Three cup chicken is a chicken dish I first encountered during my short time living in Taiwan back in 2010. I fell in love with it and have been cooking it in some form ever since. “Three cups” refers to the three main condiments used to braise the chicken: Soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil.
Traditionally, three cup chicken is more of a dry dish. I like my food saucy, so I’ve adapted a recipe to suit my preferences. However if you prefer your food somewhat drier or with less sauce, there are two ways to achieve that. 1) You add less of the condiments or 2) you cook on a high heat for a longer time to reduce the sauce. The second method is a bit risky as it may make the chicken taste dry and tough but you do get a more intense flavour. Either way, it’s always prudent to keep an eye out on a dish like this!
The taste of the dish should be slightly sweet, salty and nutty (from the sesame oil). Again, I’ve written this recipe to suit my own tastes so it’s always worth playing around with the amounts of ingredients to suit yours. I’ll also add that this works perfectly fine as a vegetarian dish, you would of course swap out the chicken for some tofu.
Below is the recipe both in Chinese and English. Try it out and let me know what you think of it!
蔥 (五莖), 分開白部和綠部
半杯蜜 (不需要的, 我喜歡吃甜, 所以我加密)
開大火, 方上鍋. 先一起炒蒜頭, 薑和蔥 (白部). 以後方肉進去, 炒肉到肉的顏色改變. 以後加 生抽, 老抽, 米酒, 蜜和麻油. 當煮熟的時候, 火开小. 等45分至1小時, 然後加蘿勒枼, 麻子和蔥(綠部)
1 kilo of chicken thigh fillets, cut into chunks
4 birds eye chillis, finely sliced
2 heads of garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece of Ginger, finely chopped
5 spring onions, separate into white parts and green parts, then roughly sliced
1/4 cup each of light soy sauce, dark soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine
1/2 cup of honey (I have a sweet-tooth, less honey can be added or even omitted)
1/4 cup of sesame oil
2 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds
In a wok on high heat, add the chilli, garlic, ginger and spring onions (white parts). Fry for about 30-40 seconds. Then add in the chunks of chicken thigh fillet, stir fry until the chicken is browned. Then add the light and dark soy sauce, the rice wine, the honey and sesame oil all at once. Bring it all to a boil and then turn the heat to the lowest setting, leaving it all to simmer for roughly 45 minute to an hour. Finally add in the basil leaves, sliced green parts of the spring onions and the sesame seeds.