Tuesday 25 August 2015

Three Cup Chicken 三杯鸡

Three Cup Chicken (三杯鸡) is a very flavorful dish, quite typical of its Taiwanese origin. It must be accompanied by plain rice or porridge for better enjoyment. 

As effortless as the name may sound, I personally would not cook the dish as suggested by its name - 3 cups (1 cup of soy sauce, 1 cup of rice wine and 1 cup of sesame oil). Assuming a normal cup size to be between 150 ml to 250 ml, I find it too salty and oily.

As I have no intention to cook a separate vegetable dish to accompany the chicken, my version of Three Cup Chicken will incorporate carrots and capsicums atop the usual ingredients (i.e. ginger, garlic, thai basil, spring onions, chicken).

Ingredients (enough for 2 to 3 pax) :

  • 550 gm of kampong/free range chicken (washed, drained and chopped into smaller pieces) 
  • 1 carrot (optional)(sliced)
  • 1 capsicum (optional)(cut into smaller pieces)
  • 1 cup of Thai Basil leaves  
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 10-15 slices of ginger (your preference) 
  • 2 stalks of spring onions (chopped)
  • 1 pc red chilli  (sliced for garnishing)
  • 35 ml dark or toasted sesame oil
  • 40 ml rice wine (i replaced with Shaoxing rice wine due to its stronger flavour)
  • 35 ml light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tbsp sugar (your preference)

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

Tip : What are the differences between normal rice wine and Shaoxing rice wine? Normal rice wine is colourless, made with normal rice. It tastes milder and has a refreshing fragrance. Shaoxing rice wine is brown in colour and made with glutinous rice. It tastes stronger and more flavourful. Choose the wine based on your personal preference. I chose the latter.

Method :

Preheat pan and add sesame oil.
Add ginger and stir fry at medium heat.
Follow with garlic and lightly stir fry.
When ginger and garlic turn aromatic, quickly stir fry carrot slices.
Add chicken, turn up heat and stir fry the chicken pieces with other ingredients in the pan for about 1 minute.
At this juncture, add rice wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar. Let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of your pot/pan). You should see the sauce being soaked up slowly and thickened.
Try taste testing the sauce and chicken. If you are happy with the taste, turn off the heat and add capsicums, basil leaves and spring onions. If not, adjust to your taste accordingly first.
Stir and toss all ingredients for another 20 to 30 seconds with the heat off.
Transfer to serving bowl or pot, garnish and serve.
A single-pot dish that is delectable and presentable.


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