This dish has it’s roots in Portuguese cuisine. When the Portuguese arrived to Japan, the Japanese referred to them as “Southern Barbarians”, which translate to "nanban". Nanban is essentially escabeche. I love this dish because you can serve it hot (my favorite), warm or cold. Each way it is super tasty!
1 piece Ma Konbu, 2in by 2in
¼ cup Water
¼ cup Iio Jozo Brown Rice Vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Okinawan brown sugar
12oz chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
1 tablespoon Suehiro usukuchi soy sauce
1 tablespoon sake
1 teaspoon ginger juice
1 cup yellow onion, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 cup carrot, juilienne
2 teaspoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 each Takanotsume dried chili, seeds removed and sliced into rings
Oil for frying, such as rice bran, peanut or canola
½ cup potato starch
2 scallions, sliced fine (for garnish)
Roasted white sesame seeds (for garnish)
Combine the konbu, water, vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and sugar in small sauce pot; put aside. Lightly pound the chicken with a the blade of a chef’s knife making several small cuts, not too deep. Cut the chicken up into 2in by 2in pieces and place into a bowl and add the sake, ginger and remaining soy sauce. Mix well to help the liquid soak into the meat, let sit for at least 10 minutes.
Bring the konbu mixture to boil, add chili and transfer to a bowl. In a medium skillet heat the oil over med-high heat, then add the onions, carrots and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, about 3-5 minutes or just lightly browned. Add the browned vegetables to the konbu mixture in the bowl.
Line a sheet pan with paper towels and set aside. In a skillet or wok. heat the frying oil to 350-370 degrees. Meanwhile, put the potato starch in gallon size resealable bag and add the marinated chicken one piece at a time. Reseal the bag and shake to coat the chicken evenly in startch. By this time your oil should be ready or close to it. Add the chicken carefully, one piece at time. Fry, turning the chicken at least once, until both sides are golden brown. Remove to the place paper towel lined sheet tray to drain the excess fat, then immediately add to the konbu/vegetable mixture and toss until coated completely. Repeat the frying process for the remaining chicken.
Using a spoon transfer the chicken with some of the vegetables and sauce to a plate, garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, serve immediately.
If not serving immediately, do not add garnish. Cool to room temperature and consume within 3 hours, garnishing before serving. Or chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.