Friday, October 31, 2014

Three Cup Mushrooms (San Bei Gu)

Taiwanese cuisine has its own version of "the trinity." Sure - garlic, ginger, scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, sesame oil and are staples, but the "Three Cup" moniker usually entails equal amounts of soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil. I'm very familiar with and often cook "Three Cup Chicken" ( but was pleasantly surprised to discover this all mushroom/vegetarian version from Tsung-Yun Wan's awesome cookbook Home-Style Taiwanese Cooking. There's no rice wine in this recipe and dark sesame oil is called for instead of regular sesame oil. 

Btw, and honestly, no one really ever puts a whole cup of sesame oil in any of these "Three Cup" dishes cuz that would be way too much of a good thing. A couple tablespoons of sesame oil is more than enough to pack this and any other dish with a ton of flavah!

Here's my adaptation of Ms. Wan's recipe.


2 lbs. assorted fresh mushrooms (shiitakes, crimini, button, portabella, oyster, enoki, maitake, etc.), trimmed and sliced as needed

2 cups fresh basil leaves (Taiwanese or Thai basil preferred, but ok to sub with sweet basil)

3 slices of fresh ginger
10 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 fresh red chile, seeded and sliced


2 1/2 tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. thick soy sauce
2 tbsp. light soy sauce

1. Heat 2 tsp. of dark sesame oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the ginger and cook until the slices just start to brown. 

2. Add the garlic and chile slices and saute for 30 seconds. 

3. Bring up heat to high. Add the mushrooms and saute for 1 minute. Add the seasonings. Cook until the sauce has reduced slightly.

4. Add the basil leaves and toss briefly. Remove the ginger slices and plate the mushrooms on a serving platter. Serve with steamed white rice. 

 Basil, sliced red chiles, ginger and garlic.

Assorted shrooms. In this case, I used fresh shiitakes, portabellas, and button mushrooms. 

Saute the ginger slices in dark sesame oil.  

Add the garlic and sliced red chiles.  

Dark soy sauce, dark sesame oil, light soy and sugar. 

Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the seasoning ingredients and cook briefly until the sauce has reduced slightly. 

 Stir in the basil leaves. 

 Plate and serve with steamed white rice on the side. 

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