Bang Bang Shrimp has managed to win the hearts (and taste buds) of thousands with its refreshingly crispy texture, flavorful meat, and exotic, spicy taste.
This family-favorite features juicy fried shrimp tossed in a creamy, sweet chili sauce that’s just the right blend of sweet and spicy.
If you decide to try this recipe for yourself (and we highly recommend that you do), consider yourself warned! It’s wholesome, it’s hearty, and it’s absolutely addictive.
What is Bang Bang Shrimp?
If you haven’t had it, I’m sure you’re wondering, what is “Bang Bang Shrimp,” and why is the adjective repeated twice?
The “Bang Bang” actually refers to the sauce that the shrimp is dunked in. It’s a cream-based sauce that is sweet and spicy, giving the dish that unique kick that makes it so darn desirable.
Typically made of mayonnaise, Sriracha, and sweet chili sauce, Bang Bang sauce has such a unique, distinct flavor, it actually works great with other kinds of meat too (specifically seafood) and even some veggies.
The shrimp itself is typically coated in buttermilk and cornstarch to make it nice and soft, and flavorful too.
Other recipes recommend Panko breadcrumbs if you want your shrimp really crispy, but cornstarch is still the best option to get that light and airy coating.
What to Serve with Bang Bang Shrimp
Since Bang Bang Shrimp is typically served as an appetizer, you can basically pair it with any main dish to create a full meal. Here are the dishes I personally believe work best with some sweet-and-spicy shrimp:
Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Stick the sides together and let the delicious, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of creamy mashed potatoes complement the crisp, juicy crunch of battered and fried shrimp.
Grilled Salmon. For your health-conscious, white-meat-only friends, serve your shrimp with more seafood! You can’t go wrong with fresh grilled salmon, especially if you’re at a garden or barbecue party. Squeeze lemon over it for a dash of fresh flavor.
Garlic Butter Scallops. Want a really rich meal? Pair sweet-and-spicy shrimp with tangy and tart scallops for an incredibly tasty experience.
Fresh Garden Salad. If the Bang Bang sauce has too much flavor for your taste, balance it out with something more subtle. Fresh garden salad works well as everyone’s favorite healthy staple.
Coleslaw or Veggie Slaw. This works the same as the garden salad, but adds a bit more flavor. Coleslaw works when you don’t want to pair your bangin’ shrimp with something too boring. Plus, it’s great served chilled, helping to counteract the spice in the steaming Bang Bang dish.
Steamed or Fried Rice. Turn your Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer into a complete meal by serving it with a large helping of steamed or fried rice. Try drizzling some of that Bang Bang sauce on plain white rice and thank me later!
Buttered Veggies. Vegetables slathered in butter might not be the healthiest of dishes, but go easy on yourself. At least you’re still getting some vegetables in!
Serve these tasty little morsels alongside your Bang Bang Shrimp for a more subdued—but no less spicy—dining experience.
Tips & Tricks for the Best Bang Bang Shrimp
Want to milk the Bang Bang Shrimp flavor for all its worth? I’ve got some tips that can make all the difference. They’re optional, of course, but totally recommended if you want to achieve the best results.
Stick to Cornstarch or Panko Breadcrumbs. As we mentioned earlier, cornstarch fries light and airy, and can cover the whole shrimp, giving you a thoroughly crisp coating.
Regular bread crumbs are too fine and don’t crisp up as nicely, which could lead to inconsistent coating. And no one likes lumpy fried fish.
Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Mayonnaise for a Healthier Version. If the mayo in the Bang Bang sauce doesn’t work for you, don’t worry! Greek Yogurt is just as creamy and works just as well for a healthy alternative.
Work in Batches. If you try to cook the shrimp all at the same time, you run the risk of overcooking some. There won’t be an even distribution of heat, especially if they’re all piled on top of each other.
I recommend frying 6 to 7 shrimp at a time to keep them all nice and even.
Keep Finished Shrimp Warm. To ensure uniform freshness—and crispiness—in the finished product, use a warming plate or pre-heated oven to keep the freshly fried shrimp hot while you work in batches.
Frozen Shrimp? Pat them Dry After Thawing. If you’re using frozen shrimp for this dish, make sure to pat them completely dry after thawing.
The buttermilk won’t be able to properly coat—much less penetrate—the shrimp if it’s even slightly damp, and this will greatly affect how the batter clings to the shrimp. Again; lumpy shrimp is no good.
Soak the Shrimp for 1 Minute. For best results—and more flavor—soak the shrimp in buttermilk for one full minute before coating in cornstarch or Panko breadcrumbs. No more, no less.
Use a Ziploc Bag for Easier Coating. Instead of dipping the buttermilk-ed shrimp in a bowl of cornstarch, use a Ziploc bag filled with cornstarch for thorough coating.
Drop in four or five soaked shrimp at a time and shake it up. Refill the Ziploc as necessary.
Use Salt & Pepper to Season Before Coating Shrimp. Want to make this dish even more worthy of that extra “bang”? Season the shrimp with a bit of salt and pepper after soaking it in buttermilk but before coating it in cornstarch.
Try Sprinkling Chives, Chopped Onion, or Fresh Greens for Extra Flavor. Finished frying, drying, and saucing the shrimp? Add a light sprinkle of chives, chopped onion, or fresh greens to complement the sweet-and-spicy sauce.
How to Make Bang Bang Shrimp
For a dish that sounds—and tastes—so delightfully exotic, Bang Bang Shrimp is actually pretty simple to make. The trick lies in achieving the perfect blend of sweet, creamy, and spicy for the sauce, and then getting the shrimp evenly coated and fried to a lovely, light brown color. Everything else is pretty straightforward.
So get ready. All you really need is Shrimp and Sauce:
Sauce. You can’t go wrong with mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce, and Sriracha hot sauce. However, I suggest adding some red pepper flakes and/or a dash of lemon juice to really bring out the flavor!
Shrimp. Remember to always peel and devein your shrimp, or buy them pre-peeled and ready to go. It’s also best to remove the tails before serving, as that makes it easier to pop the shrimp straight into your mouth.
But if you’re going for aesthetics (i.e., an Instagram-worthy photo), leave the tails on. You can always chop them off after.
Another Tip: using large/jumbo-sized shrimp or 31-count shrimp. That’ll give you about 30 to 33 shrimp per pound bag. Use more depending on your party size.
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