Taiwanese Three Cup Mushrooms

Tender mushrooms and pearl onions cooked in classic Taiwanese “Three Cup” sauce. An easy, authentic vegan Taiwanese recipe you will want to include in your weeknight dinner rotation.

I first created this recipe around 2 months ago and since then, I’ve been cooking it over and over, slowly tweaking the recipe each time. First I only used mushrooms (which is just great by itself) but I found that these pearl onions add an amazing caramelized sweetness.

“Three Cup” (三杯) refers to the traditional Taiwanese recipe, which includes equal parts soy saucerice wine, and sesame oil. In this recipe, I will honor that tradition. The Three Cup sauce is sticky, salty and slightly sweet with a deep caramelized flavor. Taiwanese people use the sauce in a variety of stir-fry dishes, and they mostly involve poultry or seafood. In addition to the condiments, “Three Cup” sauce would not be complete without basil. Basil gives the sauce an amazing peppery flavor and a mint-y undertone.

Taiwanese Three Cup Mushrooms

5 from 3 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: DinnerCuisine: TaiwaneseDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Tender mushrooms and pearl onions cooked in classic Taiwanese “Three Cup” sauce. Ready within 30 minutes — my go-to weeknight home-cooked meal!


  • 230 grams white mushrooms (standard 8 oz. box)

  • 120 grams pearl onions

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons rice wine

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves


  • Prepare the Mushrooms. Wash the white mushrooms throughly. Cut off the mushroom stems (you can leave them on if you wish — I cut them off to produce an even surface). Set aside.
  • Prepare the Pearl Onions. Soak the pearl onions in hot water for 5-8 minutes first (this helps loosen the skins, making it much easier to peel). Cut a little off both ends of the pearl onions and peel each one like you normally would. I especially like using the parring knife as an assisting tool for this.
  • Make the Three Cup Sauce. In a small-medium sized pan, heat up the sesame oil on medium heat. Fry together the brown sugar, ginger, and garlic together until aromatic and caramelized. Add in the soy sauce and rice wine to deglaze. The sugar may harden and clump up but just keep stirring until they dissolve again.
  • Cook the Mushrooms and Onions. Add the mushrooms and pearl onions into the three cup sauce (no need to wait), spreading them out to a single layer. Bring the sauce up to a boil first, then lower the heat slightly and simmer covered for around 15 minutes.
  • Finish the sauce. Once the mushrooms and onions are both tender, remove the lid and turn the heat up. Reduce the sauce by half, then take the pan off the heat and sprinkle on the basil leaves. Use the residual heat to wilt the basil leaves, stirring to infuse all the flavors together. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve over a bed of freshly steamed rice.


  • If you don’t have pearl onions, feel free to replace them with more mushrooms or substitute them with sliced yellow onions.

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A Tofu Version:

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9 months ago

Sounds Great! I can’t wait to try it!

Rebekah Beauchemin
Rebekah Beauchemin
8 months ago

Hi there, love this beautiful recipe. Just wanted to note that I don’t see what to do with eithet the basil or the sugar. I put the sugar in the sauce and used a bit of the basil in the dish as it cooked and the rest as a garnish. Thanks so much

8 months ago

I have absolutely no idea how to cook, but I’ve become motivated to learn after browsing your blog. Everything looks and sounds delicious!