Three-Cup Chicken


1 fresh chicken (chopped into identical-sized parts)
1 scant cup black sesame oil
1 scant cup soy sauce
1 scant cup Hua Tiao Chinese rice wine (or COGNAC!)
1 bulb garlic, separated into individual cloves, skins on
3 slices old ginger
1 tablespoon thumb size rock sugar (or 2 fine sugar - a little more or less won't hurt)
3 inches large bunches of spring onions, cut into 1 inch lengths
2-3 leaves of basil, julienned


Marinate chicken with soy, sesame oil and rice wine. At least for 6 hours, although overnight is best.
Take the chill off the meat. Heat up some sesame oil in a wok or claypot until it is sizzling hot.
Throw in garlic, ginger and spring onions. Fry briefly till fragrant. Add in chicken and sear.
Keep stir-frying. Pour in the marinade liquid and the sugar. Continue to cook on medium.
Once you have a rolling boil, cover the wok/claypot and let it simmer over a small flame, until all the liquid has disappeared and the chicken is on the cusp of burning.
There should hardly be any gravy left. The chicken should be caramelised (charred at parts, even) and sizzling when served.


Nancy Larson's picture

i am allergic to ginger. to replace can i use extra garlic?

Ivy's picture

Garlic has a completely different flavor, if you want you could use that but you'll lose some of the sweetness. My advice would be to use some sort of sweet pepper, like thai chilis.


This is a traditional Taiwanese dish. It's called "Three-Cup Chicken", or Sanbeiji, because it has 3 key ingredients: soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine. Use a claypot if you have one, since it retains the heat better. Serve with steaming white rice. Read more on my blog post here.


Other Names:

San Bei Ji, sanbeiji, 3 Cup Chicken


6 servings


Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:30pm

Related Cooking Videos