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Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast


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It’s not always on the menu at the huge Chinese take-out chain, but when this spicy special offering makes a limited-time-only appearance, I’m there. When it’s not on the menu, no problem. I’ll just grab some black bean paste at my local Asian market, and while I’m there I’ll get some dry Thai chilies to help perk things up.

This dish owes its great flavor to black bean paste, which is full of umami savoriness, just like soy sauce, so it enhances the taste of everything around it. You'll have a good laugh when you notice most recipes attempt to hack this dish with canned black beans. That's ridiculous since black bean paste is a traditional Asian flavoring ingredient made with fermented soybeans, not with black beans like the kind you get in your burrito at Chipotle.

Plan ahead to brine your chicken breast for a couple of hours so that it's moist and flavorful. This is an important step for a spot-on hack.

Find more of my Panda Express copycat recipes here.

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  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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