Bash-Bang Chicken & Cucumber Noodle Salad

From Ainsley’s National Trust Cook Off, ITV

Traditionally a Sichuan dish, this is said to be called bang bang chicken because of the way the chicken is first bashed to make it tender before shredding. Mine is a little twist on the original so I’ve called it bash bang chicken! I’ve added noodles to the traditional combination of chicken, peanut sauce and cucumber to make a satisfying salad that’s great for a light lunch. Peanut and cucumber is a popular combination in Asian cooking and the vibrant and refreshing vegetable cuts through the bold spicy sauce perfectly.


Place the chicken in one layer in the bottom of a saucepan with enough water to cover by about 6cm. Add the spring onion, ginger, garlic and peppercorns. Bring to the boil and then immediately reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 12-14 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken) and then remove from the heat. Cover and allow the chicken to sit in the poaching liquid for a further 10 minutes until the juices run clear and then remove and refresh in a bowl of water with ice (reserve a little of the poaching liquid). Leave to cool in the water.

Place the noodles in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave to sit for 10 minutes (or cook according to the packet instructions). Refresh in cold water, drain and allow to cool.

Make the peanut dressing. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Whisk in 1-3 tbsp of poaching liquid (or water) until the dressing is smooth.

Drain the chicken and pat dry. Bash the meat with a rolling pin or the base of a pan to flatten and loosen the meat slightly and then shred into strips using two forks. Drizzle over a little of the peanut dressing and toss through.

Mix together the sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add a squeeze of lime juice to taste. Pour over the noodles and toss through the coriander and mint.

Place the noodles on a large serving dish and arrange the cucumber on top. Arrange the chicken on top of the cucumber. Drizzle with more of the dressing, scatter with the sesame, chilli and spring onion. Serve with any remaining dressing on the side.



  • For the Chicken
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1-2 spring onion
  • 3 slices of fresh root ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • For the Noodles
  • 150g vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp caster sugar
  • ½ lime, for squeezing
  • handful of both coriander & mint, roughly chopped
  • For the Peanut Dressing
  • 100 g smooth peanut butter (or tahini if preferred)
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp Chinese chilli oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • To Serve
  • 1 cucumber, halved and sliced on the angle
  • 2 spring onion, shredded
  • 1 red chilli, sliced into rings
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds