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Three Cup Chicken - San Bei Ji

Three cup chicken, or San Bei Ji in Chinese, is a very popular dish. Legend says that the original chef use one cup each of sesame oil, Chinese wine, and soy sauce to cook one chicken, but I somehow doubt that it would work, or maybe it will if I can somehow get a hold on a really big chicken :)

Three Cup Chicken - San Bei Ji
Three Cup Chicken - San Bei Ji

For the chicken, you can choose to use one whole chicken cut into 8 pieces like how I usually cook my san bei ji, or you can use boneless skinless breast and thigh to speed up the cooking process. But however you choose your chicken to be, I guarantee that the sauce will be finger licking good you definitely want to eat this with a bowl of steamed white rice to savor every last drop of the sauce. ♥

Three Cup Chicken - San Bei Ji

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 8

Print Recipe


  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised
  • 1 inch ginger, cut into 6 slices
  • 2 scallion, cut into 2 inches length, separate the white parts from the green parts
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese wine (e.g. Shao Xing Hua Tiao Jiu)
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese wolfberry fruit (Chinese: gou gi zi), soaked in water for at least 10 minutes.


  1. Heat sesame oil in a pot and stir fry garlic, ginger and white part of scallions until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken pieces and stir fry until no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes each side.
  3. Add Chinese wine, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, water, and sugar. Mix evenly and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 6 minutes or until chicken pieces are fully cooked.
  4. Add the green parts of the spring onion and the wolfberry fruit. Cook another 2-3 minutes until the sauce is reduced.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Sarah Sarah says:

    I've made san bei ji many times (it's a family favourite) but my recipe uses diced chicken thighs. I love the idea of using bigger, bone in pieces. I'll have to try it your way :)

    • anita anita says:

      Should be as straight forward as using diced chicken thighs, with the added benefit of not having to debone and dicing the said thighs :)

  • Food for Feast Food for Feast says:

    Been wanting to make this dish for ages, thanks for the reminder.

    • anita anita says:

      You are welcome :)

  • Star Van Star Van says:

    How should I adjust the cooking times if I were to use diced chicken thighs?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi, I would reduce the cooking time for step 2 to cook until the chicken are no longer pink, and step 3 to about 3 minutes just to make sure the chicken are fully cooked. The rest of the steps should stay the same. :)

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