3 Cup Chicken (三杯雞)

This has been a recipe I’ve wanted to learn for a while. It’s a very traditional dish you’ll find in Taiwan (although there’s rumours it originated from JiangXi, China). Wherever it’s from, it’s freaking delicious. It’s commonly served in bars or street restaurants. The dish tends to be on the greasier side so avoid adding too much oil if you can help it. My dad made a successful version a few years back and I’ve been meaning to get him to show me how to make it, but my mom says that he’s since fluffed around with the recipe that it no longer tastes as great. This week, we both had some time to spare and decided that it’s finally time to recreate this recipe! We watched about half a dozen different ways to make this dish on Taiwan youtube and in the end this recipe is a mishmash of all the videos we watched. It actually turned out pretty great! The trick is to have good control over your heat and have a good balance of your salt. The 3 cups refer to: rice wine, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Something magical happens when you combine these three together in a dish. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Servings: 2-3


  • 4 chicken thighs (boned or deboned), chopped into 4cm pieces (bone-in thighs will hold moisture better)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, chopped into large 4cm pieces (separate the thicker white base part from the thinner greener top part. We will use all of it, but cook them at different times so separate them first after you’ve cut it)
  • 5 thin slices of ginger (2-3mm thick)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled only (not chopped)
  • 1-2 chili peppers (can put more if you prefer it spicier)
  • 1/2 + 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • Half handful of Thai basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp black vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp rice wine


  1. Marinate your chopped chicken thighs in a bowl with 1/4 cup soy sauce for ~15mins.
  2. While the chicken marinates, prepare the other ingredients: chop green onions, ginger, chili peppers, peel garlic. Set aside.
  3. Heat a pan on medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup sesame oil and ginger slices. Fry the ginger until the edges start curling. Then add in garlic cloves, the white part of the green onions, and chilli. Fry them until the outside of the garlic is browned. Tuck everything to one side of the pan then put the chicken thighs in (without the soy sauce) skin side down (this will release the flavour of the fat from the chicken skin). You want a nice golden brown colour on both sides (~2mins per side).
  4. When the chicken is golden brown on both sides, add the soy sauce you used to marinate the chicken and 1/2 cup of rice wine, 1/2 cup water, and 1 Tbsp white sugar. Mix everything in the pan. Turn the heat on high and cook until the sauce is almost dried up, stirring the chicken occasionally. (Lower the heat slightly if you feel it’s going to burn before all the sauce is dried up.)
  5. When the sauce is almost dried, add in your basil and stir for 10 seconds and turn off the heat. Add 1/2 Tbsp black vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp rice wine, and 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil. Serve over rice!


  • You can add in king oyster mushrooms too!
  • You can alternatively dry fry the chicken thighs first before doing the ginger/garlic/onions and then add in the fried chicken after with soy sauce.
Separate the thicker white parts of the green onion from the thinner green parts.
Make sure all your ingredients are dry before using.
Cook on medium-high heat until the sauce is nearly gone!
Best eaten fresh over rice!

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