If I’m having a bad day, I’m extra susceptible to the smallest miscue in the kitchen sending me into a tantrum-throwing tailspin. For example, I recently found this bang bang chicken recipe on Table For Two, and had planned to serve it atop some white rice for a spicy little weeknight dinner. But then I didn’t have enough panko. And the oil was being feisty and burning my hand. And I somehow managed to screw up a single serving of rice in my Cuisinart rice cooker. Feeling fairly defeated, I dropped the rest of the chicken in my deep fryer, ate a few pieces standing over the sink and threw the leftovers in the fridge.
The next day, the most amazing thing happened: My leftovers were even better than the original dish. (Or maybe I was just in a better mood.) All it took was a roll and some reheating to create this bang bang chicken sandwich. To make it fresh, follow the directions below.
slightly adapted from Table for Two
♦1 lb. chicken tenderloins, cut into chunks
♦1/2 c. light mayo
♦4 tsp. Sriracha sauce
♦1 tsp. sugar
♦1 tsp. rice vinegar
♦1 egg, beaten
♦1/2 c. milk
♦1/2 c. flour
♦1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs
♦1 tsp. salt
♦1/2 tsp. pepper
♦1/2 tsp. garlic powder
♦1/4 tsp. dried basil leaves
♦Oil for deep frying
Heat deep fryer to 380 degrees. In small bowl, combine beaten egg and milk. In a separate shallow container, combine flour, Panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried basil. Bread the chicken by dipping it first into the dry mix, then the egg mix and back into the dry. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes to help coating stick to chicken. In the meantime, combine sauce ingredients (mayo, Sriracha, sugar, rice vinegar) in a small bowl. Remove chicken from fridge and fry in small batches. (You can also do this on your stove top.) Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Lightly toast roll, then add chicken bites and generously top with spicy sauce.
Total time? 35 minutes prep (includes 20 minutes fridge time), 10 minutes cook.
Cost? $3.50 chicken, $2.99 Sriracha, $2 rice vinegar, $1.50 panko, $1.69 rolls
Overall success relative to expectations? Originally, 3 out of 10; on second attempt, 9 out of 10. Like I said, the first go-around was pretty unsuccessful, but that was mostly due to the rice flop. The chicken had good flavor, but the wind was already out of my sails. Thankfully, my inability to waste food breathed new life into the dish. The sauce is far and away the best part, so don’t skimp on that. You might also want to throw on a few lettuce leaves for some added crunch. Next time, I will try this in its originally intended form — Bonefish’s bang bang shrimp — and report back on the results.