Horse Mackerel Marinated in Sweet and Sour Nanban Sauce

May to July is the best season for Japanese horse mackerel. It's best to eat fatty horse mackerel as nanban-zuke.

Horse Mackerel Marinated in Sweet and Sour Nanban Sauce
Photographed by REIKO NANTO

Recipe by
Takashi Tamura






Does not include marinating time

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 10 horse mackerel (small)
  • 1 onion
  • [Nanban sauce]

    • 400 ml sake
    • 100 ml rice vinegar
    • 60 g sugar
    • 1 2/3 tsp usukuchi soy sauce (25 ml)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • Potato starch
  • Frying oil



Cut the onion along the grain in half, and then into thin slices. Marinate in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar for a while and then lightly drain.


Remove the hard plates, gills and guts from the horse mackerel, pat dry and dust with potato starch.


Lift the gill covers, insert your fingers and pull out the gills and guts.


Heat the frying oil to 175°C and fry the fish till it starts to sizzle. Remove and drain. Reheat the oil to 175°C and return the fish to fry to a golden brown. Drain and place in a heat-resistant tray or shallow dish.


When double-frying, watch out for the oil as it tends to splatter.


Heat the sake in a saucepan to burn off the alcohol. Add the remaining [nanban sauce] ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour over the horse mackerel.


Pouring boiling hot nanban sauce over the double-fried horse mackerel helps tenderize the meat. But be careful. The sauce may splatter.


Allow the fish to cool and add the vinegared onions. Set aside to allow the marinade to seep into the fish.