Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Three Cup Chicken, or San Bei Ji is a popular Taiwanese/Chinese dish. The name refers to the recipe used to make it including a cup each of the three ingredients that create the sauce: rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
Recipe type: Chicken and Poultry
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced into rounds
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 dried red chili, halved
  • 1 kg (2 ¼ lbs) chicken wings, cut at the joint where the drumette and the wingette meet, wing tips discarded (you can also just use pre-cut chicken drumettes and wingettes)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) shaoxing wine
  • 2-5 teaspoons (10-25 ml) dark soy sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons (22 ml) light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) sugar
  • Small bunch of Thai basil leaves or 2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths (or both!)
  1. Start by putting the sesame oil, vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, and red chili into your wok over medium heat. Let the aromatics infuse the oil for a couple minutes.
  2. Then turn up the heat to high, and add the chicken wings to the wok all in one layer. Sear the chicken until golden brown on both sides. Then add ¼ cup warm water, ¼ cup Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce (2-5 teaspoons, depending on how dark you’d like the dish to be), 1½ tablespoons light soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sugar.
  3. Stir and cover the wok. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 15 minutes to cook the chicken through (cook for 20 minutes if you want the chicken to be more tender).
  4. Then remove the cover and turn up the heat to rapidly reduce the sauce for a few minutes until it clings to the chicken and gives it a rich, dark color. Make sure to stir the chicken during this process to prevent burning.
  5. Throw in your Thai basil and/or scallions and fry another minute until it’s wilted. Serve!
Recipe by The Woks of Life at