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A speedy, savory, sweet stir-fry
Milk Street Bowtie Three-Cup Chicken

Three-Cup Chicken

35 minutes 15 minutes active

Free

Taiwanese three-cup chicken is named for the formula once used to prepare the dish: one cup each of sesame oil, soy sauce and rice wine. Not surprisingly, recipes no longer adhere to that ratio, but the name has stuck. Bone-in chicken legs that have been hacked into pieces are customarily used in this one-pan dish; we opted for boneless, skinless chicken thighs for easier prep and eating. Serve with rice and steamed or stir-fried vegetables.

2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 cup sake
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-wide strips
12 medium garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 serrano chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn if large
Ingredients
  • 2

    teaspoons cornstarch

  • 3

    tablespoons soy sauce

  • ¾

    cup sake

  • 2

    tablespoons packed brown sugar

  • 1

    tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-wide strips

  • 12

    medium garlic cloves, halved lengthwise

  • 1

    bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths

  • 1

    serrano chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds

  • ¼

    cup minced fresh ginger

  • 2

    tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 3

    cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn if large

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Three-Cup Chicken

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

35 minutes

15 minutes active

Tip

Don’t begin cooking until all ingredients are prepared; the dish comes together quickly.

Ingredients
  • 2

    teaspoons cornstarch

  • 3

    tablespoons soy sauce

  • ¾

    cup sake

  • 2

    tablespoons packed brown sugar

  • 1

    tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-wide strips

  • 12

    medium garlic cloves, halved lengthwise

  • 1

    bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths

  • 1

    serrano chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds

  • ¼

    cup minced fresh ginger

  • 2

    tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 3

    cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn if large

Step 1 of 3

Cook the chicken

2
teaspoons cornstarch
3
tablespoons soy sauce
¾
cup sake
2
tablespoons packed brown sugar
1
tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
2
pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-wide strips

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and soy sauce, then stir in the sake and sugar. Set aside. Heat a wok over medium-high for 3 minutes, or until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds. Add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the chicken in an even layer and cook without stirring until browned, about 5 minutes.

Step 2 of 3

Brown the garlic

12
medium garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
1
bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1
serrano chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
¼
cup minced fresh ginger
2
tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is well-browned and softened, about 4 minutes. Add the scallions, serrano, ginger and sesame oil, then cook, stirring constantly, until the scallions begin to wilt, about 1 minute.

Step 3 of 3

Stir, coat and serve

3
cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn if large

Stir the sake-cornstarch mixture to recombine, then add to the wok. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, add the basil and stir until it begins to wilt, about 30 seconds.

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