Do you really know Chinese food?  Have you tried 3-cup Chinese chicken before?

If you ask any Chinese from mainland China about a dish called “3-cup Chinese chicken”, I bet you $100 that everyone would say it is very yummy.  Unfortunately, you don’t see 3-cup Chinese chicken on most Chinese restaurants’ menu (cos most of them in the US serve fake Chinese food IMHO).  Well.. then you have make it yourself if you would like to know what 3-cup chicken tastes like.  I learned this dish from my coworkers who came from Beijing.

It’s called 3-cup chicken because there are 3 cups of main ingredients: wine, soy sauce and sugar, one cup each.  You can have equal amount of each, but I modified the recipe to cut down the sugar amount.

Three Cup Chicken
Three Cup Chicken

3-cup chicken


  • Chicken (boneless breast meat, or dark meat is fine) 1 lb
  • Ginger 2 slices
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • Scallion, 2 stems
  • Soy sauce 3 Tbsp
  • Chinese cooking wine (if you don’t have it, white wine is fine too) 2 Tbsp
  • Sugar 1 Tbsp
  • Sesame oil 1/2 Tbsp
  • Cornstarch 1/2 Tbsp


  1. Finely chopped the ginger and garlic.  Chopped scallions.  Put all these aside.
  2. Cut chicken in cubes (about 1.5 inches). Put them in a bowl.  Add a teaspoon of cornstarch. Mix well.
  3. In a pan, put oil, ginger, garlic, and scallion.  Use high heat, cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add chicken cubes to the pan, pan fry them for couple of minutes on one side. Flip them on another side and pan fry for another 2 mins.
  5. Add wine, soy sauce and sugar to the pan.  Mix well.  Lower the heat to medium or low.  Cook the chicken until the sauce dries up.
  6. When the chicken is cooked, add sesame oil.  Mix well, and it’s done!  If you are fancy, and have extra scallion, you can chopped a little bit of scallion for garnish.

Let me know if you like this dish.  Enjoy! 

11 thoughts on “What is Three Cup Chicken? (30 mins)”

  1. I was so happy that my friend Tammy dropped me a note saying she and her husband tried this recipe and loved it. 😀

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  5. Also try adding a handful of Thai basil once the liquid is reduced by half. That’s usually how we eat it in Taiwan… maybe it’s a Taiwanese version?

  6. Less sugar with lots of basil us definitely the way to go! Tastes amazing, it is how us Taiwanese eat it!

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