Three cup chicken

Three cup chicken is so-called because the traditional recipe uses one cup each of rice wine, soy sauce and lard. In today’s day and age that amount of lard is totally unacceptable, and so this has been changed and modified to be more acceptable to modern tastes by replacing the lard with chicken stock.

However, it is still a chicken-only recipe. I have modified this further as I think this just enhances the dish and makes it more of a complete one-pot meal, removing the need for an additional side-dish. You could make it with chicken only, but then I would recommend some steamed veg (e.g. pak-choi with ginger and soy) as an accompaniment.

This recipe uses shiitake mushrooms and Pak choi, but you could substitute either of these with other types of mushrooms, green beans, mangetout,  etc. Also, due to the addition of soy sauce, there is a fair bit of saltiness already, so be very careful while adding any extra salt.

Three cup chicken with shiitake mushrooms and pak choi


  • 500g skinless chicken thigh fillet
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 4 small pieces of ginger, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 125 ml chicken and/or meat stock
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Optional veg

  • 5-6 Shiitake (or other mushrooms), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 pak choi (each leaf cut into halves)
  • Cut the chicken into 2 cm cubes. Combine the cornflour with water to make a paste. Toss the chicken cubes in the paste to coat.
  •  Heat the oil in a small clay pot or casserole. Lightly brown the chicken with the spring onions and ginger, then add the rice wine, soy and stock.
  • Add the mushrooms. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes.
  • A couple minutes before serving add the pak choi, and let it simmer until the leaves begin to wilt.
  •  Check the amount of liquid left – if you want less gravy, boil it off.
  • Check the level of salt (the soy sauce should have made it salty enough already) and add more according to your taste.
  • Add the sesame oil and serve the chicken hot from the pot.

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