Taiwanese-Style Three Cup Chicken is without question, my favorite Taiwanese dish. I can finish the entire dish and a large bowl of rice all by myself. The rich flavors and tender bites of chicken are addicting, I can’t stop eating it until it’s gone.
I decided to share the recipe of Taiwanese-style three cup chicken a couple weeks ago and since then, I’ve been testing the recipe back and forth. I have finally settled on this version – It tastes as good as what you’ll get in a restaurant and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Let me start by introducing the main ingredients. For two servings, you’ll need one pound boneless chicken leg/thigh, 10-12 garlic cloves, 5-6 ginger slices, 2 stalks green onion, a handful of fresh basil leaves and a couple dried chili peppers if you want to add some heat to the dish.
To begin, I sauteed the ginger slices with sesame oil over medium-low heat. Once they were brown and crisp on the edges, I added the garlic cloves. The garlic will release a wonderful aroma while cooking. Besides the chicken, the soft-on-the-inside garlic cloves are my favorite parts of the dish.
Next, I added the green onion and dried chili peppers in, and sauteed until fragrant.
Up to this point, most aromatic ingredients are in the pan except for basil leaves (which will be added last). The sesame oil has absorbed the flavors from these ingredients and now it’s the perfect time to stir in the chicken.
Wondering why this dish is called “three cup chicken”? The “three-cup” is referring to the seasoning sauce made by combining a cup of rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil each.
Since the sesame oil was added in the beginning, now, it’s time to add the seasoning mixture of cooking wine, soy sauce and sugar. Check the recipe below for detailed amount used for each ingredient. This recipe also follows the namesake ratio of 1:1:1 for cooking wine, sesame oil and soy sauce.
Once the sauce has reduced and thickened, the basil leaves are added.
Continue simmering for a minute or two and once the basil leaves have turned soft, this dish is ready! Look at the color, my mouth was watering the whole time while I was cooking.
This dish has a rich, sweet, and savory flavor and the best way to enjoy, it in my opinion, is with a bowl of plain white rice. Spoon some rice onto a plate, add the chicken, basil and garlic cloves on top and enjoy them together!
Enjoy this recipe? Spread the word, share it with your friends!
Or leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts about this recipe. Cheers and see you next time!
- 1 pound boneless chicken leg/thighs (about 3-4 pieces), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small piece of ginger, cut into 5-6 thin slices
- 1 head of garlic, peeled into cloves
- 2 stalks of green onion, cut into long pieces
- 3-4 dried chili pepper (optional)
- a handful of fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup sesame oil for cooking (ideally toasted sesame oil, regular sesame oil will work too)
- a few drops of sesame oil on top for garnishing
- ¼ cup cooking wine
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (helps add a nice brown color to the chicken)
- 2 tablespoons worth of sugar (ideally Chinese rock sugar, cane sugar will work too, use 1.5 tbsp instead)
- Mix cooking wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar well in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat sesame oil over medium-low heat till shimmering, sauté the ginger slices for 2-3 minutes or until browned and crisp.
- Add the garlic cloves, cook a minute or until fragrant.
- Stir in the green onion and dried chili peppers, sauté until fragrant.
- Turn to medium heat and add the chicken to the pan. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.
- Grab the seasoning mixture made in step one, give it a good stir and pour into the pan.
- Turn to high heat and stir the ingredients well to make sure the seasonings are evenly distributed.
- When the sauce starts to boil, turn to medium-low heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened, stir occasionally while cooking.
- Sprinkle the fresh basil leaves around the pan, simmer for another minute or two until soft.
- Transfer to a large plate and drizzle a few drops of toasted sesame oil on top and enjoy while hot!
2. I used dried chili pepper to add some heat to the dish, however, this is optional.
3. Toasted sesame oil has a richer flavor than regular sesame oil, but if you don’t have it at hand, regular sesame oil will work too.
4. Rock sugar (also known as crystal sugar) is slightly less sweet in taste compared to cane sugar.