Three Cup Not-Chicken (素台式三杯雞)

Yields: 2 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 5 Mins Cook Time: 15 Mins Total Time: 20 Mins

Three Cup Chicken is one of my favourite veganizable recipes from Taiwan! And lucky for us, the vegan version is much easier and quicker to make than the meat protein version. You don’t need to stew tofu for a hundred years to get the sesame flavour to take, so this dish takes only 15-20 minutes max.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, vegetarians and vegans generally have cool or yin (阴) bodies. This is because a high percentage of our food is considered to have cooling properties. So if you find yourself pale and getting tired or cold easily, you could be “too cool”. To counter this, we can eat more food with heating properties, such as sesame oil, ginger, and chilli. And Three Cup Chicken has all three!

The “three cups” in this recipe are originally one cup of rice wine, one cup of sesame oil, and one cup of soy sauce. I have adjusted these proportions because sesame oil is expensive and kind of yuck when you use too much.

If you have access to good quality Taiwanese rice wine, such as Kinmen Kaoliang 金門高粱酒, you can drink while you cook. Otherwise, any bai jiu-style rice wine or Chinese cooking wine will do, really.

PS: Taiwan is not China, mmkay.

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0/11 Ingredients
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0/9 Instructions
  • Cube the tofu, randomly or uniformed, up to you. Heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat on a non-stick pan and brown the tofu on two sides. This is just to keep it in a nice shape when you cook it later, so there is no need to brown all sides. Set aside for later.
  • Add 1 tbsp of sesame oil to the pan and add the ginger to fry. Meanwhile, halve the straw mushrooms, slice the garlic and chilli, and remove the stems from the basil.
  • Fry the ginger until both sides are browned and kind of dried-up looking.
  • Add the garlic and chilli and fry until the raw smell is gone.
  • Add the mushroom and cook for about 3 minutes until the mushrooms get a bit of colour.
  • In the meantime, prepare the sauce in small bowl: 2 tbsp of rice wine, 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of sesame oil, 0.5 tbsp of sweet soy sauce.
  • Add the tofu back into the pan, then pour the sauce in. Mix well and cook down until it's almost dry.
  • Add the basil leaves and turn off the heat after 5 seconds. Mix well until the residual heat of the tofu and mushrooms wilt the basil. Your basil should still be bright green at the end of the dish and not darkened.
  • Serve with plain rice, or sometimes I make a bit more sauce and serve it tossed with noodles!


The ratio for my recipe is rice wine 2 : soy sauce 1.5 : sesame oil 1.5 : sweet soy 0.5

You can expand to make as much sauce as you like as long as you keep to this ratio.


#basil  #chilli  #mushrooms  #tofu  

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