Three Cups Chicken (Sanbeiji) 三杯鸡



三杯鸡 sanbeiji (or sam poey gey in Cantonese) is a popular Chinese dish that has also gained popularity in Taiwan. In English, it directly translates as ‘Three Cups Chicken’, where the three cups refer to a cup each of soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil that makes up the gravy that the chicken is simmered in. The version with basil in it originates from Taiwan, and I actually like the basil version better since it gives another level of depth to the dish.



  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 2 dried chili, slice in half and soaked in warm water
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • large handful of fresh basil leaves



In a heated pan, add cooking oil and fry the garlic slices and dried chili halves until the garlic is golden brown.

Add the chicken pieces in the pan, and fry until half-cooked. Add the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and basil to the chicken, mix around, and bring to a boil.

Once the sauce is boiling, turn the heat down to medium, and let simmer for about 30 minutes uncovered.

After 30 minutes, the sauce should have reduced and thickened.

Serve and enjoy!



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