Japan, China – Sanbeiji ( Three Cup Chicken )

by Zayna Khan

Three Cup Chicken is also known by the name, San Bei Ji. It is a very popular dish in China and Taiwan cuisine but also very popular evenly in Japan. It seems to be a Chinese dish but very popular in Japan and love by the people of Japan. It is known as a three-cup chicken because the used in this dish is made by a cup of three ingredients. Like rice wine ( mirin ), soya sauce, and sesame oil. This dish is special because of the sauce. The special sauce is made with this chicken and served.

These three sauce ingredients create a thick, dark, sticky sauce that absorbs into the chicken pieces.

Lin Shangquan is the famous Chef of China, cooked this dish by addition of a cup of all ingredients like a chicken with each cup of soya sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Then add some herbs like basil, salt, sugar, and garlic for flavors. Cook until tender and serve. When the chicken with skin is cooked in an earthen pot with this flavors and sauces, it gives amazing juiciness to the dish. The sauce can be thick when cooking in the pot to make a gravy texture. And this can be the soupy consistency to make it serve with rice and porridge, congee, etc.

This dish can be cooked in other meats like seafood, red meat, frog, pork, etc.

This dish is from Jiangxi cuisine.


Jiangxi cuisine is cuisine from the Province of China. It is also known as Gan Cuisine. This cuisine is popular in the following characteristics :

  • Spiciness
  • Fermented black beans and beancurd
  • Fish banquets
  • Cold or raw dishes
  • Tea Oil, etc.

It is served with Congee and Rice.


Rice congee, or porridge. It is a thick, sticky, semi-solid texture of the rice porridge served with this chicken. In Japanese, it is known as JUK. báizhōu is also a name for this dish. It is very simple, rice porridge made by adding milk and cook until thick and cooked. When they use without any gravy or meat, vegetables are added to them. Salt, pepper, scallions, basil, ginger, chicken stock, or broth is added and then cook them together.

Items to be added into congee are like :

  • Bamboo shoots
  • Pickled tofu
  • Zhacai
  • Salted duck
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Lettuce, etc.


This chicken is served with any kind of rice like :

  • Chahan
  • Omurice
  • Tamago
  • Donburi
  • Seiro mushi
  • Onigiri
  • Kamameshi
  • Kettle rice, etc


It has three main ingredients that are added in each three-cup measurement. An equal ratio of all these ingredients is added to make a thick sauce with chicken. Chicken is fried in sesame oil then some herbs and sauce is added. sauce is:

  • Sesame oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Spya sauce

Three-cup chicken is very crispy, they can be made crispy before the addition of sauces into sesame oil. Some ginger, garlic is added to make it aromatic. Basil is also added to the top of the dish. It is a very strong fragrance and makes it colorful.


  • Calories : 350
  • Carbohydrates : 8 grams
  • Protein : 40 grams
  • Fats : 21 grams


You only need to have 20 minutes to cook this dish.

All is needed to tender the chicken which takes almost 15 minutes.


  • Chicken with skin : 2 lbs ( drumbstick and thighs )
  • Salt : 1 teaspoon
  • Ginger : 2 inch pieces
  • Garlic 3 cloves
  • Basil leaves : 5 to 8
  • Sugar : 5 tablespoons
  • Sesame oil : 1 cup
  • Rice vinegar : 1 cup
  • Soya sauce : 1 cup


  • Take chicken and add sesame oil into the cooking pot.
  • Add ginger and garlic cloves into oil with chicken and start cooking it.
  • Make it crispy and brown for the crunhiness texture in the sauce.
  • Now when chicken is colored nicely, take it from the oil and set it aside.
  • Now in remaining sesae oil, add rice vinegar, and soya sauce to make the sauce.
  • Add salt, suagr into the sauce and cook it for 5 minutes.
  • The consistency of sauce when thickened, add chicken into it.
  • Now cook it for 2 minutes, add basil leaves on the top and serve.
  • Enjoy 🙂
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