This is a very good home-style Chinese recipe called "three cups chicken" (video and recipe below). As explained in the video we made at home, it's supposed to have a cup of soy sauce, a cup of rice wine, and a cup of sesame oil, but this is a variation -- we're using a lot less of all three ingredients and we skipped one ingredient, basil. For these reasons, in Chinese we are calling it “差不多”的三杯雞 or "懶人"的三杯雞, which means "just about" or "lazy man's" three cups chicken. But it still tastes great.
Another advantage of this recipe: The main, must-have ingredients (chicken, garlic, ginger, soy, etc.) can be found in any American supermarket. For the special Asian ingredients such as rice wine (米酒), we give alternatives (in this case, water, beer or dry white wine).
It tastes great over rice, and we also recommend serving another vegetable dish with it (stir fried cabbage or mixed vegetables, etc.)
Here's the recipe:
“差不多”的三杯雞 or "懶人"的三杯雞
"Almost" three cups chicken or "lazy man's" three cups chicken
- Six or seven garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 inch long piece of ginger, skin cut off and sliced into 1/8" thick slices
- (Optional) Three scallions, cut down the center and chopped into thirds
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (we used vegetable oil)
- 10 pieces dark meat chicken - we used boneless thighs
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine, white wine, water or beer
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil (you can probably live without this, but it adds a nice flavor)
- some rock sugar -- start with 6 small cubes, then adjust to taste. Or use a teaspoon of white or brown sugar.
- Handful of Thai or Italian basil, thick stems removed. (You should have this to make authentic three cups chicken, but you can get away without it, hence the name in Chinese, "lazy man's three cups chicken")
Put a large pot on the gas range, turn up heat to high. Throw in the ginger and scallion and garlic in that order. Make sure the garlic doesn't burn. Throw in the chicken in batches so at least one side gets browned. Stir it around so everything is slightly cooked on the outside (browning is ideal, but not required), maybe 10 minutes or so. Add the liquids. It should start boiling quickly. Note the chicken should throw off some liquid, too. Turn down heat to low-medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Open lid, add the sugar, check the liquid. You're going to end up with a thick sauce that coats the chicken but doesn't really pool at the bottom, so if it's thin and an inch deep it's time to turn up the heat and leave the lid off. Pay close attention and stir regularly so it doesn't burn. Do this until the sauce is thick, around 20-30 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the basil, stir it around. Serve on white or brown rice.