If you are here, you are probably looking for something with explosive flavor. I wanted something resembling the popular bang bang chicken that usually turns up in restaurant chains on the appetizer menu. I came up with a crispy fried chicken dressed in a potent creamy and spicy sauce.
This bang bang chicken recipe is a departure from what might be considered more traditional bang bang chicken. However, it’s a dead ringer for some of the wing sauces that have assumed the name. Whether you have heard about bang bang chicken or not, if you have a taste for spice, this creamy spicy chicken dish will certainly hit the spot.
What Does Bang Bang Chicken Mean?
Some names of popular foods, especially appetizers commonly sold at restaurants can be a little absurd. Usually, it’s the choice of the restaurant to name their offerings a certain way. Some of those menu items can be entertaining or pay some kind of homage to the restaurant, it’s history or the community it serves. Generally speaking, you see a funny name on a menu and you may chuckle, or you may not bat an eye. Often we don’t give these things a second thought. However Bang Bang chicken is not a restaurant-specific dish. Bang Bang chicken pops up on a variety of American restaurant chain menus, including the phone book-sized volume they have at the Cheesecake Factory.
As you may assume because of the peculiar name, bang bang chicken actually has Chinese origins. And as you might also assume bang bang does not actually mean bang! bang! What it means is stick. Although like so many other westernized international cuisine the dish has been changed a lot, the original dish was cold shredded chicken served on lettuce with a special sesame sauce served on top. The word stick comes into play because of the heavy stick used to flatten the chicken and pound it to pieces. The name could also come from the slang term “Tai bang le” which loosely translates to “awesome”.
In America Bang Bang Chicken is different, but it still refers to that mysteriously good sauce. Recipes differ, as in the case of this version, but any similar sauce can often earn the name bang bang which has come to imply that it is heavily spiced. Our version of the dish includes more than your typical Sichuan peppercorn. We’re going high heat with this one. This chicken also happens to be fried. You’re welcome!
What does the Bang Bang Chicken Sauce Taste Like?
The sauce is flavorful and aromatic. It has a creamy mayonnaise base and lots (I mean LOTS) of spice. This mayo and vinegar concoction includes not just black pepper, but red pepper flakes as well. That’s just to warm things up. It also contains Sriracha, and of course, my old standby Slap Ya Mama, because… why not? I take a little bit of the edge off and give the flavor some depth with a bit of sweet chili sauce to round things out.
Bang Bang chicken traditionally is also referred to as strange flavor chicken, because of the sauce that tastes salty, sweet, sour, and hot. All of which are carried over into this western version of the sauce.
How to Make Crispy Chicken
You make the sauce first, but of course, you hold onto it until after you’ve made the chicken. To get the fried chicken crispy, it’s important to follow a certain set of protocols. My breading comes from a three-step process that starts with covering the chicken pieces in flour and then placed in a buttermilk bath. The bath is a buttermilk and egg mixture. It’s essential for getting the flour or bread crumbs to stick to the chicken, but it’s also very sticky if you get it on your fingers. One wrong move and you could have a huge mess on your hands.
To avoid getting the breading, flour, and egg/buttermilk mixture all over the place be slow and deliberate. Give each of your hands a specific job, one for wet and one for dry. Once you start mixing the wet with the dry as you coat the chicken, it will get harder to keep everything separate.
If you nail it, this chicken comes out perfectly crispy and golden brown. Remember, coating the chicken is only part of the job. You need to make sure the oil is hot enough and that you don’t try to cook too many chicken pieces at the same time.
While the chicken is cooking, don’t be too quick to turn the pieces over. You only want to turn them once. Let them reach that golden brown hue and then carefully flip each one to cook the other side. Be careful when you approach the skillet and stand back so that you don’t get splashed by hot oil.
How to Serve Bang Bang Chicken
Bang bang chicken is great served over a bowl of rice or with a side of fried rice. You can even double up the entrees and make my orange chicken (which will be posted soon) to go along with it for a full meal. If you are feeding a family and not everybody likes spice, you can hold the sauce and serve it on the side with other options such as sweet and sour sauce or teriyaki.
How to Store Leftover Bang Bang Chicken
Bang Bang chicken can be reheated pretty easily and you can incorporate it into other foods. Try it chopped up in a breakfast burrito or add some meat and some spice to a big Asian salad. To store your leftover chicken just keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last you about 3-5 days in there. You can freeze it, but I don’t recommend reheating it from frozen. Instead, let it thaw and then reheat it from room temperature. Frozen bang bang chicken will last for a few months.
Ingredients to Make Bang Bang Chicken
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Sriracha Sauce
- Rice Vinegar
- Bread Crumbs
- Garlic Salt
- Slap Ya Mama
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Chicken Breast
- Vegetable Oil
(Actual measurements are listed in the recipe card below.)
How to Make Bang Bang Chicken
Step 1 – Make the sauce
Mix mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, sriracha sauce, and rice vinegar together until smooth. Set aside.
Step 2 – Prepare the chicken
In a large bowl, mix the buttermilk and egg together. In another bowl, add all-purpose flour. In a third bowl, whisk together bread crumbs, tempura, and seasonings.
Step 3 – Fry the chicken
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add 10-12 pieces of chicken into the flour, then into the buttermilk mixture, next into the bread crumb mixture, and finally into the skillet. Fry chicken until each piece is golden brown on all sides. Remove chicken from the skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb andy excess oil.
Step 4 – Serve
Serve hot. Spoon into single serving bowls or one large serving dish and then drizzle with bang bang sauce and enjoy.
Try This Delicious Recipe Today
This recipe was inspired by The Noshery’s Copycat Bonefish Grille Bang Bang Shrimp recipe. Make sure to click on over and check out all of their delicious recipes as well.
Here are a couple more chicken recipes that you might enjoy.
And here is a delicious copycat recipe of Malibu Chicken from Great Grub, Delicious Treats that is a family favorite.
Bang Bang Chicken
To Make the Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
To Make the Chicken
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg + 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ½ cup tempura
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1-2 cups vegetable oil
- 3 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
To Make the Sauce
- Mix mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, sriracha sauce, and rice vinegar together until smooth. Set aside.
To Make the Chicken
- Mix buttermilk and egg together.
- In another bowl, add flour.
- In a third bowl, whisk together bread crumbs, tempura, and seasonings.
- Heat oil over medium high heat.
- Add 10-12 pieces of chicken into flour, then into the buttermilk mixture, next into the bread crumb mixture, and finally into pan.
- Fry chicken until each piece is golden brown and cooked thoroughly.
- Remove chicken from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve hot and spoon into single serving bowls or into one large serving dish, then drizzle with sauce and enjoy.
Here are a few pictures that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.