Chefs' Recipes

Tony Tan's bang bang chicken

This popular Sichuanese dish is a heady mix of refreshment and spice, with peanuts and cucumber providing plenty of crunch. It's the type of dish you could get addicted to.

By Tony Tan
  • Serves 4 - 6
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"Also known as 'strange-flavour chicken', bang bang chicken gets its name from the sound of a mallet pounding a piece of chicken on a chopping board," says Tony Tan. "A popular dish from Sichuan, it's essentially poached chicken dressed with a nutty, hot and numbing sauce."


  • 1 litre chicken stock (4 cups)
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 500 gm skinless chicken breast fillets or boned chicken marylands (1 lb 2 oz)
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds or peanuts
  • 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp Chinese roasted sesame paste (see note)
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp crushed Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp chicken stock
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful of coriander sprigs
  • 1 small cucumber, cut into short batons


  • 1
    Place the stock and Shaoxing rice wine in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Rub the chicken with salt and poach in the simmering stock until just tender (15-20 minutes). Remove from the stock (reserve stock for another use) and cool.
  • 2
    Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and season to taste with salt.
  • 3
    Beat the chicken lightly with a rolling pin or mallet to loosen the fibres. Using your fingers, shred the chicken into long strips along the grain. Transfer to a serving plate, add the salad ingredients and toss to combine. Drizzle with dressing to taste and sprinkle with sesame seeds or peanuts and sliced chilli. Serve with extra dressing on the side.


Chinese roasted sesame paste is available from select Asian grocers. If you don't have any, use tahini.This recipe from Hong Kong Food City by Tony Tan (Murdoch Books, $49.99) has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.