March 1, 2021

Nanbanzuke – 南蛮づけ: fried and marinated cod 鱈



In Italy, particularly in Piedmont (my beautiful region), we have a traditional dish called Carpione. 

(If you plan to go visit Piedmont, I am sure you will find this dish in all the traditional restaurants around the region).

The recipe undergoes variations depending on the family (everyone has his secret recipe), but in general, the process involves frying or boiling ingredients such as eggs, meat, fish, and/or vegetables, marinated overnight in vinegar, garlic, onions, and sage in the fridge, and served (strictly) cold.

Like many of Piedmont’s grandmothers and mothers, my mom is the queen of Carpione.

I remember that when she decided to prepare it, she would lock herself in the kitchen for hours, frying vegetables, eggs, and steaks and carefully mixing the marinating sauce, dosing all the ingredients looking for the perfect flavor.

To give you an idea, she always made enough to feed 5 people and it lasted for at least 2-3 days.

When I was little, I wasn’t a fan of this dish, but as I grew older, I learned to appreciate it’ flavors. 

Japanese carpione


Nanbanzuke – Japanese Carpione


Also in Japan, there is a form of Carpione called Nanbanzuke – 南蛮づけ.

南 – South

蛮 – Barbarian

酢 – Vinegar

The word “Nanban” is used to describe many of the products that were imported in Japan through the “Nanban trade” ( name referred to the food trade from Spain and Portugal), as well as the new dishes that were introduced.

The addition of the Kanji 酢 “Vinegar” indicates the use of vinegar for the marinade.

Nanban vinegar is a sauce made of vinegar, dashi (Japanese soup stock) sugar, along with chili peppers and green onions. 

For this recipe, I used cod fillets, piman, carrots, onions and seasoned everything with Yuzu sauce.

What can I say, as a laver of sweet and sour flavor, I particularly love it, especially during warm days thanks to its refreshing taste.

Here the recipe, hope you will enjoy it!


Nanbanzu Sauce

Let’s Cook

Combine all ingredients except vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. When you start to see the bubbles, add the vinegar. When it comes to a boil, the Nanbanzu sauce is ready.

Wash the vegetables and the ginger and cut them into thin strips.

Cut the cod into cubes, season with salt and pepper, and roll in flour.

Deep fry the fish and in the meantime pour nanbanzu sauce into a large container.

When the fish is fried on both sides, place it on a paper towel to remove excess oil and, while still hot, place it in the sauce.

Add the finely chopped vegetables and the spoonful of Yuzu juice to the surface. Let it cool, close with a lid, and let it rest in the fridge overnight.

For the egg: deep-fry the egg, while still warm add them to the Nanbanzu sauce and, when cold, keep in the fridge until the next day.

Nanbanzuke Egg

Hope you will love it as much as we did!


You will also like: Swordfish Fillets with Ginger