I love discovering the food-words that exist exclusively in certain languages. Shememodjamo, for instance, is Georgian for “I accidentally ate the whole thing”, to describe situations where one continues to eat despite being full. This word needs to exist in more languages. This Three Cup Chicken dish is most perfectly described as 下饭 (xia fan) as we say in Chinese, which translates to “sends the rice down”, ie the robust flavor renders the dish perfect with rice. This word, understandably, has little place in other languages.
The point is, this dish is filled with flavor. It is an infamous Taiwanese dish, where the name comes from the fact that it uses one cup of sesame oil, one cup of soy sauce, and one cup of Shaoxing wine. I can tell you that if you do follow that ratio you’ll get an incredibly salty and greasy dish. The original recipe for Three Cup Chicken also calls for a lot of garlic. Enough to kill a van-ful of vampires. Enough to have you ostracized from society. So after the adjustments, the dish is still very 下饭(xia fan). You really should eat this with a nice bowl of rice.
Serves 2 if stand alone with rice, 4 if there are other dishes
2 chicken thighs, bone in, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 two-inch piece ginger, sliced into matchsticks
6 garlic cloves peeled
4 spring onions, cut into one-inch pieces
1/2 – 1 tsp chili flaks
40ml sesame oil
100ml Shaoxing wine
50ml soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
Fresh basil leaves or Thai basil even better
Heat the sesame oil in a wok. When hot, add the ginger, garlic, spring onion and chili. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Scrape the ingredients to the side of the wok and add the chicken. Stirring occasionally until brown on all sides.
Add sugar, shaoxing wine and soy sauce. Bring to a boil then turn heat down to leave it to simmer until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
Serve with basil leaves.