My mother used to make this dish always using fish called ‘Aji’ in Japanese. As ‘Aji’ is difficult to find in Australia, I often use Trevally or Mackerel family fish which have similar flavour and texture. However most fish are suitable for this dish. Sardines and Salmon are very nice, too. This time I used Barramundi, which is very popular in Australia.

‘Namban (or Nanban)’ of this dish’s name means ‘Southern Barbarian’ and that refers to the Portuguese, who first arrived in Japan in 16th century and later other Europeans. (The Dutch were called ‘Kōmō’ that means ‘Red Hair’.) ‘Namban-zuke’ can be translated ‘Southern Barbarian Marinated (Fish)’.


4 Servings


Fish Fillets 400g
Salt & Pepper
Potato Starch Flour
Oil for frying
Onion 1/2 to 1 *slice thinly
Carrot 1 *slice into thin strips
Green Capsicum 1/2 to 1 *slice into thin strips
Tomatoes 2 *slice
Chilli 1 *thinly sliced, can be replaced with dried Chilli Flakes

Marinade Ingredients

Rice Vinegar 1/4 cup
Soy Sauce 1/4 cup
Water 1/4 cup
Sugar 2 tablespoons
Mirin 2 tablespoons *can be replaced by 1/2 to 1 tablespoon Sugar OR omit

  1. Place all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. As Mirin is alcoholic, you can replace it with Sugar. In this case, you use 3 tablespoons Sugar in total.

  2. Add vegetables and mix well to combine.

  3. Cut the fish fillets into smaller pieces, about 2cm thickness, remove bones if necessary. Season with Salt & Pepper, then coat with Potato Starch Flour.

  4. Heat Oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

  5. Cook the fish pieces for 2 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, or until cooked through. Transfer to the marinade & vegetable mixture. Combine evenly and set aside for 1 hour.

  6. You can do the process using a serving bowl, so that you can serve straight away. Otherwise, arrange the mixture on a serving plate or bowl and enjoy with freshly cooked rice.