Three Cup Chicken with Garlic Spinach

TOTAL TIME: 50 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 40 min
YIELD: 2 to 4 servings


  • 1 3/4 cups jasmine rice
      • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
      • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
      • One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin coins
      • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
      • 1/4 cup light soy
      • 1/4 cup Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
      • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil (see Cook's Note)
      • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
      • 1 small handful Thai basil leaves, or Italian basil, plus extra for garnish
        • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
        • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
        • Two 6-ounce bags baby spinach leaves
        • Pinch sea salt
          • 1 medium red Fresno chile, seeded and sliced into rings, for garnish
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            Cook's Note: It's important to use toasted sesame oil, which reduces as it cooks, and not pure sesame oil, which will continue to cook and not reduce or thicken. The final dish should be slightly sticky.

            For the rice: Rinse the jasmine rice until the water runs clear, to remove excess starch. Place the rinsed rice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover tightly with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, keep covered and set aside until ready to serve.

            For the chicken: Meanwhile, heat a wok over high heat and add the peanut oil. When it begins to smoke, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry quickly for a few seconds. Then add the chicken and let it settle in the pan for 30 seconds before stir-frying for 2 to 3 minutes until it browns.

            Add the soy sauce, rice wine and toasted sesame oil; reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6 minutes. Stir well and add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is reduced to a thick, sticky consistency and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the basil leaves and allow them to wilt slightly.

            For the spinach: In a separate pan or another wok, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the spinach leaves and toss with tongs, or chopsticks until wilted (adding a splash of water to facilitate cooking if desired), 2 to 3 minutes.

            When ready to serve, uncover the pan of steamed rice. Using a fork, fluff up the rice and divide among 4 plates. Serve with a generous portion of the chicken, garnish with chile rings and more basil leaves, if desired. Serve the spinach on the side.

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