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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Three Cup Chicken

So this past weekend, I went to a small restaurant in Flushing, Queens, NY called Gu-Shine with some girlfriends. I didn't think anything of it when I went because it is not a fancy restaurant, sort of an in-between a hole-in-the-wall and a small restaurant, however, little did I know, this place makes amazing "Three Cup Chicken" (San Bei Ji). This dish completely stood out for me. I wasn't too sure the name of it however, this is the literal translation in English and indeed, this is the name used. Three Cup Chicken is a well known Taiwanese dish. The name is derived from using three "cups" of liquids - soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil.

I put quotations around the word "cups" above because it doesn't necessarily have to be exactly one cup each but the ratio of each of these liquids need to be the same. For example, if using 1/3 cup soy sauce, then you would also use 1/3 cup for rice wine and 1/3 cup for sesame oil. These 3 sauces combined with the same proportion, plus ginger, garlic, a little bit of sugar, and ending with basil will fuse together an aroma and taste that you will never forget!
My whole chicken (about 3 lbs)

Heat sesame oil. Then add ginger and garlic (do not need to mince up the garlic or ginger; whole pieces, slightly chopped or crushed is fine).
Adding in the chicken

This is the rice wine (Mi "rice" Chiu "wine) I used.

The Sesame Oil I used.

Fresh Basil - I used this much for one chicken. You may use more or less depending on your preference but try not to skimp on these ingredients because they make a difference!


Serving: 4-6
1 whole chicken (when cutting to pieces, have bone and skin intact)
10-15 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
10-15 slices ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce (if you have both light and dark soy sauce, use 1/4 cup light soy sauce + 1/4 cup dark soy sauce).
1/3 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine
2 TBSP sugar
5-10 stalks of fresh basil (oriental Thai basil preferred)
1 scallion chopped (optional)

In a large pan, with heat high, heat up half the sesame oil, making sure it is hot enough and then stir in the garlic and ginger. Stir for about 2 minutes and add in the chicken; stir-fry for 4-5 minutes. Once you see some browning of the chicken, pour in the remaining half of the sesame oil, all the soy sauce and rice wine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Let the chicken simmer for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add in 2 TBSP of sugar and all of the Thai basil. Simmer for another 5 minutes. You may remove from heat and serve with rice. I like to use the liquids to pour over my rice. Enjoy! :)

Side Note: I didn't have dark soy sauce, hence that is why my chicken came out lighter in color. Lighter soy sauce is saltier and more liquidy than the dark soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is less salty, has more body (thicker) and can provide more color to the meat. It is also a little sweeter.

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