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.
- 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)
- Peel garlic and crush each individual clove to release its oils
- Cut ginger into thin slices
- Remove basil leaves from stem
how to make three-cup chicken
- 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.
- Remove thighs and wipe the excess oil from the pan. Cut each piece into about 5 chunks (not too small!).
- 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.
- When the ginger slices turn brown and shrivel up, add the crushed garlic cloves and stir until you can smell the garlic-y goodness.
- Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and quickly stir until it starts melting and caramelizing.
- Add the chunks of chicken thigh and stir.
- On medium-high, add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and coat each piece of chicken evenly, stir.
- Add 3 table spoons of rice wine, stir. Also add however much of chili sauce you want.
- Put a lid on and let it simmer until the chicken fully absorbs the sauce. It will look thick and pasty at this point.
- Add the basil leaves and remove pan from heat. Stir and infuse the basil with the residual heat.
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