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Three Tea-Cup Chicken

Servings: 4

This updated take on a classic Jiangxi recipe has come a long way from its folk origins, which called for a teacup each of rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Here the proportions are adjusted to give the sauce just the right amount of sweet and heat. Serve with steamed rice.


  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 to 3 lightly packed Tbs. light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 oz. baby bok choy, halved
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 4 small boneless chicken breasts with skin (about 1-1/4 lb.)
  • 1 Tbs. peanut or vegetable oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/4 cup sliced peeled ginger, smashed

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 320
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 100
  • Fat (g): 12
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 85
  • Sodium (mg): 1340
  • Carbohydrates (g): 16
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Sugar (g): 8
  • Protein (g): 33


  • In a medium bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and pepper flakes. Set aside. Trim 1/4 inch from the base of each head of bok choy. Separate the bok choy base into individual stalks. Place the bok choy in a salad spinner. Fill the spinner with cold water, and swish to remove any grit or dirt. Do this several times, and finally whirl them dry in a salad spinner.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine 1 Tbs. of the cornstarch and the salt. Dust both sides of the chicken with the cornstarch mixture.
  • Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok (preferably seasoned carbon steel) or a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Add the oil, swirl to coat the pan, add the chicken skin side down, distributing it evenly in the wok. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, undisturbed, until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Using a metal spatula, turn the chicken over, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook until the chicken is golden-brown but not cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the heat to high, stir the broth mixture, and swirl it into the wok. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and simmer until just cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
  • Transfer the chicken to a platter. Increase the heat to high, add the bok choy to the wok, cover, and cook 1 minute. Uncover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Arrange the bok choy around the chicken. Combine the remaining 1 tsp. cornstarch and 2 tsp. cold water. return the pan to high heat, and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, until just thickened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the chicken and bok choy, and serve.


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Reviews (6 reviews)

  • bakergal53 | 07/24/2020

    I found this to be way too salty! I also would have been happier if more of the chicken picked up the sauce flavor (a less salty sauce).
    I won’t be making this one again - at least not as written.

  • VTFarmWife | 03/22/2020

    Just made this tonight, and it was a hit with my family. The sauce was so good that I wished there was more. I like that you cook the vegetables in the sauce, so there's no need for a side dish. My only tweek was to add carrots to the bok choy . I wanted more veggies and this worked out. The extra color looked great from the carrots.

  • Mike1963 | 02/01/2020

    I did this with bone in, skin on chicken thighs. I would garlic and ginger a bit later since it can burn easily. I used port wine instead of sherry. It was an easy dish and my family loved it. I am not a very experienced cook, and found it pretty easy to make.

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