Recipe: three-cup chicken

Last Thursday I had dinner with my housemates again (see here for my previous introduction of the roommies). L and I decided to channel our Chinese-ness and make some Asian dishes, thereby inducting the others into the wonderful world of homemade Chinese food. He made fried rice and and some peppery spare ribs, and I tried my hand at three-cup chicken and bok choy. I am sad to say my camera died just as I excitedly began to snap photos of our food. As a result, I only managed to get a shot of the chicken.

Did this dish originate in mainland China or Taiwan? I’m not sure, and I saw references to both online. I handpicked this recipe from the trusty Appetite for China, who claims it is a Taiwanese dish.  Either way, it was delicious– and this recipe is spot-on. I added some corn starch to the stewing liquid at the end to make it more saucy, so we could lather it over the rice. I think I overdid it with the sauce, but my roommates gave the dish some serious love.  The basil is a crazy/beautiful addition (oh yes, I just referenced that crappy movie).  I am definitely copping this recipe and sticking it in my back pocket.

Three-cup Chicken, adapted from Appetite for China
— serves 4 —

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sesame oil
2-2.5 lbs chicken thighs, fat trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
10 cloves garlic, chopped
10 pieces thinly sliced ginger
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup white rice wine
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups fresh Thai or oriental basil

Heat the canola oil in a large wok. Stir-fry chicken pieces until lightly brown and crisp on the outside, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another minute.

Pour in the sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, stir in white sugar. Stir in Thai basil and simmer another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with rice.

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