Bàng Bàng Jī, Bang Bang Hen, or Banbanji?
Bàng Bàng Jī (棒棒鸡, actually “Stick Adhere Chicken”), is a salad of types with either shredded or thinly sliced chicken breast dressed with the tongue tingling and spicymálàbalance of Sichuan pepper and chili oil. The identify has a few of origin myths that all have to do with beating hen meat with a adhere. In one incarnation it is said that the name is an onomatopoeia for the sound produced when you conquer the boiled rooster to shred it into evenly sized pieces. One more story posits the character 棒, which signifies “stick,” refers to beating the raw chicken with a adhere to tenderize it.
Like a lot of dishes in the Chinese culinary repertoire, Bàng Bàng Jī has ricocheted around the world becoming reinterpreted to fit regional preferences.
In Japan, it is recognized as banbanji (バンバンジー), and they’ve turned it into a salad, including cucumbers, and sometimes even tomatoes. Due to the fact the Japanese cannot get a great deal of warmth, the volume of chili has been toned down, with the focus shifted in direction of the sesame taste, providing the sauce a creamy nuttiness.
As you may possibly have guessed, Bang Bang Hen is the half-translated English title for the dish. “Bang Bang” even now works as an onomatopoeia in English, and it sounds a whole lot greater than calling the dish “Stick crushed hen.” Sadly, in the US, the dish has in some way morphed into a battered and fried chicken dish, that is glazed with a sweet, spicy and creamy sauce. One US chain cafe even goes so far as to misrepresent it as a Thai dish. I’m all for the natural evolution of foods as it travels close to the entire world, but this is this kind of a departure from the original recipe that it is missing its soul in translation.
For my version of Bang Bang Rooster, I’ve absent with a sauce that leans intensely on the Chinese authentic with a spicy base of chili oil. Alternatively of using bottled chili oil (which can be a little bit unpredictable in warmth), I’ve opted to make my personal oil, simplifying the approach, even though adding aromatics like ginger and garlic. Some Sichuan pepper gets extra at the conclude to give the oil a great citrusy aroma and some tongue-tinglingmá.
The oil will get extra into a combination of soy sauce, sesame paste, sesame oil, and black vinegar, which helps make an amazingly flavorful sauce for the comparatively bland rooster. Abundant and nutty from the various forms of sesame, the dressing is balanced by a fruity tang from the black vinegar. The warmth from chili oil is countered by the tongue-numbing Sichuan Pepper, while the soy sauce and caramelized aromatics pack a wallop of umami.
If you can not uncover black vinegar (a.k.a. Chinkiang vinegar), a fifty/50 mixture of typical rice vinegar and balsamic vinegar works rather well as a substitute. As for the sesame paste, Chinese or Japanese sesame paste works ideal due to the fact they are equally floor from total sesame seeds even so tahini(which is created from just the kernels) will work in a pinch.
I’m not typically a supporter of white meat due to the fact it’s relatively bland and challenging to put together, but for Bang Bang Rooster, it performs wonderful.
The rooster is usually boiled in drinking water even so, the higher warmth makes it very simple to overcook the chicken. Which is why borrowed a approach from my Chinese Chicken Salad and poach it by bringing some effectively-salted drinking water to a boil, adding the hen, and then cuting the warmth. As the rooster cooks, the temperature of the water will fall. This not only prevents the rooster from shedding its juices, but it also slows down the cooking process, creating it more challenging to overcook the sensitive meat.
Despite the fact that white meat is generally pretty bland, it performs just good in this dish. The dressing has tons of flavor, and since the meat is shredded, these flavors permeate each and every strand of rooster, generating this some of the very best tasting chicken you are going to ever set in your mouth, irrespective of the cut!
I like to use chicken tenders because as its name implies, the meat is quite tender. They are also fantastic simply because they poach a lot faster than a whole breast. If you only have breasts, you can lower them into strips, about the thickness of rooster tenders.
Bang the Cucumber Not the Hen
Despite the fact that the heirloom chickens utilized to make the authentic Bàng Bàng Jī ended up very likely extremely tough, the broiler chickens of these days require no tenderizing. Utilizing a stick to conquer the boiled rooster turns it into mush and squeezes out its juices. Which is why I advise pulling it by hand. If you had been truly hoping to conquer anything with a stick, don’t fret! You can even now consider your aggression out on the cucumbers.
Of course, I know the authentic Chinese version of this dish doesn’t incorporate cucumbers, but it is the one particular portion of the Japanese interpretation that I like. Cucumbers include both texture and freshness to the plate, trying to keep each bite interesting. In Japan, the cucumbers are typically julienned, but I like beating it with a adhere, which crushes it into irregular designs, leaving lots of nooks and crannies for the dressing to seep into.
Once they’re overwhelmed into submission, I salt the cukes to extract excess drinking water via osmosis. This helps prevent the cucumbers (which are ninety six% water) from watering down the sauce.
As for the range of cucumber, I suggest employing cucumbers with slim skin and handful of seeds. I utilized Japanese cucumbers, but Lebanese and English (a.k.a. hothouse) cucumbers will operate as properly.
Lastly, to assemble the dish, I shred the chilled rooster and squeeze out the excess drinking water from the salted cucumbers. These get tossed in the sauce along with some roasted black sesame seeds. To end this dish, I like to tame threads of scallion with baking soda. This will take the harsh edge off of them by neutralizing the risky sulfur compounds. A few cilantro leaves for shade and taste and the Bang Bang Chicken is completed!