Bang bang chicken was traditionally served in China by street vendors in the Hanyang district who sold cold, cooked chicken drizzled with a spicy sauce as a snack. The recipe was named 'bang bang’ chicken because of the batons that were used to hammer the cleaver blades that loosened the chicken fibres for shredding.
- 600 g (about 2) chicken breast fillets, trimmed
- 1 Lebanese cucumber
- 1 carrot, cut into julienne
- ½ iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
- chilli oil sauce (see note) and steamed rice, to serve
- 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns (see note)
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar (chinkiang) or rice wine vinegar
- 70 g (¼ cup) sesame paste or tahini
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp chilli oil sauce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink 2011 Andrew Thomas 'Six Degrees’ Semillon, Hunter Valley ($22)
Standing time: 20 minutes
Place chicken in a pan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover, then remove from heat and stand for 20- 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate and cool. Using the flat side of a knife, press to flatten slightly. Using your fingers, shred chicken. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Meanwhile, cut cucumber in half lengthwise and discard seeds. Slice on the diagonal, then place in a colander, toss with ½ tsp salt and stand for 10 minutes. Drain and gently squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.
To make sesame sauce, toast peppercorns in a frying pan over low heat for 1 minute or until fragrant; take care not to let them burn. Using a mortar and pestle, grind to a powder. Whisk together sugar, soy and vinegar. Stir in remaining ingredients and the ground peppercorns.
Combine cucumber, carrot, lettuce and spring onions in a bowl. Place on a platter, top with chicken and drizzle with sesame sauce. Serve with chilli oil sauce and rice.
·Sichuan peppercorns are the dried red-brown berries from an ash tree and are known to have a slight mouth-numbing effect. They are available from selected delis and Asian food shops.
·Chilli oil sauce, from Asian food shops, consists of chilli flakes, chilli oil and spices. Substitute 2 tsp chilli flakes in 1 tbsp chilli oil.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 10, pg68.
Photography by Derek Swalwell.