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Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)

by Kelly
Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken (Sanbeiji)

Here’s an easy and popular dish from Taiwan called Three Cup Chicken (三杯鸡), which combines boneless chicken, ginger, garlic, red chili, and basil with a blend of savory seasonings to make a delicious chicken dish with an incredibly rich and savory sauce topped off with a hint of spiciness!

Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken, or “San Bei Ji” (三杯鸡) in Mandarin, is a staple in Taiwan. Its name reflects the three key ingredients: soy sauce, cooking wine, and sesame oil, symbolizing the balance in traditional Taiwanese cooking influenced by various cultural elements.

This recipe uses boneless chicken leg for its tender texture and ability to absorb flavors. Old ginger adds warmth, garlic contributes aroma, red chili provides color and heat, and basil adds a touch of sweetness, creating a harmonious blend.

The sauce, a crucial element, involves sesame oil, ginger, and garlic for a flavorful base. Light soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, and chicken stock contribute sweet, savory, and umami notes that really elevate the dish.

The cooking begins with the slow infusion of sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. The chicken turns golden, absorbing the flavors. As the sauce thickens and caramelizes, each ingredient plays a role in the harmonious blend. The addition of red chili and basil adds color and freshness, completing the dish.

Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken is so easy to make in less than 20 minutes, and it provides such a rich and complex taste and aroma that will please anybody who likes Asian food, although kids will need to be able to take some mild heat from the chilies! So let’s get to it!

Watch How To Make It

Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken (三杯鸡)

Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji) has an incredibly rich and complex taste from the savory sauce that also has a hint of spiciness!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Taiwanese
Keyword: dinner, easy recipe, lunch, quick
Servings: 2


  • 2 boneless chicken leg
  • 15 g old ginger
  • 20 g garlic
  • 1 big red chili
  • Some basil


  • 1.5 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2.5 tbsp cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 250 ml chicken stock


  • Heat up sesame oil over low heat, then add ginger slices and stir fry until the edges turn brown.
  • Add garlic then the chicken. Let the chicken cook until it’s golden on the outside.
  • Add light soy sauce, cooking wine and sugar. Let it cook until the sauce thickens and sugar caramelizes.
  • Pour in chicken stock and simmer for 6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Crank up the heat, add red chili and basil, give it a little toss then serve!

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