Grilled Bang Bang Shrimp Bowls
Grilled bang bang shrimp bowls: a fresh, easy dinner! Seasoned shrimp with veggies, rice, & a creamy, sweet/spicy sauce.
Today I’m sharing what has become one of my family’s favorite dinner recipes: Bang Bang Shrimp Bowls!
Like most Americans, we fell in love with bang bang shrimp. That sauce! A little sweet, a little spicy, and so creamy-delish!
I wanted to find a way to make it a whole meal, so I came up with the idea to pair it with rice and fresh veggies.
My kids went crazy for it! I love when they really like something I make!
Over time, the recipe has evolved. We decided it was easier and healthier to grill the shrimp than to bread and fry them, and it tasted just as good!
I’m on a mission to share more of our favorite main courses. So far I’ve given you a killer poutine recipe, a better-than-fast food crispy chicken sandwich, and our knock-your-socks off Detroit-style pizza.
And today, I’m adding this refreshing, easy grilled bang bang shrimp recipe!
What’s great about this recipe
What my kids love most about this bang bang shrimp dinner is that they can DIY it to their own tastes.
I prep all the ingredients like a buffet line, they grab a bowl, and add as much or as little as they like of all the different components.
And of course they love the taste! The sauce absolutely makes the dish. If you haven’t ever had bang bang sauce, you’ve gotta try it! It’s positively addictive.
My oldest and I also love that it’s pretty healthy and light. Tons of fresh veg, and not a lot of carbs or fat. You can feel good about having a big bowl of this!
It satisfies, tastes amazing, and doesn’t weigh you down or make you feel guilty.
Plus it’s really quick and easy to make!
What are bang bang shrimp?
When you see bang bang shrimp on a restaurant menu, it’s usually in the appetizer section.
Most of the time, it’s small shrimp (like popcorn size?) either tempura battered or with a light cornstarch dredge, fried and coated in a sweet and spicy, creamy sauce.
They are amazing! So light and crisp, and the sauce. The sauce, man…
It’s basically just mayonnaise and sweet chili sauce, but I like to jazz it up with a little extra somethin’.
It all comes together in the most incredible way. My only complaint is that it doesn’t really add up to a balanced meal.
Hence today’s recipe!
What does it taste like?
Bang bang shrimp have that unmistakable “seafood” flavor, but the sauce is really unique.
It’s creamy and rich, with a little bit of tang, a little bit of spice, and a little bit of sweet.
We like it to have a little lip-tingling heat, so I’ll bump up the spice with some sriracha and crushed red pepper. And my secret ingredient: toasted sesame oil, is that thing that makes you go “what is that??” It brings a little something extra to the mix that makes this sauce even more delicious!
Combined with rice, cucumbers, red bell peppers, avocado, and scallions, what you have is almost like a warm salad. Or a grain bowl! It’s so filling and and satisfying, without being at all heavy or junky.
Bang bang shrimp bowls ingredients
Most everything you’ll find in this dish is healthy and easy to access from your regular grocery store.
Here’s a quick rundown:
Rice forms the base of the bowl.
I just use regular old Carolina rice, but feel free to sub in whatever kind you keep on hand.
We’ve settled on raw cucumber, red bell peppers, avocado, and scallions as our favorite veggies.
But we experimented with some others too!
Really you can use anything you like.
- Matchstick carrots
- Steamed and shelled edamame
- Blanched green beans or asparagus
- Broccoli or cauliflower
- Greens such as baby kale, spinach, or arugula
- Tomatoes (maybe grape tomatoes?)
- Beans (black beans or white beans?)
- Pickled red onions or radish
Just to name a few!
I like to buy the jumbo frozen shrimp that are deveined but still have the tails and shells on. Don’t ask me why, I just think they have the best flavor!
Use whatever you like best. You can even buy pre-cooked shrimp if you want! That would be a great time-saver.
Follow the amounts in the recipe card below (to me they’re perfect!) or use them to your own taste.
Any kind of cooking oil will do! This is just to prevent the shrimp from sticking to the cooking surface.
Sweet Chili Sauce
Sweet chili sauce gives the bang bang shrimp its signature flavor.
It’s very sweet and syrupy, almost like a thin jam, and there’s just a hint of spice. It’s really not very spicy at all but there’s a little something more there than with say, duck sauce.
We like a little more heat, so I add in a healthy squirt of sriracha.
Not only does it add some extra tingle, but it’s got some additional seasonings in it that really balance out the flavors of the bang bang sauce.
If you like your bowls more on the mild side, you can add less or omit this ingredient.
I love this ingredient!
Toasted sesame oil adds something so special to this recipe! There’s nothing else quite like it.
Be sure to keep it refrigerated once it’s been opened. It goes rancid very quickly!
Crushed Red Pepper
This is another one you can add to taste or omit if you don’t like spicy food.
Crushed red pepper flakes just bring in an extra pop of heat with every few bites.
Do I need any special equipment?
How to make grilled bang bang shrimp bowls
Cook the rice.
Follow the cooking directions on the packaging, or use my instructions.
Put the rice in the pot along with water, place over medium-low heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let steam, then fluff with a fork.
Season the shrimp.
Remove the peels and tails, pat them dry, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Cook the shrimp.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the seasoned shrimp.
Cook, turning, until both sides are slightly browned and crisp and the shrimp are opaque all the way to their centers.
Make the bang bang sauce.
Place the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, toasted sesame oil, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.
Whisk everything together until smooth.
Assemble the bowls.
Put a layer of cooked rice in the bottom of a serving bowl, then add a few handfuls of veggies, some cooked shrimp, and a drizzle of sauce.
- I really love when the rice is fluffy and separate. I find that cooking it ahead of time really helps it not to be sticky! This way every grain of rice can get coated in that delicious bang bang sauce!
- It looks really pretty to julienne the veggies into long strips, but it’s probably not the most practical for eating. You might want to chop them into bite-sized pieces instead.
- Same goes for the shrimp! Bigger shrimp have the most incredible flavor (almost like lobster!) but they can be not-so-graceful to eat. You might want to chop them up!
- Shrimp cook very quickly! Don’t turn away from them or they could get overcooked and rubbery. You’ll know they’re done when they have a little flavorful brown crust on the outside, and their insides look opaque white and not at all translucent.
- Don’t cut the avocado until the very last minute! It tends to go brown very quickly. You can coat it in citrus juice to slow this process down, but there’s really no stopping it.
- Make the sauce as spicy or mild as you like by increasing or decreasing the amount of sriracha and crushed red pepper.
How to Serve
These bowls can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.
Obviously, the raw veggies will not be warm. But I kinda like the contrast of warm rice and shrimp with cold veggies.
The fact that these bang bang shrimp bowls can be enjoyed at any temperature makes them a really low-pressure meal. If your kiddos are running off in all directions at dinnertime, going to practices, rehearsals, clubs, or jobs, you can make these in the afternoon and they can come and go, having their suppers whenever they can squeeze them in.
How to store
The shrimp and avocado are probably the most perishable ingredients in this recipe.
Avocado will turn brown in a matter of hours. There’s no danger in eating a brown avocado, it just doesn’t look as appetizing. This is easy to get around by just adding the avocado in at the very last moment before serving.
Cooked shrimp will keep in the fridge for several days, or in the freezer for nearly a year.
A few more of my favorite savory recipes:
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Grilled Bang Bang Shrimp Bowls
For the rice
- 2 cups (370 g) rice, uncooked
- 3 cups (709.76 g) water
For the grilled shrimp
For the vegetables
- 1/2 (150 g) seedless cucumber, julienned or diced
- 1/2 (59.5 g) red bell pepper, julienned or diced
- 1 (201 g) avocado, sliced or diced
For the bang bang sauce
- 1 bunch (24 g) scallions, sliced
To make the rice
- Place the rice and water in a small lidded pot over low heat and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed (approx. 15 to 20 minutes).
- Remove the pot from the heat but allow it to sit and steam with the lid on for another 5 to 10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork.
To make the shrimp
- Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and season them with salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
- Preheat and oil the grill, or heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Cook the shrimp, turning, until they are slightly brown and crispy on the edges and opaque all the way to their centers (approx. 4 to 8 minutes).
To make the bang bang sauce
- Whisk the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper together in a small bowl until smooth.
To assemble the bang bang shrimp bowls
- Fill the bottom of the bowl with rice and place the veggies on top.
- Add the cooked shrimp and drizzle with bang bang sauce.
- Garnish with scallions.