How to Make: Beer Braised "San Bei Ji" Aka: 3-Cup Chicken – iGulu How to Make: Beer Braised "San Bei Ji" Aka: 3-Cup Chicken Skip to content
How to Make: Beer Braised "San Bei Ji" Aka: 3-Cup Chicken

How to Make: Beer Braised "San Bei Ji" Aka: 3-Cup Chicken

Beyond its refreshing qualities and social appeal, beer holds a surprisingly diverse range of applications beyond simply being a beverage. From the kitchen to the garden, beer's versatility extends far beyond the confines of a pint glass.

Try out this awesome beer-braised "San Bei Ji" (Sahn-Bay-G) or 3-Cup Chicken recipe shared by our marketing manager, Sean!

The Chinese dish 'san bei ji' (三杯鸡), which translates to 'three cup chicken,' owes its name to the traditional method of preparation. It involves using three cups of liquid: one cup of Shaoxing wine, one cup of soy sauce, and one cup of chicken broth. These three key ingredients, combined with ginger, garlic, and sugar, create the rich, savory, and slightly sweet flavor profile that characterizes this iconic dish. The name 'san bei ji' thus directly reflects the crucial ingredients that define its unique taste.

The recipe below is a rendition created by Sean's grandmother, to give the chicken a more malty flavor profile than the traditional "kick" from a rice wine.

Beer-Braised Three Cup Chicken


  • 1 lb (450g) bone-in chicken (such as chicken thighs or drumsticks), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 to 1½ cup beer (lager or ale)
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sesame oil
  • 2-3 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2-3 dried red chili peppers (adjust to your preferred spice level)
  • A handful of basil leaves (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Scallions (optional, for extra flavor)


  1. Heat half of the sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic, sliced ginger, and dried red chili peppers. Stir-fry for about 20 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and sear them on all sides until golden brown.
  4. Pour in the water, beer, soy sauce, and remaining sesame oil. Mix well.
  5. Cover the wok or pan and let the chicken simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The beer will help tenderize the chicken, making it fall-off-the-bone tender.
  6. Check the chicken occasionally and add more beer or water if needed to keep it moist. During boiling, there may be some foam impurities (coagulated proteins) that should be spooned out.
  7. If using basil, add it to the wok during the last few minutes of cooking. The basil will infuse the dish with a delightful aroma.
  8. Serve your Beer-Braised Three Cup Chicken hot over steamed rice, garnished with scallions if desired.

Enjoy this comforting and aromatic dish with a twist! Feel free to adjust the spice level by adding more or fewer chili peppers. 🍗🍺

Note: Sugar and soy sauce level are based on personal preferences. Some soy sauces have higher sugar content than others, and certain soy sauces are saltier rather than sweet. 

Using different types of beers (darker vs lighter) could result in interesting flavors of chicken as well. Pair with your favorite iGulu brew and share with your friends!
Let us know in the comments below how your San Bei Ji turned out!

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