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3 Cup Chicken   三杯雞

I dare say that 3 Cup Chicken has to be one of the most famous, most delicious and quintessential dishes in Taiwanese culture. Once you've had a taste of 3 Cup Chicken, you'll never forget its flavor. Yes, this is, by far, my all time favorite dish to make ... and eat!

- Yu Tsai

by Yu Tsai
Serves  3 to 4
Prep time  10 Min
Cooks in  20 Min
Difficulty  Easy

photo by Yu Tsai

  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) Chinese rice wine
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) soy sauce / option to use light sodium
  • 1 1/2 lbs (24 oz) chicken thighs cut into about 2 inches. With skin (with or without bones)
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of rock sugar
  • 1 large ginger
  • 14 garlic cloves, peel and leave whole or sliced.
  • 3 dried red chilies
  • 15 to 20 cut of fresh Thai basil leaves.


  1. Add sesame oil into the wok. Heat it up with medium high heat. Fragrant the sliced ginger, garlic and dry chilies in the hot oil. When you smell the ginger and garlic overwhelm your kitchen, you know the flavors have started to build. Add the chicken pieces into the wok. Lightly brown the chicken on both sides. Try to keep the skin in in tact while stirring throughout.
  2. Now the rest of our triad: Add the soy sauce and rice wine, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low simmer. Cover the wok and allow the sauce to reduce to a nice thick consistency.
  4. While the simmer heat is still on, stir in the sugar evenly throughout until all the sugar dissolves.
  5. Turn off the burner. Throw in the fresh basil. The dish is ready to serve.
  6. Personally, I love to serve 3 Cup Chicken in a clay pot. The clay pot keeps it warm and allows the sauce to thicken as you enjoy it.
  7. As an option, you can prepare this dish in a hot clay pot from the beginning. Be very careful, the clay pot will be very hot when you're serving.

This dish is commonly served over white rice.

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