I normally cook with Nate and both us of have strong opinions on what to cook or what should go in a recipe. Our kitchens end up being very loud and heated. This weekend I was too exhausted from a doozy of a week to argue about chicken so Saturday I stayed in to cook Bang Bang Chicken,棒棒鸡 (bang bang ji), by myself. I went to a few different grocery stores just because I felt like it and I knew no one was waiting on me. Trader Joe's had great seedless cucumbers (how do they grow vegetables without seeds?) and a great deal on chicken but I ended up getting out of the checkout line that wrapped around through the entire store and going elsewhere. Whenever I go to Trader Joe's, I feel like I'm in line for the most popular ride at an amusement park, except when I get up to the front, there's no ride, just a bill to pay.
I got home and put on my favorite soundtrack that no one will ever listen to with me, "Hello, Dolly!" Not the Broadway version but the 1960's Barbra Streisand movie version. I danced around with Barbra singing to my favorite tracks, "put on your sunday clothes," and "so long dearie" while I made bang bang chicken just the way I like- extra thick and spicy. The chicken is supposed to be shredded into strips of chicken, but instead I tried cutting the meat into bite-size chunks. Not a good idea. The chicken is much better when shredded. Then I smothered the sauce on the chicken and veggies. I didn't eat alone however. Nelson joined me as I watched one LOST episode after another until I got through the season 5 finale. I can't believe I have to wait five months after that cliffhanger. How are they going to make another season after that ending???
I chose Bang Bang Chicken because I've been craving its peanut butter-y sauce since we made hot pot last week. Bang Bang chicken has a similar creamy peanut butter sauce to our hot pot dipping sauce recipe. So good. You might think that Bang Bang sounds like a gun but really it means "Stick Stick Chicken" which refers to the wooden stick traditionally used to beat the cooked chicken to shreds.
Here's the recipe I adapted from a Chinese language site. It was overall pretty tasty, but not nearly as good as Nate's and my recipe that we will put in our book.
Bang Bang! Chicken Recipe
3 green onions
3 chicken breasts
1 pint chicken broth
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 teaspoons chili sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
Slice the green onions lengthwise and into 2-inch pieces, using both the green and white parts. Slice the cucumbers into thin 2-inch sticks.
Heat peanut butter in a bowl over boiling water for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Mix in chili sauce, sugar, sesame oil, vegetable oil, Shaoxing rice wine, and ginger.
Poach the chicken for 10-15 minutes in the chicken broth until cooked through. Drain, dry, and shred into bite-size pieces. Place chicken on top of the vegetables and generously drizzle on the peanut sauce.