Banbanji/棒々鶏-Chinese fusion chicken salad
Ban, when written in Chinese characters, means “a stick”. Because this Szechuan/Sichuan cuisine (四川料理) used sticks to tenderize steamed chicken. The whole meaning is therefore: stick,stick chicken, how cute! I can almost hear the banging sounds of someone doing that repeatedly. Can you? This recipe was requested by friends whom we had over for Sunday dinner and they liked it very much. I’m flattered. I think it is a really great dish for a hot summer day.
Sichuan cuisine use lots of spices and this one is no exception. When it was introduced in Japan, it was too spicy for most Japanese. Naturally, Japanese people modified and Japonnized it to fit their taste - to resemble a cousin once removed identity? One problematic thought- people of Sichuan providence believe sweating is healthy, they eat lots of spicy foods to force sweat to come out from every pore so taming the wild heat is defeating the purpose?
There are many versions of the dish and it is very flexible about ingredients (except chicken breast of course) and volume, also for degree of heat. In other words, whatever…whatever is in your fridge that is. Just to be clear, I don’t ban ban chicken.
Low-fat version of Banbanji Serve for 4
- (Costco) frozen chicken tenderloin breast meat 8 pieces or 2 pieces per person.
- 2-3 stalk of green onion-green parts only, white parts use later in the sauce.
- Skin of ginger roots-about 2 inch by 4 inch, actual ginger part use later in sauce.
- Vegetable- cucumber, bean sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach or arugula,etc.
- Boil water (about 4 cups,enough to cover all the chicken pieces) in medium sauce pan.
- Add green onion, ginger skin and chicken. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cooked through. You do this to take away the chicken odor. If you don’t have green onion or ginger, use 2-3 Tablespoons of rice wine instead.
- Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables. Cucumber - cut in match-stick style. Beans sprouts - boil for 1-2 minutes then drain and give an ice bath to cool. Tomatoes - thinly sliced. Spinach,lettuce and arugula - wash and spin dry. Lay all the vegetable on large platter.
- Drain the water. Discard green onion and ginger skin. Wait for the chicken to cool enough to handle then shred in small, skinny pieces. Lay chicken on the top of vegetables. Chill for about 1 hour.
While chicken and vegetable are chilling, prepare the sauce. Adjust to suit your taste.
- Green onion,white parts minced
- White miso paste about 4 Tablespoons
- Sugar 2 Tablespoons-can use sugar substitute
- Soy sauce 2 Tablespoons
- Rice vinegar 2 Tablespoons
- Tobanjan (Spicy miso paste) 1 to 2 teaspoons
- Sesame oil 1 to 2 teaspoons
- Mirin (sweetened sake wine) 1 Tablespoon ( optional)
- Ginger, grated
- Sesame seeds
Mix everything except sesame seeds with the back of your spoon. Chill. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. For vegetarian use tofu in place of chicken.