|Bang bang chicken with bean shoots|
I made this salad for dinner late one night, when I was tired and not particularly hungry, but still needed something nourishing and tasty. Recently, my go-to simple supper has been soba noodles with a spicy Sichuanese sauce, topped with a fried egg - on this occasion, I wanted the same punchy flavours, but without the heaviness of the noodles. I had some cold roast chicken in the fridge, as well as some beanshoots and cucumber and - ta-dah! - a deliciously refreshing dinner was born.
The spicy sauce in question is a mix of sesame paste, chilli oil, soy sauce and black vinegar - essentially, it's the sauce from Fuchsia Dunlop's clay bowl chicken, but I've made it so often that I no longer refer to her original recipe, but just mix it up as I go, adjusting the quantities and ingredients depending on how I feel. (I almost always feel like adding as much sesame paste as possible!) Reading through Fuchsia's books a few nights later, I realised that the dressing for clay bowl chicken is pretty much the same as that for her bang bang chicken - so I've decided to call my own version Bang Bang Chicken and Beanshoots.
|Bang bang sauce|
As for the beanshoots, ordinarily I'd trim them and blanch them briefly, but it was late and I was tired. I don't think I'd ever had raw beanshoots before, and I actually really liked the crunchy, refreshing texture. Good thing I was feeling lazy!
|Bang bang chicken and Beanshoots|
I served these with mantou buns. I don't really think they're totally necessary - indeed, the big bowl of leftover salad I took to work the next day was substantial enough on its own - but I had them in the freezer and they're so cute! (Eaten carbless, it strikes me that this is a perfect late-night post-gym supper).
|Salad and mantou bun|
I was so pleased with this salad: nutritious, filling, and above all, very very tasty. The quantities I give below are a bit vague - it's not the type of recipe that demands precision. Just layer everything up in a bowl, stir in the dressing and get stuck in!
Bang Bang Chicken and Beanshoots
Sarah's version of a classic recipe, based on Fuchsia Dunlop's Strange-Flavour / Bang Bang Chicken (Sichuan Cookery) and her Claybowl Chicken (Every Grain of Rice)
For the salad
2 handfuls beanshoots
1/2 a cucumber, cut into fine strips
1 cup cold cooked chicken, shredded
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted if you can be bothered
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
Small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
For the dressing
1 tablespoon sesame paste
2 tablespoons Chinese chilli oil with sediment
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinkiang black vinegar
1 drop sesame oil
Pinch ground Sichuan pepper
To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust to your liking if necessary.
In a serving bowl, layer up the beanshoots, cucumber and cooked chicken. Sprinkle over the spring onion, sesame seeds, peanuts and coriander.
Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to coat.
Serves 1, easily scaled up