When you cook chicken, you probably think of roasting, pan searing, or frying it. Braising just doesn’t come to mind when we’re used to the crispy and the golden. But three cup chicken, one of Taiwan’s most popular dishes, makes a case for gently simmering your poultry, letting the meat become tender and soaked with flavor, practically melting in your mouth.
The recipe’s name comes from the three primary ingredients that make up the sauce: soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Along with aromatics like garlic and ginger, the mixture infuses the chicken with a deeply savory flavor. For simmered dishes like this one, it’s best to use dark meat (chicken breast will get tough and dry). Thighs work well for dinner, with or without the bones and skin, as do drumsticks. Or for a finger-food appetizer, you can swap in wings—they’re a nice addition to your sports-watching snack rotation.
Some rice on the side is a good idea for soaking up all the delicious juices. Add on some stir-fried veggies and you’ve got a complete meal that you can make on a leisurely cold weather weeknight. Enjoy with a crisp lager or a chilled glass of white to get the full effect of this dish’s complexity.
Get the recipe below and shop the ingredients on FreshDirect.
Taiwanese 3 Cup Chicken Recipe
What you’ll need:
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons neutral oil
6 cloves garlic, smashed with the back of a chef’s knife
2-inch piece ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
2 pounds chicken wings or thighs cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
2 cups basil leaves picked off the stem
1–2 tablespoons sesame oil
What to do:
In a bowl, mix soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, white pepper and water. Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until lightly browned. Remove garlic and ginger, leaving oil in the pot, and set aside.
Increase heat to high. Add chicken wings or thighs. Sear for 3–5 minutes, then pour in soy mixture. Bring to a boil, then return garlic and ginger to pot. Cover and bring heat to medium low. Simmer until chicken is cooked and sauce is sticky, about 10 minutes for thighs or up to 15 for wings.
Add jalapeño and basil leaves, then increase heat to high and stir well. Turn off heat and drizzle over as much sesame oil as you like.