By Rosie Hawthorne on June 15, 2020
I’ve been cooking a lot of shrimp lately. I have a freezer-full and it’s come in quite handy during these COVID-19 times. As always, I’m thinking of new ways to prepare shrimp and I’ve got one I think you’ll enjoy – Bang Bang Shrimp.
You might have seen restaurant dishes labeled bang bang chicken or bang bang shrimp and wondered what it is. Bang bang chicken is an internationally popular Szechuan dish which has still retained some of its original identity. The dish originated in Hanyang, China, a city located at the confluence of the Han and Yangtze Rivers. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Hanyang merged with the cities of Hankou and Wuchang to form Wuhan. So, armed with that bit of history and information, bang bang shrimp is truly a dish for our times. Hanyang had long been famed for its high-quality chickens and in the early 1900s, Hanyang street vendors sold chunks of chicken cloaked in a spicy sauce as a snack on skewers. The snack was known as “bang bang chicken” because of the wooden clubs, or “bang,” they used to hammer the backs of the cleaver blades through the meat to tenderize and loosen the fibers for shredding. The word bàng also means “stick,” so the name could have derived from that also.
At any rate, I’m foregoing the bird, and going for the shrimp in this dish. The shrimp will be lightly fried and then draped in a spicy sauce with hints of salt, sweet, sour, and tingling heat.
Rosie’s Bang Bang Shrimp
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and de-tracted (That black line running down the back is the digestive tract, not a vein.)
Cover the shrimp with buttermilk and shake a tablespoon or two of hot sauce (Texas Pete) over top. Stir and let soak while you prepare the rest.
For the Bang Bang Sauce:
Mix all ingredients until smooth.
Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare the shrimp coating:
Drain shrimp, shaking off excess liquid, then toss in coating mix, covering evenly.
In a deep frying pot, heat about 3 inches peanut oil to 375°. Fry shrimp in batches, 6-8 at a time, depending on size of pot, until golden brown – about 1 minute. Drain.
Pile shrimp on a bed of rice, add some steamed vegetables, and pour on the sauce. Top with roasted peanuts and sliced scallions.
Alternatively, you can go with a fried tortilla or puffy taco with shredded cabbage, carrot, and bell pepper. Tuck the fried shrimp inside and generously drizzle the sauce over top.