Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three Cup Chicken 三杯雞

It was meant to be 'braised chicken with chestnuts' but I had to do a quick change of menu as chestnuts were nowhere to be found. Three cup chicken is an ancient Hakka dish although it is better known as a Taiwanese classic (due to the sizable Hakka population in Taiwan). "So what is three cup?" one often asks. The cup being used here is the Chinese tea/wine cup and the "three cups" are referring to one cup each of sesame oil (cooking oil or lard in other version), Chinese cooking wine and soy. I have revised the ratio of the main ingredients a little to suit our taste.
P.S the internet speed won't be back to normal for a few more days. Meanwhile I should be grateful I am still able to post at this speed.

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
8 free range chicken drumsticks, cut into 2 each
10 cm piece of ginger, sliced
20 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 bird chillies, halved
3 spring onions, cut into 6 cm lenghts
1/3 teacup of sesame oil
2/3 teacup of light soy
1 teacup of Chinese cooking wine
1 tbs of dark soy
2 tbs of sugar
1 bunch of Thai basil, picked
* 1 teacup = 100 ml

Brown the chicken pieces and have the rest of the ingredients ready.

My revised "3 cup".

Heat up the sesame oil in the wok then saute the sliced ginger, chili and garlic cloves for a few minutes on high heat. You want the ingredients to brown a little and this is a very important stage.

Return the chicken to the wok, fry on high heat for a minute then add in soy, cooking wine, dark soy and sugar. Mix well and fry for another minute.

Add spring onions, cover and braise on low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove cover and cook on high heat til sauce has almost dried up. Turn heat off, add Thai basil and mix well.

Serve immediately as part of a Chinese meal.


  1. My kind of dish. I have seen this on a restaurant menu but non of the wait staffs was able to tell be what was "3 cup"
    Thanks for a great dish and the explanations :)

  2. Hey buddy this is another very easy to follow dish. I can imagine what the end result tastes like!

  3. Droolworthy dish, u r making me hungry with ur beautiful clicks..

  4. What a mouth-watery hue! If only I could smell and eat...

  5. This is my favourite dish. I must try your sesame oil version, back home we do without the Thai basil.

  6. I love 3-cup chicken but its all too rare in London. Have you ever tried this with cuttlefish? I had a wonderful 3-cup cuttlefish in Taiwan years ago.

  7. bookmarked it darling...wonderful recipe.

  8. Another of my favourite dish! yummm... I make this quite often. Really delicious. Have a nice day!
    Cheers, Kristy

  9. All stickily sweet and salty...my kind of dish!

  10. Mmm, love this dish, it looks so "comfort-food", perfect for the cold. Nice to be back and visiting you again. Wish you lived closer, I have chestnuts in my freezer!

  11. hi tummy..another yummy dish from you..glad to know you..i can add another dish to my cooking book and skill..hehe..my grandchildren love them..

  12. Harriet from CarltonJune 8, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    This is new to me and I certainly will be trying this soon.

  13. Braised chicken with chestnuts sounds wonderful but the replacement is just as exciting. Heard of this dish and now I know the story, thank you!

  14. Awesome recipe..looks so yummy!!!

  15. Delicious looking recipe. Feels like eating some. Awesome recipe and lovely pics.

  16. This is the dish I always order when I'm at one of my favorite Taiwanese Restaurant! They make it real spicy and with the Basil ... Hmmm... delicious!

    I make this at home, too ... without chillies so my little boy can eat it too!

  17. 感人至深三杯雞!

    Oh btw, I'm going to Taipei this mid June. hehehe

  18. Good one! It looks delicious and what can be bad with all that garlic!!!

  19. Oh..I love 3 cup chicken especially the Taiwan version. But yours is definitely a good try.

  20. This dish sounds wonderful for a chilly winter night! We can usually find chestnuts in the winter and around Christmas time!

  21. I cook this a lot, it's so tasty with the basil!

  22. 20 cloves of garlic? I'm in!!

  23. 炒得好香呀!我也愛加九層塔。

  24. I can see this being on the favourites list. So simple yet so much flavour going into one dish.

  25. I've heard about this, but yet to give it a try. Yours look easy enough to follow, will KIV this.

  26. Fantastic. I love hakka food. And i would have adjusted the quantities too. A cup of sesame oil seems quite excessive!

  27. I love anything that is 三杯. I've had 3 cups Tofu, 3 cups Frog's legs in Taiwan. Important thing is to get the flavour to penetrate(入味) -especially difficult with Tofu.

  28. I always love the way you explain everything in your recipes, my dear friend.
    Looks and sounds tasty!
    Awesome pics, as usual. I'm really jealous! LOL
    B xx

  29. darren,
    Thank you! They do need to have more knowledge on the food being served!

    fitzboy ,
    Thanks buddy! Very simple indeed!

    Priya ,
    Thank you very much!

    the lacquer spoon ,
    Thank you very much!

    shanshan ,
    Thank you! Do try it!

    Mr Noodles,
    I must try the cuttlefish version next!

    Thank you very much!

    Thank you! It is a wonderful dish!

    KL girl in MELB ,

    shaz ,
    Thank you! Oh I would have knocked on your door to demand for some chestnuts!

    Thank you makcik! Cubalah! I am sure they will like it!

    Harriet from Carlton,
    Thank you! Please do!

    Tricia F ,
    Thank you! I will try to do the chestnut chicken next!

    Sarah Naveen ,
    Thank you!

    Shriya ,
    Thank you very much!

    Adventures in Domestic Cooking,
    Thank you!

    Tricia ,
    I bet your version is very delicious! :)

    Lucky you! :)

    Pam ,
    Thank you! :)

    Anncoo ,
    Thank you very much!

    Lyndsey ,
    Thank you! :)

    It is indeed! So easy too!

    Haha that is the best part!

    大肥 ,

    love to eat ,
    Thank you! I hope you will give it a try!

    Cheah ,
    Thank you very mcuh! :)

    Temasek ,
    Thank you! Indeed! lol

    Shirley @ Kokken69 ,
    Thank you! I normally add a little water when cooking tofu so it has more time to absorb the flavour.

    Betty ,
    Thank you very much! I am glad they are useful. Come join us for a meal soon!

    Lots of rice!! :)


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