Even though the recipe for this traditional Taiwanese dish seems obvious given its name, like all good dishes, there are as many variations as there are eaters. I like to stick to a traditional version and make mine with one cup each of soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil, but you can feel free to cut back on the oil. This dish can be cooked in a wok, but I prefer to use a clay pot for both cooking and serving the dish piping hot. (Mind the hot oil!) It’s often said that a restaurant is not authentically Taiwanese unless san bei ji is on the menu. And it’s so widespread on the island that it’s found at every night market I’ve visited. The abundance of sesame oil cooked in a clay pot adds warmth to any dinner table.
- Heat the oil in a large wok or clay pot until hot, then add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the chicken and continue to cook on medium heat or until the chicken is brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, and sugar and stir to combine. Reduce the heat and cook on low for an additional 15 minutes, or until about 80 percent of the liquid is reduced and a velvety sauce coats the chicken. Stir in the basil and remove the pot from heat.
- Serve with hot, steamed rice.
Recipe by Danielle Chang