Three-Cup Chicken

You know those meals that leave you stunned and speechless and psychotically gleeful?

Three-Cup Thai Chicken / Bev Cooks


This. This! THIS! t h i s.

You’re hesitant, I can tell. But I will change you.

First of all, there’s this show. This Netflix docu-style food show that Aaron and I recently discovered and are just loony over. It’s called Ainsley Eats the Streets – do you watch it? Have you seen it? Dude is so fun and so charming and so lovable and SO WELL FED. He basically travels all over the globe and dives into street food culture. It’s incredibly interesting, and visually sickening. All that STREET FOOD. And like, weird ish. Quail eggs stuffed into tiny octopus head bodies on a stick.


But I didn’t make you that, so simmer down already.

I made you Three-Cup Chicken! Which I didn’t even know was a thing, until we watched this one episode  thirteen hundred billion times (when he was in Taipei, Taiwan) so that I could watch every single thing he put into this wildy-simple yet crazy flavor-town meal.

You’re going to obsess, promise.

Okay look:

Three-Cup Thai Chicken / Bev Cooks

And let just say, I winged (wang? ew, no) this. I didn’t google any recipes because I wanted mine to be purely based on what I watched and absorbed. At least close. Because you know they just willy nilly all that street food. Which is my steez.

But you guys, this recipe is EASY. It’s really all about the three sauces that bloom up and party all over that chicken, creating a deep, dark, sticky result in the end that is NUTSO good.

Three-Cup Thai Chicken / Bev Cooks

You start by searing some THAHS in sesame oil.

And oh, I kept it simple for you – 4 Tbs. of each sauce. Enough to coat and caress, but not drown the chicken.

You’ll add thinly sliced ginger and big chunks of garlic cloves to the pan. Your life is taking a new turn and you will not be upset about it.

Three-Cup Thai Chicken / Bev Cooks

Then you’ll add mirin (cooking rice wine), and soy sauce and let it reduce and bubble and thicken and stickify into a glorious pan of OMG. Throw in some Thai basil and thinly sliced hot red Thai peppers (I think mine are technically Fresno, but it was all I could find, and I’m still a good person.)

Let it go another five while the basil and peppers infuse that mess a little bit more.

Three-Cup Thai Chicken / Bev Cooks

And that’s IT. Have some cooked jasmine rice on hand, along with more basil, peppers and chopped scallions, and get ready to absolutely lose your mind over this.

It’s sweet. It’s savory. It’s sticky and luscious and other-worldly.

The meal’s pretty good, too.

(ba domp?)

Three-Cup Thai Chicken / Bev Cooks

If you’re worried about the heat, just don’t garnish with peppers! The others that go in will mellow out and add depth, but not a ton of heat. I like my face to rain though, so.

I BEG you to try this. After one bite Aaron and I were completely cuckoo. And the gremlins even liked it! Well, sans peppers and heavy on the rice.

But I’ll take it.

Three-Cup Thai Chicken / Bev Cooks

This is your new life. Trust meh.

Three-Cup Thai Chicken
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Recipe Image


  • 22 oz chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat
  • 1-2 Tbs. thinly sliced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, cut into large chunks
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 4 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 4 Tbs. mirin (cooking rice wine)
  • 4 Tbs. soy sauce
  • One Thai pepper, thinly sliced
  • About a cup of Thai basil leaves
  • Cooked Jasmine rice
  • A few scallions, chopped
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Heat the sesame oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and sear all over until you get some nice darkening, about 8 minutes. About five minutes in, add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté, until the garlic and ginger being to soften.
  2. Then add the mirin, soy sauce and brown sugar; bring the heat down to a simmer and let it bubble and reduce for another 5-10 minutes. Then throw in a few pepper slices and half the basil, cover and let reduce another minute or so. Keep turning the chicken so that it’s coated in allll that sticky glory.
  3. Once it’s reduced and almost syrupy, you’re done! Serve with jasmine rice, chopped scallions, extra peppers and Thai basil.
  4. Your new life awaits you.
  5. Serves 4!

Three-Cup Thai Chicken / Bev Cooks

I mean….

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32 Responses to Three-Cup Chicken

  1. Deanna March 8, 2018 at 8:38 am #
    Looks so good! I just need to get my hands on some Kirin so I can make it...otherwise it’ll be mostly 3 cup chicken, but with this sweet rose that someone brought me but I can’t drink because it’s so sweet. Are you calling it Thai because of the basil or did you mean Taiwanese?
  2. Deanna March 8, 2018 at 8:39 am #
    I definitely meant mirin but with the lag time I’m experiencing I didn’t notice the auto correct.
  3. Olivia Atherton March 8, 2018 at 10:11 am #
    Oh, that looks yummy! I will need to make this soon=)
  4. Julie Detwiler March 8, 2018 at 3:21 pm #
    Looks really tasty. Why the name?
    • Bev Weidner March 9, 2018 at 5:55 am #
      It's just what Ainsley called it! Apparently it's a popular street dish in Taiwan. I think for bigger crowds you'd use a cup of each sauce. But using a smaller amount of chicken, mine's Four-Tablespoon Chicken. Ha!
  5. Jen Renee March 8, 2018 at 4:36 pm #
    Added to the meal planning list ?
  6. laci March 9, 2018 at 1:53 pm #
    chicken thighs: bone-in or boneless?
  7. DJ March 9, 2018 at 5:41 pm #
    Hi Bev, This sounds really, really, good! Can hardly wait to try it! Thank you, DJ
  8. Jenn March 10, 2018 at 2:50 am #
    I’m confused about the name too, is it Thai street food in Taiwan? Or Taiwanese? (I would just watch the ep but I checked & it’s not on lame Australian Netflix, ugh). Either way it looks amazing & I’m adding it to my “to cook” list!
    • Bev Weidner March 10, 2018 at 7:35 am #
      It's Taiwanese street food! But yes, the episode is suuuuper interesting. I recommend!
  9. Kylee March 10, 2018 at 8:48 pm #
    Just made this and it was divine! The flavors were so rich and satisfying. My hubs and my 3 kids devoured it also. Thanks for the inspiration and the free entertainment! ? Realized when I was cooking it that the written recipe doesn’t mention adding the garlic and the ginger, or maybe I’ve had too much to drink?!
    • Laura Jensen March 10, 2018 at 10:26 pm #
      Ah - I'm making this right now and I don't know when to toss in the ginger and garlic - SOS!!! =)
      • Bev Weidner March 11, 2018 at 8:01 am #
        Ack! I am SO SORRY I left that step out. You add the garlic and ginger toward the beginning, when the chicken is searing. Hopefully it worked out!
    • Bev Weidner March 11, 2018 at 8:02 am #
      I'm a ding bat and forgot to include that step! You were to add it in the beginning with the chicken. Recipe is updated! SO glad you enjoyed. :)
  10. Lauren March 12, 2018 at 5:52 am #
    You know Thai food is from Thailand not Taiwan right!? Looks delicious, I’m definitely trying thank you :)
    • Bev Weidner March 12, 2018 at 8:22 am #
      Right! I said it was Taiwanese. I just used Thai peppers and Thai basil because Ainsley did. :)
      • Lauren March 12, 2018 at 9:27 pm #
        Ok thank you. Sorry, rereading my comment, it sounds very rude. I didn’t mean it to be, I always love your recipes as do my twins ?
  11. Dennis March 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm #
    As someone who is a big chicken lover and eater, I am always looking for ways to spice and change up my chicken recipes and your Three-Cup chicken recipe looks amazing! Recipes such as your Three-Cup chicken are great to share with friends and family which can be done easily with technology. A simple way to keep recipes saved and shared is by using word document online and granting access to the file to your friends and family. I've never had a Thai pepper before and seeing that in your recipe has convinced me to give your recipe a try!
  12. Angie March 12, 2018 at 8:10 pm #
    This may be a dumb question, sorry. Any suggestions for substitutes for Thai basil and/or peppers? I live in a very small town with no Asian grocery.
    • Bev Weidner March 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm #
      Not a dumb question at all! Matter of fact, I made this again tonight and used jalapeno peppers and regular basil. That TOTALLY works. Hope you love it!
  13. Anonymous March 22, 2018 at 11:08 am #
    Just FYI, your description still says it is Thai, not Taiwanese, when it is the latter. "I made you Three-Cup Thai Chicken! Which I didn’t even know was a thing, until we watched this one episode thirteen hundred billion times (when he was in Taipei, Taiwan) so that I could watch every single thing he put into this wildy-simple yet crazy flavor-town meal."
    • Bev Weidner March 22, 2018 at 11:41 am #
      Innocent mistake! Updated.
      • Anonymous March 22, 2018 at 11:50 am #
  14. Kat March 22, 2018 at 8:45 pm #
    Made this tonight. It was perfect!! My husband loved it, I loved it, AND my 5 year old loved (which rarely happens unless it’s slathered in cheese). Thanks Bev!!
  15. Jane March 23, 2018 at 9:16 am #
    Thai and Taiwanese are not the same thing! Ooopsies! White mistake!
    • Bev Weidner March 23, 2018 at 5:36 pm #
      Hahahahah! I love the way you put that. Exactly! I made the edit though, so we're alllll good. :)
  16. Annie April 2, 2018 at 6:55 pm #
    YUM!! My husband and I just finished eating this for dinner - DELISH. Will absolutely make again and can't wait to eat the rest tomorrow for lunch. Fast, easy and so darn tasty. Thanks so much!


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