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Recipe for San Bei Ji (三杯鷄)

By Joe Lewis.
Published February 9, 2021 7:45pm, updated February 10, 2021 8:42am.

Photo of ornate temple roof in Taiwan.

I would be remiss in publishing a website with the domain "sanbeiji.com" without some kind of explanation. And a recipe.

San bei ji is a traditional Taiwanese dish. In Mandarin, it is written 三杯鷄, and translates to "three cup chicken". The name comes from the key ingredients: A cup of sesame oil, a cup of rice wine, and a cup of soy sauce.

I secured the domain sanbeiji.com sometime in 2001. I wanted to start a website to practice my web coding skills. I was in Taiwan at that time, and had exhausted quite a list of potential domain name candidates. We went out for food, and san bei ji was ordered. It was delicious, and the domain name was available, and so there it was: Another great decision based on my gut.

This recipe specifies gluten free soy sauce, but you'll get the same result with the regular version.

Ingredients

Directions

Wash the chicken and cut it into small pieces using a cleaver. (Traditional style: chicken is hacked into small parts about 1 inches in diameter, leaving bones in for flavor.) Heat the sesame oil in the frying pan until sizzling. Add the ginger, and stir fry until everything is a little dry. Add the garlic fry it up. Add the chicken, rice wine, soy sauce, and sugar. Set the heat to low and cook everything covered for 20 minutes or until all liquids are condensed and you have a nice glaze. Last step: Add basil and stir-fry quickly. Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as an appetizer.

Taiwan's mountain regions are home to the finest tea plantations in the world. Add a pinch of chopped fresh Taiwanese oolong tea leaves with the basil, if available, for an extra traditional Taiwanese mountain-style taste. The dish is traditionally served in a heated, covered clay pot. The dish is especially delicious served with stir-fried chinese garlic asparagus, white steamed rice, and a gluten free lager beer, ice cold.