If you are looking for a crowd pleaser then look no further as I can guarantee you that plates will be licked clean if you serve up this dish. As well as cooking a pot for grown-ups, I made up a batch for Big A and Little Z (minus the dried chillies) and they absolutely adored it.
The dish originates from the Southern Chinese province of Jiangxi and is a speciality of Ningdu. In addition, it has also become a popular dish in Taiwan. I can also guarantee it will become a firm favourite in your repertoire once you’ve tried cooking it once.
San Bei Ji literally translates as three cup chicken – the three cups being sesame oil, rice wine and soy sauce. This recipe uses the trio but less liberally and the result is outstanding and quite frankly addictive.
San Bei Ji – Three Cup Chicken
Adapted from Leemi Tan’s book Lemongrass and Ginger
Serves 4 (with no leftovers!)
1.2kg boneless chicken thighs, diced into bite sized pieces
1 tsp sunflower oil
3 cm of fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
5 spring onions, cut into 5 cm pieces and thinly sliced lengthways
4 small dried chillies, chopped and seeds discarded (if you prefer it less chilli)
250ml Shaoxing rice wine
6 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp sugar (whatever you have to hand)
4 tbsp sesame oil
1 handful of fresh coriander leaves
1 handful of thai basil leaves
1. In a large pan add the sunflower oil and when it is hot add the ginger and stir fry for one minute before adding the garlic and continuing to cook for a further minute.
2. Add the dried chillies and spring onions and continue to fry for another minute, stirring frequently. Add the chicken and move around the pan for 5 minutes before adding the rice wine, soy sauce and sugar and cover the pan and cook until most of the liquid has dissolved, around 30 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally intermittently during this process.
3. Once the liquid has almost dissolved add the sesame oil and coat the chicken pieces. Add fresh Thai basil and coriander leaves and stir together for a few seconds.
4. Serve immediately so that it is sizzling hot.
Serve with Jasmine rice and steamed greens.