This dish is called three cups because it is traditionally made with equal proportions of three main ingredients: soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine. It is a one pot dish that is flavourful and very easy to make. Although the authentic version has thai basil in it, I have also made this dish without it and it still tastes great.
Three Cup Chicken Recipe
6 to 8 chicken drumsticks (Note: You could also any chicken parts that you like: wings, half or whole chicken cut into chunks, or the most popular – boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs cut into pieces.)
1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup shaoxing wine
1/6 cup soy sauce
1/6 cup dark soy sauce (or substitute with soy sauce)
1/4 cup water (Note: Omit this if using boneless chicken meat)
3 tablespoons Chinese rock sugar, chopped roughly (or substitute with white granulated sugar) – Note: Be careful handling the rock sugar as it can have sharp edges when cut
6 cloves garlic, roughly minced
3 slices of ginger cut into thin strips
1 to 2 small red chillies (or to taste), deseeded and sliced thinly (optional)
1 cup very loosely packed fresh thai basil (or substitute with green onions, green parts only cut into 2 inch pieces)
Heat a heavy bottomed pot or a large clay pot over medium high heat. Add the sesame oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger, garlic, and red chillies if using, and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then add the chicken drumsticks and the shaoxing wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rock sugar, and water (omit water if using boneless chicken). Cover the pot with a lid and bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer while uncovered. (If using boneless chicken, simmer covered.) Mixing the chicken occasionally (to make sure that all of the pieces are covered in sauce and cooked evenly), cook for 15 to 25 minutes until the chicken drumsticks are just cooked through. (If using boneless chicken meat, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes.) About 3 to 5 minutes before the end of your cook time, add the thai basil and stir to combine. Do not overcook the chicken. Remove the pot from heat and serve hot with rice.