Three cup chicken (三杯雞)

posted in: Recipes | 7

Three cup chicken is a classic Taiwanese dish and the chicken can be replaced with squid for a seafood option. The name is “three cup chicken” owing to the quantities of the three main ingredients; 1. rice wine, 2. black sesame oil and 3. soya sauce. The soya sauce and rice wine allows the chicken and the sauce to develop a beautiful colour and taste, whereas the fresh Thai basil and sesame oil provide a sweet and heavenly aroma.

This dish, though easy to make, requires some time to prepare. However, as soon as all of the ingredients are in, all you need to do is standby and let the sauce boil and thicken. The sauce complements rice in such a way, that my brother, Frank, would eat the rice and sauce alone (then again, he tends to eat most of his food rice and sauce alone – sigh).

Three Cup Chicken

serves 5 people


  • 500g chicken (chopped up into large pieces)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large piece of fresh ginger (sliced)
  • 3 Tbsp black sesame oil
  • 1 cup of soya sauce
  • 1/2 cup of rice wine
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 spring onions
  • a large bunch of fresh Thai basil or plain basil


  • Wash all your fresh ingredients.
  • Heat the oil in a wok till it boils.
  • Peel the garlic and bruise it with side of a knife.
  • Place garlic and ginger into the hot oil and let them brown slightly.
  • Add the chicken in the wok and fry till almost cooked.
  • Add the soya sauce, sugar and wine, and stir the ingredients.
  • Lower the heat and let it simmer for 7 minutes.
  • Add the fresh basil and stir for another 2 minutes.
  • Serve with a sprig of fresh Thai basil on top and rice.

You’re welcome to substitute the Thai basil for regular basil.

7 Responses

  1. Phyllis
    | Reply


    Looks delish!


  2. Melissa
    | Reply

    Jeez, this looks like great winter food! Nice one.

  3. Chi Chi
    | Reply


  4. Marisa
    | Reply

    Nice one! Love the combo of basil and soy sauce.

    • Ming-Cheau
      | Reply

      Thanks lady 🙂 Combination makes a beautiful flavour! Super Taiwanese dish!

  5. Three Cup Chicken
    | Reply

    […] Serve with a sprig of fresh basil on top and rice. This was originally posted on Butterfingers […]

  6. Jessica
    | Reply

    Thanks for the recipes~

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