Recipe: 三杯雞 (san bei ji) or three-cup chicken

三杯雞 (san bei ji) or three cup chicken is a staple dish in every Taiwanese household. The “three-cup” in its name refers to the ratio of the 3 main ingredients: 1 portion of black sesame oil to 1 soy sauce to 1 rice wine.  I love this dish because it’s so good, and so easy to make.DSC02805

ingredients

  • 6-8 pieces of boneless chicken thigh
  • 1 whole garlic
  • ginger; the size of 2 fingers (unless you have huge hands)
  • 3 tablespoons of rice wine
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of black sesame oil (since chicken thigh itself is pretty fatty, you really don’t need the same ratio of oil)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 big bunch of basil
  • a teaspoon of chili sauce (or more if you like it spicy, or none at all)

prep work

  1. Peel garlic and crush each individual clove to release its oils
  2. Cut ginger into thin slices
  3. Remove basil leaves from stem

how to make three-cup chicken

  1. Heat pan on medium. Without adding any oil, place the thighs in the pan and cook each side for about 2 minutes. Your chicken is still uncooked at this point, this is just to give it a slight crisp.
  2. Remove thighs and wipe the excess oil from the pan. Cut each piece into about 5 chunks (not too small!).
  3. On medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of black sesame oil and ginger slices. Make sure your ginger slices don’t have any moisture on them otherwise the oil will splatter.
  4. When the ginger slices turn brown and shrivel up, add the crushed garlic cloves and stir until you can smell the garlic-y goodness.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and quickly stir until it starts melting and caramelizing.
  6. Add the chunks of chicken thigh and stir.
  7. On medium-high, add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and coat each piece of chicken evenly, stir.
  8. Add 3 table spoons of rice wine, stir. Also add however much of chili sauce you want.
  9. Put a lid on and let it simmer until the chicken fully absorbs the sauce. It will look thick and pasty at this point.
  10. Add the basil leaves and remove pan from heat. Stir and infuse the basil with the residual heat.
  11. Serve!

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6 thoughts on “Recipe: 三杯雞 (san bei ji) or three-cup chicken

    • Thank you! The platform is super easy to make! Just super glue cedar shims together and whitewash it with paint before staining it 🙂

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