This is my personal spin on the home-style Taiwanese dish, Three Cup Chicken (Sanbeiji). Every Taiwanese family makes it differently, some insist that only chopped chicken wings will do, others insist on rabbit! Arguments are aplenty when it comes to whether basil or green onion best brings out the savory and sweet flavors of the dish. I say why argue over food? As long as it is tasty and relatively health (you do NOT want to know how many calories are in the homestyle versions), traditional or modern, I am in.
Three cups refers to the three ingredients – soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine – measured equally. While my version contains all three, I use the sesame oil much more sparingly. I prefer basil over green onions and also like to add dark soy sauce to give it color.
The spinach, I add for the health factor. But the potatoes, I add it for the yum factor as this dish is very saucy. Potatoes + Three Cup Chicken Sauce = Taiwanese style mashed potatoes. This recipe serves three without rice and four with rice. Personally, I say omit the rice and save the sauce for the potatoes.
This dish is higher in fat than my normal weekly meal preps but it does have tons of Vitamins A and C, and good amounts of potassium, fiber, calcium, and iron to make up for it.
Meal Prep Notes: Cook the spinach only until it is slightly wilted or just stuff into your prep containers raw. Spinach cooks really fast.
Additional Notes: This recipe can also be made gluten-free using gluten free soy sauce in place of both dark and light soy sauce with minimal loss of flavor though the color of the sauce won’t be as brown.
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut in chunks) | $1.99
1 lb potato (cut in chunks) | $0.79
1 lb spinach (washed) | $2.50
1 cup basil leaves | $1.25
5 cloves of garlic chopped | $0.20
1 inch of a knob of ginger sliced into matchsticks| $0.04
1/4 cup rice wine | $0.12
1/4 cup dark soy sauce | $0.12
1/4 cup soy sauce | $0.12
2 tbsp sesame oil (can substitute olive) | $0.40
1 tbsp sugar | $0.03
1/2 tbsp tapioca starch | $0.02
1/2 cup water
1 star anise (optional)
Total: $7.61 | 3 servings | $2.53 per serving
STEP BY STEP PHOTOS
Marinate the chicken with ½ tbsp. tapioca starch and 1 tbsp sesame oil. Set aside for 30 minutes.
In a dutch oven or a pan with high sides, add in 1 tbsp of sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry for 3 minutes on medium heat. *I use a Le Creuset 5-quart Dutch Oven. It was pretty expensive ($300), but it’s “heirloom quality” and the enamel coating chips less over time. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend the Lodge Color Enamel 6-quart Dutch Oven ($61). It does the job very well and won’t break the bank.
Add in chicken and stir fry for 3 minutes.
Add in potatoes, light and dark soy sauce, star anise, rice wine and water. Mix well. Put the lid on the pot and let cook at medium low heat for approx. 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are done to your liking. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent the food from sticking to the pan. If the sauce cooks down too much, add in 1/4 cup of water at a time.
Add in basil and stir for 1 minute before removing the contents of the pan.
Be sure to leave some of the sauce behind for cooking the spinach.
Add in spinach and cook for another 3 minutes on medium heat or until spinach is done to your liking.
Spinach is done when it looks somewhat like the picture below.
Portioned out into my meal prep containers.