Three Cup Chicken

Three cup chicken is a dish I first had back in the states. I didn’t really know much about its Taiwanese origins until some of my Taiwanese international student friends told me that it’s a pretty popular dish from their home country. Coming back home, I was even more surprised to find out that it was one of my dad’s favorite childhood dishes since our old family cook who came from China not only cooked regional Chinese dishes but also Taiwanese. Read more on three cup chicken and its fascinating background from the recipe link below.

So when I chanced upon a recipe for this dish, I decided to try it out. As you may have read in my older posts, I rarely cook so this is one of the rare cooking posts I have to share. Prepping: I was very fortunate to find the ingredients in our pantry. Luckily, my aunt who used to live with us left us some of her Chinese cooking ingredients. As for the Thai Basil leaves, well guess what, we grow that in our garden! Oh, just one of the perks of living in the countryside…

The only thing I would do differently? Cook it for longer. I looked up another recipe that said to cook it until the sauce thickens and just barely covers the chicken. I realized what a big difference this step brings to the dish since it is when the flavor from the sauce is absorbed by the chicken. Neglecting this step can turn your three cup chicken into a bland mess. And on the same note, in terms of flavor, the Thai Basil leaves sets this dish apart. The herb provides this sweet lemony aroma that gave the dish so much more flavor.

I would also like to note that I now appreciate the technique of marinating chicken in baking soda before cooking. I always found it an odd step in Chinese cuisine. But I was really pleased with the result since the chicken turned out so juicy and tender. I was worried considering how tiny the chicken could be cubed, leaving more room for error in terms of drying it out.

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