Some sort of Bang Bang Shrimp recipe seems to be all the rage across the virtual food highway... which is great! I'm glad people are experiencing the wonders that are the Bang Bang! I wonder if they have a more in depth history, but my extent of knowledge regarding their existence is from Bonefish Grill, which is a very tasty seafood restaurant mainly based on the East coast. Travis and I frequented this restaurant during my visits to Pensacola, where he was stationed during flight school. There is a branch right by the airport there, and I may or may not have thought about their business hours when making my flight plans.
So before you think I'm utterly insane for considering a restaurant's business hours while making flight arrangements to go see my husband, let me clear up a few things.....
1. Of course the priority was to go see Travis. No doubts about that!
2. He lived in Milton, not Pensacola proper. He didn't even technically live IN Milton, just north of it. Milton is the sticks- like cue the banjos sticks. Their "nice" restaurant was not much better than a Burger King. I kid you not. Bonefish grill was the nicest restaurant for the next 100 miles or so north of the airport.
3. That's how good the Bang Bang Shrimp are.
For those of you who aren't familiar with this dish- it's a fried shrimp appetizer covered in a light layer of sweet and spicy chile sauce. It's a wonderful combination of creamy mayonnaise, sweet Thai chile sauce, and spicy Sriracha.
I don't fry foods often, but when I do, normally I use the three step method of frying- dredge in cornstarch or flour, dip in milk or an egg wash, then dredge again in breadcrumbs or panko. It's tedious and messy and it takes a while since you have to do each piece by itself. Tasty, yes, but not very time efficient!
This recipe I used tonight calls for a thick batter that coats the shrimp and then you just drop them in hot oil. I was a little wary since I've tried batters like this while trying to make corn dogs and it just slid off the meat, even when it was patted dry and dusted with flour. But I thought what the heck, so I gave it a shot.
It worked out pretty well, considering it was so much less labor and time intensive than the dredging method. It was not as crispy crunchy as I would have hoped the shrimp would have been, but they're definitely not soggy. The flavor of both the fried shrimp by themselves and the sauce were spot on from what I remember having in the restaurant.
If you're super short on time, you could even use some precooked and frozen breaded shrimp and then just drizzle the sauce over them. Completely homemade usually does taste better, but seriously, if you've got kids running around and bills to pay, and oh yeah that thing called a full time marriage and job and blah de blah de blah de blah-- you get the point.
You do what you can when you can, right?
The sauce will keep for well... as long as mayonnaise keeps in the fridge. Just put in in a jar and use it for future dishes- grilled chicken, broiled tilapia, even steak! Anything that could use a creamy/sweet/spicy sauce would definitely benefit from this sauce.
Copy Cat Bang Bang Shrimpbarely adapted from Whatsinthatdish
makes 4 large dinner servings, or 8 appetizer servings
2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
1.5 teaspoons salt, divided
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup corn starch
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Oil for deep frying, about 1.5 inches deep in a large, high sided heavy pot
Scallions for garnish
1/2 cup (scant) mayonnaise- you may use low fat or fat free, should not affect flavor that much
1/2 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
1 to 1.5 teaspoons Sriracha Hot Sauce (depending on how hot you like it- be careful- a little goes a a long way!)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Sprinkle shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Pat shrimp dry at the end of the 10 minutes. Meanwhile, start heating oil in a heavy, deep sided pot to 350º and combine all sauce ingredients in a large enough bowl to accommodate all the shrimp after they're cooked.
Combine the rest of the salt with the remaining batter ingredients. Add batter to the bowl with shrimp, stir until the shrimp is well coated. Working in batches, drop shrimp in the deep fryer and fry till golden brown (about 3 minutes). Just watch your thermometer and don't let the heat get below 325º, if you do, too many shrimp are in the pot, so add in less the next batch. Drain fried shrimp on paper towels until all have been cooked.
Place all of the cooked shrimp into the bowl with sauce, stir to combine. Serve immediately and garnish with scallions. Serve with a green salad and enjoy!