Prawns in Three-Cup Sauce 三杯虾

We often hear of 三杯鸡 or chicken in three-cup sauce, so how about three-cup prawns for a change now ? In fact, “three-cup” itself is a kind of sauce used namely in chinese cuisine to reduce the raw fishy taste in most seafood and poultry. Hence, they can be used on literally anything. And the term “three-cup” traditionally refer to one cup of sesame oil, rice wine and dark soy sauce each.

While I see many places serving this cuisine in claypot, it is not really necessary to do that. I cook it in a wok and beefed it up on a plate and the taste doesn’t pale in comparison in anyway. But for health reasons, the amount of seasonings has been reduced and the traditional 3 cups of each is not applied. Otherwise, it might be too salty for some. 

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Somehow I think this dish goes on so much better on plain congee than rice. And probably also coz I’ve been having much of leftover rice and the best way to cook them, other than fried rice, is probably to make them into congee. Not the typical Teochew porridge that you would see, I prefer my congee to be very very sticky and soft, therefore most of the times, I can only get this kind of texture back at home when I cook it myself.

Well, the mama always said this kind of congee are what’s meant for babies… Opps… but well, I just like it this way. ;)

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Judging from the amount of sesame oil used, you should be able to tell how the aroma of this dish will lingered in the air, especially whilst you are cooking it !! Coupled with garlic, ginger and shallots, the sauce itself is good enough for almost anything ! But probably it’s cooked till so dry too, that kinda explains why it goes on better with congee. 

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Prawns in Three-Cup Sauce

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1


  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 5 ginger slices
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 10 g shallots
  • 150 g prawns de-shelled
  • 1 pc chilli/chilli padi sections
  • Seasonings
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp sugar


For the Three-Cup Sauce

  • Heat 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil in a wok and fry ginger, garlic, shallots until fragrant.
  • Add seasonings and bring to a boil. Set aside.

For the Prawns

  • Heat some cooking oil and fry chilli padi and prawns over low heat. Add the three-cup sauce and stir well. Turn to high heat and cook until the sauce is fairly dry.
  • Top with chinese parsley before serve.


Optional : As prawns cook easily and to prevent them from turning hard before the sauce dried up, 1/2 tsp of corn flour can be added whilst stirring to speed up the sauce drying time.
Optional : Feel free to top with others like basil leaves before serve. (I prefer chinese parsley, therefore I used that instead.)
Adapted from 煮炒酱料大公开 with modifications

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