Cooking Chinese food often seems like a daunting task, and conjures up images of practiced immaculate knife work, mysterious ingredients and woks fuming with oil and smoke.
Well, Chinese cuisine is as diverse and varied as the 56 distinct ethnic groups that make up its rich demographic fabric, and as contrasting as the 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and 2 special administrative regions that bring their own unique produce and flavours to the Chinese dining table.
In contrast, the dish I’m making today – 3 Cup Chicken, is anything but complicated. As the name eludes, it uses only 3 key seasoning ingredients: sugar, Chinese cooking wine, and soy sauce. It’s one of those dishes that you put all the ingredients together and forget about it. Here is how you make a winning dish for tonight’s table.
What you’ll need:
- 4 chicken legs / thighs, chopped
- 5-6 slices of ginger
- 1 green onion
- 1 cup light soy sauce
- 0.5 cup sugar
- 0.5 cup cooking wine / mirin
- 0.5 cup hot water
- a handful of basil
- garlic cloves (optional)
Firstly, prep your aromatics.
Put all the goodies in a deep pot. I like adding garlic cloves as they cook into tender, sugary morsels inside the broth.
Pour in the sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine and hot water. Stir that all together so all the flavours marry together. Turn the heat to medium.
Add in the chicken pieces and bring to a boil. Allow the chicken to simmer on medium / low heat for around 20 minutes, or until the juices run clear. I like to poke the chicken pieces with a chopstick, and if the chopstick sinks in easily with no sign of blood, I know the chicken is done!
Once the chicken is fully cooked, rip a handful of fresh basil into the pot.
Let that all simmer for an additional 3 minutes, you want the fresh basil flavour to fully infuse into the meat. The sweet soy sauce would have also caramelized and become lovely and sticky by this point.
Voila! Plate and serve! Best with a bowl of piping hot rice.