Bang bang chicken is a Chinese dish that originated in Szechuan. I really hope that you’ll try this recipe because I love it for many reasons:
1. The dipping sauce is delicious and addictive. It’s very flavourful and the perfect compliment to the otherwise bland chicken and cucumbers. My family and I can’t get enough of it.
2. This meal is cost effective to make, because you use chicken that has the skin on and bone in.
3. It’s healthy.
4. It’s easy to make.
5. This recipe makes a lot, so you can feed a lot of people or use the leftovers for tortilla wraps or rice paper rolls (see my rice paper rolls recipe here).
6. This can be served warm or cold, so it can be made in advance.
Traditionally, this is served alongside other dishes with white rice. But if you wanted to turn this dish into a complete meal on its own, you could try this variation: Toss together the shredded chicken, sauce, and thinly julienned cucumbers, along with added cilantro, thinly julienned carrots, and thinly sliced green onions, and serve on top of boiled and drained, thin vermicelli rice noodles.
Bang Bang Chicken Recipe (bang bang ji)
adapted from Hong Kong & China Gas Chinese Cookbook
3 lbs (approx.) chicken with the skin-on and bone-in (you could use 1 whole chicken or 4 chicken breasts or 4 whole legs (4 thighs and 4 drumsticks))
1 or 2 English cucumbers
2 1/2 tbsp sesame paste (or substitute with tahini)
1 tbsp chili oil (Note: If you prefer a more oily dipping sauce, you could add an additional 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp cooked vegetable or peanut oil. Or you could use more chili oil if you don’t mind the spiciness.)
Chinese chili paste (Note: This dipping sauce is intended to be very spicy, but personally, I prefer it mild. The chili oil adds the perfect amount of heat in my opinion, but if you prefer a spicier sauce, add chili paste to taste.)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp Chinkiang black vinegar
optional for garnish:
white sesame seeds toasted lightly in a dry saute pan over medium heat
1 green onion, green part only sliced very thinly lengthwise or crosswise
Cook the chicken by boiling/poaching. See here for the instructions. In the meantime, cut the cucumbers into thin strips that are 2 to 3 inches long and arrange them on a serving plate. Then make the sauce. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sesame paste, chili oil, and sesame oil until smooth. Then stir in the sugar, soy sauce, black vinegar, and chili paste (if using, to taste) until well combined. When the chicken is just cooked through (don’t overcook it) and cool enough to handle, shred the meat into small pieces using your bare hands or two forks, or cut it up using a large knife. Place the shredded chicken on top of the cucumber strips. Just prior to serving, sprinkle a pinch of toasted sesame seeds over the sauce and sprinkle the green onion over the chicken (if using). Use the sauce as a dipping sauce or pour it over the chicken. Serve warm or cold with a side of white rice.