Three Teacup Chicken

Happy Chinese New Year! Please welcome Garrett McCord as he shares a favorite Chinese chicken dish with us, Three Teacup Chicken. ~Elise

2011 is the Year of the Rabbit (兔) which is a welcome thing after the previous wild and somewhat ferocious Year of the Tiger (虎). The rabbit is probably the most delicate animal of the Chinese zodiac and those born under rabbit years (1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011) are reserved, good natured, compassionate, and artistic, though perhaps a bit absentminded and superficial. The Rabbit, being a such a good friend, also likes to prepare food for people. This is especially true come Chinese New Year.

This recipe is a simple braised chicken dish called Three Teacup Chicken. The name comes from the basic preparation in which a teacup is traditionally used to measure the three key ingredients of the braising liquid: sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. This braising liquid and a hearty amount of garlic, ginger, and scallion creates a dish that is sweet, salty, sour, and savory (combining many tastes in one dish is key to successful Chinese cooking). If you want, you can add Sichuan peppercorns and star anise to develop more depth of flavor and a pleasant, tingly heat.

Regardless if you are a rabbit, tiger, snake or whatever this three teacup chicken is an authentic and tasteful way to celebrate the New Year.

  • Prep: 5 minutes
  • Cook: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 8 1/4-inch-thick slices of peeled ginger
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns or 1 diced red chili pepper(optional)
  • 2 lbs. chicken breast or thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 star anise or pinch of anise seed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

1 Make the braising liquid: In a bowl combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and Shaoxing wine together and mix well. Set aside.

2 Heat a wok or large saute pan on high heat until a drop of water will evaporate within 1-2 seconds. Place the oil in the wok and swirl. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and Sichuan peppercorns/chili pepper if using and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

3 Add the chicken and stir-fry until no pink on the surface remains (you just want to sear the outside nicely).

4 Add the braising liquid and star anise or anise seed if using and cook for 1 minute ensuring that the chicken is well coated in the braising liquid. Add the water and cover and cook for 4 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and no pink remains. Serve immediately over rice with hearty amounts of the broth. Garnish with a little extra chopped scallion.

Main Ingredients

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