This dish is another classic Chinese dish that originally calls for 1 cup each of 3 main ingredients: soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar, hence the name 3 Cups chicken (Sam Pui Kai)! However,1 cup of each ingredient is quite a bit too much for me. Imagine having a whole cup of sesame oil in there! You’d have a circle of oil lubing your mouth if you did that. Not too pleasant!
So, I looked up some recipes and decided to adapt all the different recipes into my own (heavily borrowing from Amy Beh’s original recipe on kuali.com). After a bit of experimenting I find that instead of 3 cups of everything, it’s actually better to have one part sesame oil to two parts soy sauce to three parts rice wine vinegar (1:2:3 chicken might be a more appropriate name ^_^).
Boost the Flavor
The original recipe does not call for chilies to be added but I find that the chilies add a very nice heat element that complements all the other components in this 3 cups chicken recipe. If you cannot handle the heat or are cooking for children, feel free to leave it out.
I also added some thick soy sauce because I find that the dark soy adds another tasty note to the entire dish besides coloring the food up a bit more (which always makes it more appetizing). If you use the Koon Chun brand thick soy sauce which I recommend, the 3 cups chicken dish takes on some deep caramel flavors as well.
Koon Chun Thick Soy Sauce
The combined flavors in this 3 cups chicken dish makes it a winner in my home. And the aroma of sesame oil is heady without being overwhelming, as it would be if you used the original amount called for. If you do like more of a sesame oil flavor, do feel free to up the amount.
3 Cups Chicken Recipe
2 1/2-3 lbs chicken, cut into 12 pieces, or use chicken pieces (dark thigh meat is good)
40ml toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp garlic, coarsely chopped, about 3-4 cloves
1 1/2 inches ginger, sliced thin
6-7 stalks green onions, cut into 1 inch lengths
7-8 pieces dried chilies, soaked in water for 10 mins (depending on how spicy you like your dish, you might want to cut the amount, or take out the seeds)
1 Tbsp sesame oil or shallot oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp thick soy sauce
80ml soy sauce
120ml Shao Hsing Hua Tiau wine
1 Tbsp sugar or to taste
50ml water (originally the recipe calls for 100ml water but I find that it takes too long for the sauce to reduce with so much water so I cut it in half)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1. Marinate chicken with sesame oil/shallot oil and soy sauce for at least 1 hour or more before cooking.
2. On medium heat, saute garlic, ginger, half of the green onions, and dried chillies in sesame oil till fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken and toss for another 2-3 minutes, till lightly browned.
3. Pour in seasoning ingredients except salt and let it come to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Then continue to simmer uncovered, for another 15 minutes or more (till sauce has reduced by about half and chicken is tender). Stir occasionally while simmering.
5. When dish is almost done, add the rest of the green onions. Season with salt to taste (might not be necessary depending on how salty your soy sauce is).
3 Cups Chicken
Serve with rice and enjoy!