Bang Bang Chicken

I love chicken as much as the next person. I do. Really, I do. Sometimes, though, I get so darn bored with chicken and the five or six things that I do to it, that I feel the need to shake it up. That’s where a trip to China comes in.

On one such bored-chicken night, long ago, my fiend Tom—an amazing cook and world traveler—provided me with a life-changing palate extravaganza. He called it Bang Bang chicken, because the four flavors explode in your mouth when you eat it. This was just what I had been looking for.

Over the years, I realized that I don’t have to slavishly cook Bang Bang in the traditional Chinese way, which involves boiling a whole chicken—bones and all—hacked up for 20 minutes. Rather, I could just make the Bang Bang sauce and put it on any chicken I desired. I tend to make the sauce when I have leftover roasted chicken (or turkey) and I can’t stand the thought of one more chicken sandwich. That said, the traditional dish is a great exotic addition for cocktail parties or as a potluck dish. Beware, it goes fast.

Bang Bang Chicken Sauce


  • 3 Tablespoons peanut butter (or Chinese sesame paste also called salad dressing)
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon Asian sesame seed oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons hot chili oil (or 1-2 teaspoons chili flakes)

To be used with:

  • Leftover chicken (or cooked as you please)
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 3-5 scallions, shredded


  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame seed oil, sugar and chili. That’s it. That’s the sauce.
  2. Peel the cucumber (and de-seed if really watery) and cut into 1 ½ inch strips. Arrange on the serving plate.
  3. Place the chicken, which you need to shred into bite-sized boneless pieces, on top of cucumber strips.
  4. Top with sauce and finish with shredded scallions.

I had already eaten a hearty portion by the time I realized that I forgot this step! That’s why the photograph looks naked. Don’t forget this step it looks better and tastes great. This dish tastes great at any temperature—hot, cold or room. For a fun multicultural dish, you could also make Bang Bang burritos. Makes great leftovers, but I wouldn’t count on any.

3 thoughts on “Bang Bang Chicken

  1. Did I mention how easy it is to make? The hardest part is making sure you have all of the ingredients.

  2. When I finally get a kitchen I’m definitely making several of the dishes you’ve posted!
    Maybe a week to go!

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