If you haven’t already picked up on it, sometimes I just do videos on what I want to eat in the moment. Sometimes it’s just the best way to make content that I care about, and in turn, I hope you find interesting. Popcorn chicken is an amazing invention. I mean, who was eating chicken nuggets one day and thought to themselves “these aren’t small enough”? But, somehow, they were right. It’s the poppability that I think is the most intriguing. You wouldn’t casually toss a whole chicken strip into your gaping maw, would you? But with pieces this small, its easy to take one and pop it in your mouth. Maybe even two pieces if you’re feeling bold.
The origins of Bang Bang sauce are, from my 10 minutes of googling, a mystery. There is a traditional Chinese dish called Bang Bang chicken, but it not related to the Bang Bang sauce. I know that it was at least popularized, if not invented for a shrimp dish at the just-a-step-or-two-above-Red-Lobster chain restaurant, Bonefish Grill. I would also venture to guess that it’s 50/50 chili sauce/mayo places it squarely in the category of American cuisine. What I can say for sure is that it is pretty gosh-darned good when paired with fried foods. Maybe that’s all we need to know?
In this video, I also bemoan my (at the time) lack of a crucial piece of equipment for frying – the spider strainer. I did order one right after filming this video. They’re not just good for frying, but also for fishing short pasta from boiling water, which is a preferred method, especially if you want to preserve a lot of pasta water. It’s only $10, so don’t hesitate to grab one HERE.
Oh, and the Thai chili sauce that I made in the video was by Budget Bytes. That can be found here.
Written recipe with ingredient amounts:
Popcorn Chicken with Bang Bang Sauce
- 2 lb Chicken thighs Chicken breast will also work
- 2 C Milk
- Juice from one lemon
- 3 Tablespoons Soy sauce
- 2 C All purpose flour
- 1 C Potato starch Cornstarch will also work
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 2 Tbsp Garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp Onion powder
- 1 tsp Cayenne powder
- 3 Tbsp Sweet paprika
- 3 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Black pepper
Bang Bang Sauce
- 1/2 C Sweet thai chili sauce
- 1/2 C Mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Sriracha
- 1 Tbsp Gochujang (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients for marinade in a large bowl
- Cut chicken into 1" to 3/4" pieces, place in marinade. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes up to 4 hours
- Combine all breading ingredients in a wide, flat dish, such as a baking sheet or wide bowl, Whisk to combine.
- Drip about 1/3 cup of marinade into breading mixture to make small clumps throughout breading. toss each piece of chicken in the breading mixture to coat. Set on a cooling rack. Once all pieces are coated, place cooling rack with chicken in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat oil to 350 degrees. Monitor temperature with candy/ oil thermometer or instant read thermometer every few minutes.
- Once oil is to temp and chicken has rested, place individual pieces of chicken into the oil until they are a golden brown color. They should be cooked through once they are golden brown, but it is highly recommended to check larger pieces with an instant read thermometer to be sure they have reached proper temperature of 165 degrees. Once cooked, place on another cooling rack or a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
- Enjoy immediately.
Bang Bang sauce
- Combine all ingredients into a medium bowl
- Mix to combine