Please tell me that you have had Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp.

Brad and I try to support local restaurants, chefs, cooks, establishments as often as possible. In our fine city, we love visiting everything from dive bar/sticky seat joints to high end restaurants that intimidate you with their wine lists, amuse bouches and fancy pants ingredients. I find that, in general, local/non-chain restaurants have better quality food and better service.

However, from time to time, a chain restaurant will reel me in with one of their signature tempting dishes. And Bang Bang Shrimp may be my favorite chain restaurant appetizer of all time.

*Side note: If you live in Cincinnati, my all-time favorite non-chain appetizers are as follows:

-Casual Joint: Habits for the Potato Rags (Crispy hashbrowns topped with bacon, cheese, tomato, onions and ranch)

-Middle of the Road: Senate for the Poutine Fries (French Fries topped with melted cheese curd and braised short ribs)

-Fancy Pants: Boca for the boat scallop served with caramelized brussel sprouts (seriously the best brussel sprout I have ever in my life even dared to imagine)

*End of Side Note- Back to the BANG! BANG!

I’m having fun these days trying to recreate some restaurant favorites at home. Why? I dunno. Because I want to. And because I can.

That’s why.

I figured I would start with the Bang Bang Shrimp. If you haven’t had this wonder, it is a small dish of fried shrimp that is coated in a creamy and spicy “bang bang” sauce. The shrimp is served over a bed of crisp iceberg lettuce and shredded cabbage. The whole kit n’ caboodle is topped with some green onion. It is the perfect naughty start to a meal.

I would like to preface this recipe by saying that I decided that for two people, it is much easier to just order some of the Bang Bang Shrimp to go. However, I will make this recipe again (FOR SURE) when having folks over for dinner or when entertaining a larger crowd.

Lets start by making the Bang Bang sauce.

You’ll need some Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. I found this at Whole Foods.

Drop 1/4 c. into a bowl.

Then add 1/2 c of mayo. Not Miracle Whip, people. Mayo.

Now get out your Sriracha hot sauce (this is found in the Asian foods aisle at the grocery store).

I started with a few drops of the hot sauce.

Then, I added a few more.

Then, some more.

I ended up adding about 1 1/2 t., but we like things spicy at our house.
I recommend adding a wee bit at a time, and giving the sauce a taste as you go.

Stir is up, and set your sauce aside.

Easy, right?

Now, because I think I hate simplicity from time to time, I decided I would make two different kinds of fried shrimp.

I like options, and I couldn’t decide between coconut shrimp or regular fried shrimp. Bonefish Grill makes regular fried shrimp, but I super duper love coconut shrimp.

And since I was cooking, it was decided that there should be a coconut shrimp version of the Bang Bang.

So, to make the batter for the Coconut Shrimp, put equal parts (I used 1/3 c. of each) of flour,

Cornstarch,

And shredded coconut (I prefer the unsweetened variety) into a bowl.

Add in one egg.

And then an equal part (1/3 c. for me!) of ice cold water.

Give that a little stir and set it aside.

Now, we will prepare batter number two.

Well actually, we will be preparing a little soak and then a dry dip for this batch of shrimp.

Mix together equal parts milk.

And regular old hot sauce.

I used Tobasco because I had it on hand. I think next time I’ll try Frank’s Red Hot because it is my fave.

And then in a separate bowl, toss in 1 cup of flour.

With 1/4 c. of cornmeal and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

There ya have it.

Now, we shall dunk the shrimp.

I used medium sized shrimp (Bonefish uses the super small guys), and I bought mine peeled and deveined.

I kept the tails on. However, when I make this again, I’ll take the tails off. It will make for easier eating.

I took about half of my shrimp and dumped them into the coconut batter.

Then, I took the other half and allowed them to soak up some hot milky goodness.

Hang with me.

I know that this doesn’t look all that appetizing at this point.

We’re getting there though. I promise.

Get out some peanut oil.

Or vegetable oil.

The key is to use a lighter oil because the lighter oil handles higher temperatures better.

An olive oil can burn, and you don’t want that.

Trust me.

Put about 1/2 cup of oil into a large skillet. You want to use enough to fully coat the entire bottom of the pan. In fact, the oil should be about 1/8 of an inch deep.

Here is my fool proof test to know when the oil is ready. I’m not good at using fancy gadgets like thermometers.

So, I put the tip of my batter coated fork into the oil….

And when it creates a perfect frying sound and perfect frying ripples, I know that the oil is ready.

Gently place a single layer of shrimp (I started with the coconut) around the pan. They should not touch each other.

And you should not mess with them once they are in the pan.

Side Note: Wear an apron, and use long tongs. This pan will spit a little hot oil at you so you want to be covered!

After 1 1/2 minutes, give the shrimp a flip.

They should be beautifully golden.

While the second side is cooking, pull your hot sauce and milk soaked shrimp out of the liquid.

Add them to your flour/corn meal mixture. Give them a toss.

Remove your coconut shrimp from the oil to a paper-towel lined plate. Immediately give them a sprinkle with salt.

What I SHOULD have done at this point was add these very hot shrimp to a bowl of the Bang Bang Sauce to coat.

I did not do this.

Don’t be like me.

Toss your shrimp with the sauce while the shrimp are piping hot.

Cook your second batch of shrimp- single layer in the oil for 1 1/2 minutes per side.

And when they look like this, pull them out of the pan.

Drop them onto a paper towel to drain some oil.

Give them a sprinkle of salt.

Then, immediately toss the shrimp with the sauce.

Serve the shrimp over a bed of lettuce, and top the whole thing with some chives or green onion.

Again, toss your shrimp. It will look prettier than my globs of sauce do.

I served up the shrimp with a couscous and vegetable stuffed portobello and a big fruit salad.

The verdict on the shrimp?

Well, both types of shrimp were delicious.

I think a hybrid of the two would actually be perfect. Next time, I think I will follow the coconut shrimp recipe, but I will add in 1/4 c. of  cornmeal (to make a crispier fried shrimp) and I will add in 1 T. of hot sauce (to increase the spice factor).

So, what is next?

Well, I have a Kung Pao Chicken/Shrimp/Scallops recipe that I’m excited to share.

It was GOOD- think PF Changs, but not so bad for ya.

I also have a delicious lasagna recipe too.

I am still stocking up the fridge with frozen meals, so I’m cooking away. I’m just  behind on sharing with you.

Don’t hate me.

Thanks.

1 1/2 weeks until the big due date. But I’m ready now. So, bring on the baby!

Hope you are all having a great week.

XO,

Leah

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