Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)

San Bei Ji – Originating across the China Sea in Canton, this Taiwanese classic is a winning argument for having too many flavors in one dish. Three cups stands for the cup of soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil used for this dish. The flavors that make this braised chicken dish so popular, though, is the abundance of of garlic and ginger mixing with the aroma of basil. This dish is simple but with an interesting boldness all its own.

Chinese Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken

San Bei Ji – Three Cup Chicken

This recipe stays true to the bold flavors of the classic but takes advantage of the modern kitchen by skipping the traditional clay pot, using boned skinless chicken thighs, and reducing the amounts of soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Same dish – same flavor. It takes very little effort to make and is a lovely weeknight meal.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Brunch, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese, Southern China, Taiwan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Large skillet or wok


  • 2 lb Boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 tbsp Sesame oil, divided in half
  • 12 cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 inch Piece of ginger, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch coins
  • 4 stalk Scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 small Red chilies, stemmed and halved
  • ½ cup Rice wine
  • ¼ cup Soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 2 cups Basil leaves


  • Heat wok or skillet over high heat and add 2 tbsp of the sesame oil. When oil is shimmering, add garlic cloves, ginger slices, scallions, and peppers. Stir-fry until fragrant, around 2 minutes.
  • Push vegetables aside and add remaining sesame oil. When oil begins to smoke, add chicken cubes in a single layer. Cook untouched for 3 minutes. Flip chicken pieces and cook 1-2 minutes to brown the other side.
  • Add sugar and stir to combine everything. Then add the soy sauce and rice wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes.
    Turn heat off and stir in basil leaves. Pour into a serving bowl and serve immediately with white rice.


Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 678mg | Potassium: 442mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 538IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

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