Saturday, June 09, 2007

Three cups chicken (三杯鸡)

I first tasted this dish in Taiwan many years back when I was working there. Love it very much. The sesame and wine and soy sauce made up the three cups. Actually, you don't use exactly 1 cup of each of these ingredients. But for this dish, you need to use basil. Without basil you can't call this three cups chicken I think. The basil makes this dish taste even better. Have been cooking this a few times already because my boys love it and this is really very simple to cook. Also since I have a pot of basil growing at home, I can always just pluck some fresh basil from the pot whenever I cook this dish.

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1 whole chicken cut into bitesize pieces
10 slices of ginger
15 cloves of garlic
2 red chilli (cut into big pieces)
2 stalk spring onions (cut into 2 inch pieces)

60 ml of sesame oil
60 ml of light soy sauce
1/4 cup of Chinese cooking wine
2 to 3 tablespoon of sugar depending on your preference of sweetness
3 to 4 stick of cinnamons
some pepper
some chilli powder or paprika
1/4 tsp of five spice powder
1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1 tbsp of black vinegar
a little dark soy sauce

1. Clean chicken well and cut up into bitesize pieces.
2. In a pot (I used claypot) put the ginger, spring onions, chilli at the bottom.
3. Put the chicken piece on top. Pour all the seasonings ingredients into the pot.
4. Use big fire to cook the chicken uncovered for about 15 mins.
5. Add in bunch of basil, cover the pot and continue to cook until the sauce thickens. Turn off fire.
6. Sprinkle some more wines into the pot and stir well before serving.

(Note: It depends how much sauce you want so watch out for the sauce thickening part. Turn off fire when you have reached the right thickness you want.)

PS: I have just added chilli powder or if you don't want it too spicy, you can use
paprika. Also amended my recipe to include some dark soy sauce to have it a little darker in colour but this is personal preference.


Little Corner of Mine said...

Yummy looking as always. Didn't know it called for basil in this dish. Will have to try your version, the last one I tried was too salty and oily! Haha...

Hugbear said...

Ching, I went in and amended my recipe slightly to include chilli powder or paprika and a little dark soy sauce. This is actually personal preference lah. Just my own slight twist to the recipe. I hope you can try it and you will like it. This recipe is not too salty and not too oily.

Anonymous said...


I heard of this dish many times and but have never tasted it. Your version is very interesting, I would like to try it...

One question... are the basils the same as the thai basil??

Thanks very much!


Anonymous said...

OH MY GOODNESS! u made 90 bak chang! must have taken u quite a while. Btw, ur China food looks SOOOOO delicious! U must have had a great time thr. Hmm... did u ask them if they washed the steamboat pot before u all used it? ; ) Missing all ur goodies.. Leng...

Hugbear said...

Hi Sulin, yes the basil is the same as thai basil. You can use as much basil as you like in this dish. I just love the smell of basil. Hehehe

Hugbear said...

Ah Leng, want to meet me I pass bak chang to you. The food in China some good some not so good. Some super salty, some super oily. But then it was a good experience.

I guess the pot is clean lah. hehehe. I didn't get tummy ache after the makan lei.

Glory said...

Hi, i tried this the other day (without the basil as i dont have it). Both dh & i liked it more than the other recipe that i got (we have never tasted the actual 3 cup chicken before!).. will it actually make a lot of difference with the basil?? (we've never used basil before so dont know how it taste/smell like!) thanks for the recipe..

Hugbear said...

Hi Glory, me too. I like this recipe a lot too. Actually with the basil, the only difference is the fragrant of the basil in the dish.

Anonymous said...

i was visiting your blog linked from Florence and viola, yours are tempting me to try out just as much too.... you ladies are fabulous....


Hugbear said...

Hi Yan, thanks for dropping by. Let me know how your three-cup chicken turn out if you have tried it. Cheers,

Yan said...

Hi Hi LeeLee,
just read your above comments. will try cooking this 3 cup chicken next wk... and maybe use bottled mixed herbs which i bought recently .. wonder if that will work out... let u know again.. =D


Yan said...

Lee Lee..
its me... your ardent fan... =D
i cooked 3 cup chicken today and it was a thumbs up with my siblings & mom. loved the gravy and not oily at all.

fm : yan

Hugbear said...

Hi Yan, glad you like it. One of my family's favourites too.

Time said...

Hi Hug Bear
I did try planting basil in a pot. It was not successful. How do u plant basil in a pot?


Anonymous said...


Good day! The five spice powder is the one can find it baking cake session? the one in small bottle can bake cake too?
what type of chinese cooking wine u using? is it xao xin wine?


Hugbear said...

HI slee, yes you are right abt the 5 spice powder. I used shao xin jiu.

Quinn said...

Hi BakingMum,
when do i put in the 15 cloves of garlic?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee Lee,

May I know what is the chinese name for the basil leaves? I'm not sure if the market near my place has it or not.

Hugbear said...

Hi Quinn, sorry I need to amend my recipe. The garlic should be put together with the ginger, spring onion etc.

Hugbear said...

Hi Yongjuan, Chinese name for basil leaves is 九层塔.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lee Lee,

Hope I can find it at my pasir ris market.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the dishes my mom used to make at least once every 2 weeks. It's simple and really yummy. But as you said, you don't use exactly 1 cup of each of the ingredients.

Jocelyn said...

Dear Hugbear

Really a yummy dish. Thank you for sharing with us.

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