Three cup chicken is one of those recipes that I have been meaning to make for ages and ages now, mainly because I love the name and the idea behind it, which is that you cook up some chicken with a cup each of soy sauce and rice wine and sesame oil. And that is not exactly the way it goes, but it’s pretty close…and at the end of the day you get a bowl full of spicy, flavorful chicken in a delectable sauce that is waaaaaaaay better than anything you are going to get out of a take-out container.
And it plays by my weekend dinner rules, which is that it clocks in at less than 30 minutes from walk in the kitchen to sit down at your table. So break out your measuring cups and let’s make it!As is the case with SO many of the things I cook up, I got the inspiration from my mama, who made her own delectable version and that deliciousness pushed me over the edge towards trying my own.
Most three cup chicken recipes call for using chicken thighs, but since I don’t care for chicken thighs I went rogue and used chicken breasts – but if you are more of a chicken thigh person, go for it. I also used sweet onions instead of the usual scallions to give the other flavors a better chance to shine through, and I cut down the usual amount of garlic for the same reason.
With those changes, my sauce is more gingery, more soy-saucy, and a teeny bit sweeter. But as always, you be you when you are making yours…if you want things spicier, feel free to up the amount of garlic and red pepper. It’s all good!
As with all stir-fry recipes, it’s super important to line up all your ingredients ahead of time, because once you start tossing things into the pan it goes FAST. The last thing you want to be doing is searching in the back of your pantry for that bottle of rice wine you know you have when things are sizzling. Find your ingredients, measure them out and line them up in order on your counter first. It’s called mise-en-place, and it rocks.
Once your chicken is cooked up in the sauce, you can either serve it as is, or put it on a bed of rice to soak up the glorious sauce. Either way, most traditional recipes call for scattering basil leaves on the top, and while basil costs a king’s ransom in the winter months, this is one recipe where it is Worth It.
So there you go…three cup chicken. I promise you are gonna love it!Print
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2–3 bone-in chicken breast halves, cut in half again with kitchen shears
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup rice wine
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- Heat oil in a heavy deep skillet over high heat. Add ginger, garlic, onion and pepper and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add chicken and cook until brown, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
- Add sugar, rice wine and soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium low heat for another 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces a few times.
- Serve as is or over rice, scattering basil leaves on top.