Three Cup Chicken, San Bei Ji

Three Cup Chicken, San Bei Ji

Sometimes I come across a recipe that just seems irresistible. I saw a picture of something called Three Cup Chicken and I just knew I had to make it.

Three Cup Chicken, San Bei Ji is a Taiwanese dish. When I looked it up I was faced with a number of different recipes but the main ingredients are toasted sesame seed oil, Shaoxing rice wine and Soy sauce.


After reading a few recipes I decided to loosely follow this recipe from It is a very simple recipe and quick once you get started.


The allotment is incredibly productive and I had some baby beetroot that I placed in rock salt and baked in the oven.


salt baked beetroot


I let the beetroots cool slightly before peeling them.


It wasn’t a brilliant year for beans, they are usually so easy to grow and we usually have an abundance. This year the beans that do come look wonderful but it are not many of them. M picked the French dwarf beans and as we only got a few I decided to make a miso dressing. Chef Anita Lo has a wonderful dressing and you can find the recipe here.

The only difference I made was to use pistachio nuts instead of flaked almonds. It is a delicious recipe.


miso green beans


As I mentioned I didn’t quite follow the recipe exactly but I used it as a base so here is my version of Three Cup Chicken.


Three Cup Chicken

preparation time 10 minutes + 24 hr for brining

cooking time 30-35 minutes or until juices run clear

oven 225C or 437F for 25 minutes and then turn the heat down to 175C or 347F 

serves 3 for a small chicken and 4 for a larger 


For the brine

  • 1 1/2 litre or 7 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup sugar, I used Demerara sugar
  • 1 chilli, cut in half length ways
  • 1 medium sized chicken

For Roasting

  • pimiento padron, Spanish peppers

For the sauce 

  • 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup sesame seed oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and cut julienne
  • cloves of 1 head of garlic, peeled and cut in half length ways
  • 3/4 dl or just more than 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup Demerara sugar
  • 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 good handful of basil leaves, Thai basil if you can get a hold of it


  • fried coriander flowers (optional)

Day 1

Bring the water for the brine to the boil and dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the chilli and let stand until cooled.

Cut the chicken in to 9 pieces and place in the brine. Let the chicken sit over night. This will add flavor as well as keep the meat juicy and tender.


Day 2

Turn the oven on. Rinse the chicken and pat the pieces dry and place them on an ovenproof tray.

Add pimiento padron and roast the chicken. Depending on the sizes keep an eye on the chicken towards the end so it doesn’t go dry.


Whilst the chicken is roasting make the sauce. Heat the sesame seed oil in a pan and then add garlic and ginger. Fry for a few minutes before adding the soy sauce, sugar and Shaoxing rice wine. Turn the heat down and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Make sure the heat is not too high or it might burn or cook dry. A minute before serving add the basil leaves and pour the sauce over the chicken.


Three Cup Chicken, San Bei Ji


The chicken was delicious and despite not having been cooked in the sauce it took up lots of flavor.


I served the chicken with white rice, green beans, deep fried coriander flowers and the salt baked beetroot.


Three Cup Chicken, San Bei Ji


The recipe was as good as I imagined and I have to admit I can’t wait to cook this again. It is a simple dish but so flavorful it is perfect for a week night as well as when you have friends over.


Speaking of friends I am bringing this to Angie’s fin filled foodie party, Fiesta Friday! Co hosting today are CH, Cooking From My Heart, and Nimmi, Adorable Life.










15 Responses to “Three Cup Chicken, San Bei Ji”
  1. It sounds fun and looks delicious, Petra. Hugs.

  2. jackcollier7 says:

    Looks delicious. I’ve bookmarked this recipe. ❤ 😉

    • petra08 says:

      hi Jack
      If you are short on time you don’t have to brine the chicken, it will still taste good. You can do what they do in the original recipe and use baking soda. I have never tried it but why not 🙂 x

  3. nimmiafzal says:

    Loved the recipe as well as the way you plated the dish..Truly awesome.. Thanks for bringing such an innovative dish to the party..
    Happy Fiesta Friday:)

  4. chefkreso says:

    Amazing photos as always, thanks for sharing another inspiring dish 😀

    • petra08 says:

      Hi Chef Kreso
      Thank you so much! It is so easy to make and has so much flavor 🙂 Have a great week ahead!

  5. That chicken sounds terrific. Anything with soy sauce is always delicious. Bookmarked!

    • petra08 says:

      hi Angie
      This chicken is so good! I made it again for a friend, I had cooked way too much but she didn’t stop eating it so it was a good thing I had some extra! It tastes just as good the day after if not better 🙂 Am glad you like it! x

  6. turkswhoeat says:

    Beautiful dish and beautiful photos!

  7. Looks delicious Petra. This would be great to serve for a special occasion. Tender meat with a great combo of flavors.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Joanne
      Thank you!
      It is a great way to make a chicken more festive! I did it for a friend and she wouldn’t stop eating! 🙂

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