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The Power of Ginger and Basil

October 09, 2002|SANDRA WU | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Although Three Cup Chicken is named for its three liquid ingredients--sesame oil, rice wine and soy sauce--its enticing aroma is what attracts your attention.

Scents of ginger and basil waft from this version of the traditional Taiwanese dish.

Such a fragrant meal seems like it would take awhile to prepare, but this comes together quickly. Buy chicken parts rather than a whole chicken, if you prefer. Serve the chicken over steamed jasmine rice.

Sauteed pea sprouts are a nice side dish; saute them briefly in a little sesame oil and minced garlic. The sprouts are sold at Asian markets.

Fresh fruit is a cooling finish.

Shaoxing wine, Chinese rice wine, is found at Asian stores.

Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)

Active Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)

Active Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut up

1/2 cup sesame oil

1 (3-inch) piece ginger root, peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

10 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

1/2 cup shaoxing wine or other rice wine

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves

Cut the chicken parts into 2-inch pieces using a cleaver. Set aside.

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until aromatic, 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and add the chicken. Cook, moving the pieces around, until the flesh no longer looks pink, 3 minutes.

Add the shaoxing wine, soy sauce and sugar, stirring to mix well. Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half and the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the basil just before serving.

4 servings. Each serving: 863 calories; 2,201 mg sodium; 200 mg cholesterol; 58 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 66 grams protein; 0.78 grams fiber.

MENU

Three Cup Chicken

Jasmine Rice

Sauteed Pea Sprouts

Fresh Fruit

SHOPPING LIST

Basil

Chicken

Fresh fruit

Ginger root

Sesame oil

Pea sprouts

Shaoxing wine

STAPLES

Garlic

Jasmine rice

Soy sauce

Sugar

GAME PLAN

30 minutes before: Slice ginger, mince garlic, cut up chicken.

25 minutes before: Cook ginger and garlic, begin cooking chicken.

20 minutes before: Start rice.

5 minutes before: Cook pea sprouts.

Just before serving: Stir basil into chicken.

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