Recipe: Taiwanese-style Three Cup Chicken or Pork

I’m a fan of cooking shows, especially the globe trotting kind. While he’s no Andrew Zimmern (whose Bizarre Food series I absolutely enjoy), I recently digested Ainsley Harriott’s street food series “Eat the Streets” on Netflix and was excited to try out some ideas I gleaned from the show.

One of them is a strangely familiar dish, bearing passing resemblance to Filipino adobo chicken…in which chicken parts are braised in a soy sauce base.

Three Cup Chicken/Pork is an easy poultry dish made herby with garlic, ginger and basil. As the meat braises in a spicy-salty-sweet sauce, the basil really gives this dish the perfect finish.

I found pre-cut drumsticks at my local 99 Ranch grocery, but you can chop your own or substitute chicken thighs. I’ve also cooked this with pork belly–which is especially divine.

Serious Eats’ article on San Bei Ji helped me refine some of the measurements and ingredients to suit my family’s tastes. As it stands this recipe contains a lot of heat, but feel free to adjust or omit the chili peppers.

  • 1-2lbs of chicken drumsticks, cut into 3rds (or pork belly)
  • 2oz black or toasted sesame oil
  • 2oz mirin or rice wine
  • 4oz kecap manis, sweet soy sauce
  • 1-2oz chopped garlic
  • 1-2oz ginger root, sliced into rounds
  • 5 pieces of thai bird chili peppers (less to moderate the heat)
  • .5-1oz thai basil

Over medium-high heat, saute garlic, chili peppers and ginger root in sesame oil until fragrant. Add protein, rice wine and sweet soy sauce and braise for 15-20 minutes. Add thai basil and toss until wilted.

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