Banbanji Chicken is a flavorful Japanese dish featuring tender, shredded chicken topped with a savory sesame sauce adapted from the traditional Chinese Bang Bang Chicken. Quick to prepare and deliciously healthy, this recipe is perfect for any meal.

This cold chicken salad with savory sesame sauce is one of our favourite summer meals to beat the heat. My mom used to make this multiple times a week during the hotter months because it requires minimal cooking (less heat in the kitchen!) and mostly hands off. Plus, cucumbers and tomatoes are in season so they’re inexpensive but make for such a satisfying meal.

What is Bang Bang Chicken?

Bang bang ji or bang bang chicken is a traditional Chinese cold dish that has become popular in Japanese cuisine. It consists of shredded, poached chicken breast served with a flavorful sauce made from sesame paste, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and chili oil. The name “Bang Bang” refers to the sound made when tenderizing the chicken with a wooden stick or mallet. This dish is known for its tender texture and rich, nutty, and savory flavor profile.

In Japan, it’s commonly known as Banbanji (バンバンジー), and it has been adapted into a salad with a base of cucumbers and sometimes served with tomatoes. Since the Japanese generally prefer milder heat, the amount of chili is reduced, emphasizing the sesame flavor to create a creamy, nutty sauce.

When doing research for blog purposes, I thought it was funny that when you google bang bang chicken its the american-ized version where chicken is deep fried and coated with a sweet mayo chili sauce, lol.


Here’s what you’ll need to make bang bang chicken salad:

  • Chicken Breast: Cooked until tender and shredded, serving as the protein base for the dish.
  • Sake: Used in the cooking liquid to enhance the chicken’s flavor and aroma.
  • Sugar: Keeps the chicken soft.
  • Potato starch: Keeps the chicken moist and plump.
  • Salt: For seasoning the chicken and enhancing the overall flavor profile.
  • Cucumbers: Thinly sliced to provide a refreshing and crunchy texture that complements the tender chicken.
  • Sesame Paste: Creates a rich and nutty base for the sauce.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds a savory depth to the sesame sauce.
  • Rice Vinegar: Gives a tangy contrast to the richness of the sesame paste.
  • Fresh Ginger: Infusing the sauce with a warm and zesty note.
  • Garlic: For a hint of pungency and complexity in the sauce.
  • Chili crisp or oil : For a slight kick of heat in their sauce.
  • Sesame Seeds: Toasted and sprinkled on top for an extra layer of nutty flavor and a touch of garnish.

How to Make Banbanji Chicken

What I love about this recipe is how easy and hands off it is. It’s also very meal prep friendly and you don’t need any special equipment to make it. I use a sous vide because I have one, but you can easily do it by poaching, sous viding it in a pot or rice cooker, or even microwaving! I have all the methods in detail in the recipe card below but here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Make the sauce: Whisk all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Cook the chicken: Choose one of the methods below to cook the chicken. Cool and then shred it with your hands.
  3. Assemble: Thinly slice the cucumbers and pat it down to remove excess moisture. Place on a serving plate and then top it with the shredded chicken and sauce. Add some sesame seeds and scallions.

Serving Suggestions

While its commonly served with cucumbers, you can also serve the chicken on a salad with other vegetables or even serve it with some cold noodles like udon, somen or ramen!

How to Store Bang Bang Chicken

To store Banbanji Chicken, place the shredded chicken and sesame sauce in separate airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, and combine them just before serving to maintain freshness and flavor.

How long does the sesame sauce last?

Savory sesame sauce with fresh ginger and garlic, when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, can last for up to 5-7 days. The fresh ingredients may reduce its shelf life compared to sauces without them, so always check for any signs of spoilage, such as changes in smell, texture, or appearance, before using. For longer storage, you can freeze the sauce in ice cube trays for up to three months.

Enjoy!! If you make this Banbanji Chicken recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rating and if you decide to share it on socials, tag me on instagram @Okonomikitchen. I’d love to hear from you!

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Banbanji Chicken (Bang Bang Chicken)

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Banbanji Chicken is a flavorful Japanese dish featuring tender, shredded chicken topped with a savory sesame sauce adapted from the traditional Chinese Bang Bang Chicken. Quick to prepare and deliciously healthy, this recipe is perfect for any meal.


Units Scale


  • 1 chicken breast (250300 grams)
  • 2530 grams (10%) of shiokoji OR
  • 11 1/2 tbsp sake
  • 11 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/23/4 tsp potato starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Sesame Sauce

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) sesame paste or ground sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp (24 g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp (8 g) ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp (8 g) garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) sesame oil
  • 23 tsp (1015 ml) chili crisp

For the salad

  • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced thinly
  • sesame seeds, for topping
  • scallions, for topping


Stove top Method

  1. Lay chicken breast flat on a cutting board. Poke holes throughout with a fork. Place into a thick ziplock bag along with the shio koji OR sake, sugar, potato starch and salt. Massage the seasonings into the chicken and set aside.
  2. Bring 1.5 L of water to a boil. Carefully place the chicken breast into the pot and then once it comes up to a boil again turn off the heat, cover the pot and keep it on the stove. Let it sit for 1 hour. 
  3. Remove the chicken from the bag and shred with your hands. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the rest of the salad. 

Rice Cooker Method

  1. Follow step one from above, then place the bag of chicken in the inner bowl of your rice cooker. Pour boiling water into the inner bowl, ensuring the chicken is fully submerged. Close the rice cooker and switch it to Warm Mode. Let it sit for 45 minutes.
  2. After 45 minutes, remove the bag from the water and take the chicken out of the bag. Shred with your hands. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the rest of the salad. 

Microwave Method

  1. Place chicken into a microwave safe bowl. Add sake until it covered about 1/4 – 1/3 of the chicken. Cover with a microwave safe lid or cling wrap and microwave on medium for 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and microwave for another 2 1/2 – 3 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken with your hands and refrigerate. 

Sous Vide Method

  1. Follow the method from the above recipe but use the seasonings listed in this recipe card. 

Sesame Sauce

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until smooth. You can also blend all the ingredients together.

For the Salad

  1. Slice the cucumbers into batch sticks and then place them on a paper towel to remove excess moisture. 
  2. Place the cucumbers on a serving plate. Top with shredded chicken and then drizzle desired amount of sauce on top. Sprinkle sesame seeds and serve with thinly sliced scallions. Enjoy!

About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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