The first time I heard of Bang Bang anything was over Christmas when Thomasina Miers recommended her recipe for Bang Bang Turkey Salad as a way to use leftovers. I was intrigued and spent ages researching different recipes. This is originally a Chinese street food and the name came from the noise of the cooks pounding the chicken to tenderise it. Thankfully we don’t have to do that anymore. It is an ideal way to use up some leftover roast chicken provided you haven’t roasted it with any strong flavours that would clash here. I have poached chicken breasts to use here.
A note on this: the recipes I read all left my chicken undercooked so I guess the breasts used in those recipes were tiny! I ended up using a thermometer to make sure my chicken was done and it took almost 25 minutes to be fully cooked. The lesson is don’t rely 100% on recipes and always go with your instinct.
The more authentic recipes seem to use sesame paste as the main ingredient. Others peanut butter. I don’t have sesame paste so decided to go with a mixture of tahini and peanut butter. There is quite a kick off this and I wasn’t even that brave with the chilli, feel free to add more if you like your heat. The ingredients listed on all the recipes I read varied wildly so I suppose it’s really a case of whatever you like to add yourself.
This is so light and fresh tasting, but still very satisfying. I’ve made it twice recently which is quite unusual. All of this meal can be prepared in advance. The chicken can be leftovers or cooked in advance, the sauce will keep in a jar in the fridge for several days. It would be an ideal packed lunch served on some lettuce as I have shown below. Pour the dressing on top just before serving.
Note: I scattered over some coriander leaves but forgot to take pictures after! Mint would work well here too but I’m not a big fan so I left it out. The dressing has enough nutty flavour for me but feel free to top with sesame seeds or roasted peanuts for extra crunch if you like.
Serves 2-3 with leftovers
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 500ml chicken stock
- 500ml water
- 1 tbsp. Szechuan peppercorns
- 5 cm piece of ginger sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, smashed
- Bunch of coriander stalks – keep the leaves for later
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp. of tahini
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 tbsp. Chinese chilli oil
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp of the poaching liquid
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 200g of noodles or rice
- 1 large carrot
- ½ cucumber
- 4 spring onions
- Coriander leaves
- Mint leaves, toasted sesame seeds or peanuts to garnish (optional)
- Firstly poach the chicken in advance to allow time to cool. Put a medium pan over a high heat. Add the chicken and cover it with the stock, water, peppercorns, ginger, coriander stalks and almost all of the lime juice, reserving a tablespoon amount for the dressing. Keep the leaves from the coriander stalks for later too.
- Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes approximately until the chicken is cooked through. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool.
- Remove the chicken breasts from liquid and use two forks to shred them. Keep 1 tablespoon of the poaching liquid and discard the rest.
- Cook the rice or noodles as per packet instructions and allow to cool.
- To make the dressing, grind the peppercorns in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Tip them into a bowl and mix in the sesame oil, tahini, peanut butter, chilli oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and the reserved lime juice and poaching liquid. Mix everything well together until it is completely combined.
- Peel the carrot and cut into matchstick size pieces or use a julienne peeler like I did to finely shred. Discard the seeds of the cucumber and finely slice, along with the spring onions.
- When you are ready to serve, divide the rice or noodles between the plates, top with the carrots, cucumber, onions and chicken. Pour over the dressing. Scatter over the coriander leaves and if using, the mint, toasted sesame seeds or peanuts. Serve immediately.