A classic, cold Sichuanese chicken dish with an unusual name. Strange Flavor Chicken (aka Bang Bang Chicken) targets all of your taste buds with a combination of salty, sweet, sour, nutty, hot, and numbing flavors.
I'm going to be honest. The real reason I wanted to try making this dish is because of its awesome name: Strange Flavor Chicken. It's alternatively called Bang Bang Chicken, also a super awesome name. As if the amusing names for this Sichuanese dish weren't reason enough, I was very intrigued by the flavor profile of this dish. The "strange flavor" aspect refers to the combination of salty, sweet, sour, nutty, hot, and numbing flavors.
I really wasn't sure what to expect, but upon tasting the sauce for dressing this cold chicken dish, I would have to agree that it really embodies all of those flavors, perhaps with "nutty" being the standout from the assertive sesame paste.
I can see why they call it Strange Flavor because I did find it to taste somewhat peculiar, in a good way. It took a few bites before I could really wrap my head around the contrasting yet balanced flavors in the sauce. I actually used store-bought rotisserie chicken which I shred up instead of cooking the chicken myself, which made for a much faster preparation.
I also love the way the julienned scallions curl once freshened up in some cold water. It makes for a really pretty presentation! This truly unique Sichuanese dish is a lovely component to any authentic Chinese meal. It's also a great idea for using up leftover roast or boiled chicken by dressing it up with this intense sauce.
Strange Flavor Chicken (aka Bang Bang Chicken)
- 1 pound cooked chicken meat cooled
- 6 to 8 scallions white parts only
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon light (regular) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinkiang or black Chinese vinegar
- 3 tablespoons well-blended Chinese sesame paste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons chili oil with chile flakes (see notes)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon ground roasted Sichuan pepper
- 3 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Cut the chicken, with any remaining skin, into slivers about ½ inch wide (if you want to be really authentic, hit it a few times with a rolling pin to loosen the fibers and then tear the flesh into shreds by hand).
- Cut the scallions into sections and then slice these lengthwise into fine slivers. Put them into a bowl of cold water to refresh.
- Stir the sugar and salt in the soy sauce and vinegar until dissolved. Gradually stir in the sesame paste to make a smooth sauce. Add the other ingredients except the sesame seeds and mix well.
- Shortly before serving, drain the scallions and pile them neatly in the center of your serving dish. Lay the chicken slivers on top of them. Pour over the prepared sauce.
- At the last minute, sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*