Three Cup Chicken Recipe

I can vouch for three cup chicken as the most favorite dish of Taiwan and every chef in town has mastery over the recipe in their own unique way. The name has been derived from the equal proportion usage of sesame oil, rice wine and soy sauce that goes into the making of this delicious recipe. On one of my regular touring of local markets, I came across Ivy Chen, a local youth who was spirited enough to have shared her family recipe with me. I cherished it so much that I ended up preparing it twice since my return.

Let’s learn how we can cook up the unique dish which serve 4 members and the preparation and cooking time will can be kept limited to 15 and 35 mins respectively.




  • Chicken drumsticks 600gm
  • Black sesame oil 60ml or ¼ cup
  • Chopped ginger 2cm
  • Chopped Garlic cloves 6
  • Rice Wine 80ml (1/3 cup)
  • Soy Sauce 80ml (1/3 cup)
  • Sugar 1tsp
  • Crushed black pepper ¼ tsp
  • Finely chopped red Thai capsicum 1
  • Asian basil leaves a handful
  • Steamed rice to serve



Chef’s note: If cooked in oven, temperature should be conventional, else reduce the temperature to 20deg C in case of convection mode cooking. Our weights and measures are as follows: 1 tablespoon is equivalent to 20ml, 1 teaspoon measures 5ml and 1 cup is equivalent to 250ml. Unless otherwise mentioned please consider fresh herbs, lightly packed cups, standard sized cleaned vegetables with outer skin removed and eggs weighing 55-60gm.


Directions: Cut the chicken into small enough pieces using a suitable knife.


Place a wok on medium heat and pour in the sesame oil. Toss the chicken in it and fry till they turn brown on all sides. Put in the chopped ginger and garlic and sauté till they get golden colored. Pour in the rice wine and while it evaporates put in soy sauce, pepper, sugar and 80 ml water. Put the lid on,let the gravy boil and get thickened while simmering for 20-30 mins. The chicken thus gets tender and soft. Add the red capsicum, handful basil and mix them with the gravy and cook uncovered for 1 min. Turn off the heat and serve it hot with steamed rice.


Cooking notes: Black sesame oil has a stronger flavor than pale regular sesame oil and thus best suitable for this dish to bring on the crunchy flavor. Buy in small bottles and refrigerate it.
In case you do not get holy asian basil, go ahead using regular basil and add 1 star anise to the cooked chicken.


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