the chicken is a bit of work. I will definitely not put the renkon chips in the marinade next time to keep them crispy. This dish will go well with beer or cold sake but the marinade is too acidic for wine.

P.S. Few days later, I served the remaining chicken with renkon chips which were not soaked in the marinade. The renkon chips were crisp and much better than the marinated soggy chips. Then, my wife said we should enjoy the chicken and renkon separately. I agree. The renkon chips are a great snack by them selves and we do not see the point of combining them with chicken nanban.

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