Spicy Nanban Marinade Vegetables

Do you feel an urge to eat lots of vegetables sometimes? I do, especially after a long flight or a busy trip. Try this recipe for when you feel that urge.

I chose aubergine and courgette for this recipe because they become tastier when cooked with oil. Adding cherry tomatoes lightens up the dish.

It’s quite a flavoursome and satisfying dish, so you might forget that you’re eating something vegetarian! It’s a great side dish for rice and nibbles for drinks.

The marinade sauce is quite spicy. Please adjust the amount of chilli flakes to your liking.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Level: Easy

Ingredients for 4 side dishes野菜の南蛮漬け過程

1 Aubergine (Large)

1 Courgette

10 Cherry Tomatoes

Vegetable Oil for deep frying

For Dressing (Mix well beforehand)

2 tbs Soy Sauce

2 tbs Rice Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar

1 tbs Sugar

½ tbs Garlic Powder (or 1 clove of garlic, grated)

10g Ginger (grated)

½ tbs Dried Chili Flake (adjust to your liking)


  1. Chop the aubergine into bite-sized pieces and soak in a bowl of water with a little bit of vinegar. Chop the courgette in bite-sized pieces. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  2. Drain the aubergine and pat dry with kitchen paper. Make sure there is no excess water to prevent the oil from splashing. Heat the oil to 180°C and deep fry the aubergine pieces until the colour of skin looks brighter. Place them on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
  3. Deep fry the courgette pieces and place them on kitchen paper.
  4. Place cherry tomatoes, aubergine, courgette and the dressing. Toss to coat.


  1. You can serve the dish immediately after mixing or keep it in a fridge to cool down, then serve.
  2. Deep fry vegetables in high temperature oil (between 180 and 190 °C) for a short time to prevent them become oily. To check the temperature, put the handle of a wooden spoon or fork into the oil. If rather larger bubbles steadily come out from the handle, the oil is ready for deep frying.

Topic: What is Nanban?

Nanban is a Japanese word which originally means Portugal and Spain. They were the first Western nations to make contact with Japan in the 16th century. They came to Japan after stopping over at their colonies in Southwest Asia and India, so the Japanese thought they came from somewhere south. ‘Nan’ in the word Nanban means ‘south’ for this reason.

There are several dishes whose names contain Nanban in today’s Japan. Nanban dishes typically use chilli, as chilli was introduced to Japan by Portugal in the 16th Century. It’s the very first East-Meets-West dish in Japan!

This recipe uses the Nanban-zuke technique. Ingredients are deep fried and then marinated in Nanban sauce, which usually consists of chilli, vinegar and soy sauce. The key is to marinate the ingredients immediately after deep frying, as they absorb more flavour when they are hot.

Nanban-zuke is a good way of eating deep fried food, because you don’t feel the oiliness thanks to the vinegar. The best-known ingredient for Nanban-zuke is small fish, such as whitebaits. When you marinate them enough, you don’t need to worry about their small bones, as the vinegar in the sauce softens them.

Try other deep fried ingredients with the Nanban sauce in this recipe and make your own Nanban dish!

Reference: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8D%97%E8%9B%AE (Japanese)

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