Although this recipe looks like it has quite a few steps, by doing it in stages, it is fairly straight-forward. I marinated my chicken overnight, made the sauce in the morning, made my salad before cooking the chicken and everything came together beautifully.
This is a dish full of wonderful flavours – another winner from Irena Macri of EatDrinkPaleo and one which we really enjoyed. I had a pack of 6 chicken thighs so increased the amount of marinade and sauce and the meal served for two days. The second day we had the chicken cold and it was still delicious.
As Irena states, this is not the original version of Bang Bang Chicken but a paleo one which she has perfected and it really is tasty. The mango and cucumber salad beautifully offsets the crispy and spicy chicken and creamy sauce. I love the tapioca slurry which gives the chicken a super crispy finish. I also served sliced sugarsnap peas – barely dipped into boiling water so they were still lovely and crispy.
For the chicken:
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon mild/medium curry powder
1.5 teaspoons onion powder
1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
For the slurry:
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 tablespoon coconut flour
¼ cup almond or coconut milk (or water could be used)
For the Sauce:
1 teaspoon coconut oil
½ small brown onion, diced
½ long red chilli, finely sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
3 tablespoons almond butter (I used cashew butter and it was delicious)
2 tablespoons coconut aminos or Tamari
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut yoghurt or cream
¼ cup water
Juice of ½ lime
For the Salad:
1 or 2 heads of baby gem lettuce, shredded
½ cucumber, sliced into thin strips
1 large (or two small) carrots sliced into thin matchsticks
½ yellow pepper, thinly sliced into strips
1 small mango, sliced into thin strips
¼ cup finely sliced spring onions
Juice of ½ lime
Pinch of sea salt
Drizzle of olive oil
Cut the chicken thighs into manageable pieces. Mix together all of the spices and sprinkle over the chicken. Massage the spices into the chicken with your hands to make sure they are evenly distributed . Leave in the fridge for at least an hour, or preferably overnight to marinate. Make sure to bring out of the fridge ten to fifteen minutes before cooking.
Make the sauce (this can be made in advance and warmed just before use). Add the teaspoon of coconut oil to a small saucepan with the onion, garlic, chilli and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir through until melted and well combined. Transfer the sauce to a Nutribullet or blender and blitz until smooth. Store in the fridge until needed. Reheat before use, adding a little water if too thick.
Make the slurry by whisking together all the ingredients in a bowl. Add the marinated chicken and mix until evenly coated.
Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pan or skillet. Once hot, add the chicken pieces one by one making sure there is room around each. Cook for a few minutes on each side until just cooked and still juicy (depending on the size of your chicken pieces, this will take 2-3 minutes on each side or up to 5 minutes). Keep the first batch warm whilst you cook the rest.
Serve the chicken sprinkled with a few sliced spring onions, with the salad and sauce on the side, with an optional serving of steamed sugar snap peas.
NB: All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.