3 Cup Chicken (三杯鸡)


My mum was pretty much hungry the other day and while surfing food blogs, she chanced upon Foodie’s Kitchen recipe for 3 cup chicken. Recipe wise, the dish looked rather simple to prepare and whip up. And interestingly, the name of the dish is Three Cup Chicken. Where each cup represents : Sesame Oil, Dark Soy Sauce and Rice Wine.

Essentially, those three cups represent the basic sauces prevalent in what I call the genre of Sesame Oil Chicken Cuisine. But now with the addition of zesty spices and herbs such as dried chillies and basil, I felt that this dish would definitely be a new addition to my menu.


Left : 3 cups of Dark Soy Sauce, Rice Wine & Sesame Oil

Right : My basic ingredients for the dish. Basil, Ginger, Garlic and Dried Chillies

Foodie’s Kitchen gave her own version of the dish and while I have referenced it with due credit, I might have changed it a little for my own preference. In my creation, 1 cup represents 4 tablespoons. You can alter this accordingly to suit your tastebuds.

3 Cup Chicken

  • 10-12 Chicken Drumlets
  • 1 cup = 4 tablespoons
    • 1 cup sesame oil
    • 1 cup dark soy sauce
    • 1 cup rice wine
  • 4 tablespoons Hua Tiao Jiu (Plum Blossom Wine)
  • 6-7 basil leaves, washed
  • 1 tablespoon Kecap Manis ( Dark sweet sauce )
  • 6 dried chillies, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 10 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 30 grams ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ground white pepepr
  1. Marinate : Mix the drumlets, dark soy sauce, white pepper, Hua Tiao Jiu and rice wine together and place it covered in a fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a pan. Stir fry ginger until slightly brown on both sides.
  3. Fry the dried chillies and chopped garlic until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the drumlets, leaving the remaining marinade in the bowl. Fry and mix the drumlets and spices evenly. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until chicken is somewhat cooked.
  5. Pour in the remaining marinade, cover the pan and leave to simmer for 15 minutes on low heat. Do not add water.
  6. Once done, add in the basil leaves and Kecap Manis and fry the drumlets for another 1-2 minutes on high heat. Stirring constantly.
  7. Garnish and serve.


Marinated drumlets (Giant sells them cheap and fresh. Serious.)

Personally, I added Hua Tiao Jiu for the added fragrance so yeah, maybe my version should be called the 4 Cup Chicken. Well, I especially loved the spicy lingering taste after the bite in each piece of chicken meat and the fresh basil leaves added also gave a refreshing slightly herby aroma to the sauce.


This is a very simple dish to prepare and cook and I believe that many out there can do it. Though one thing for certain, I wouldn’t recommend eating this everyday (I cooked it 3 days straight, mum’s insistence). Maybe something healthier? Steamed fish or Pig trotters perhaps?