Here we have a great recipe for garlic chives (韭菜, jiǔcài), also known as Chinese chives or Chinese leeks. They grow into long, thin shoots with a delicious garlicky taste which pairs well with earthy vegetables or basically any meat. Here they are stir-fried with bean sprouts, but you could just as easily prepare them with slivers of pork, bacon, or beef.
Garlic chives can be grown and harvested in various ways. I used flowering chives, which some say have have a slightly mellower flavor. The flowers themselves are edible but some cooks will snap them off. Others leave the flowers on for a more colorful and rustic dish.
The garlic chives are plenty flavorful on their own, but some additional aromatics make them just that much better.
INGREDIENTS and PREP:
- 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 medium shallot, and 1/4″ ginger, all minced together
- 1/4 lb flowering chives (韭菜, jiǔcài)
- 4 oz bean sprouts
- 2 dried chiles, crumbled, with most of the seeds removed
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- Heat your wok on medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add 1 Tbsp peanut oil and swirl it around, then add the aromatics (#1) and stir-fry for about a minute. Add the garlic chives (#2) and stir-fry for another minute or two, until they just begin to soften.
- Add the bean sprouts (#3) and stir-fry just until heated through, about another minute. Then add the chiles (#4) and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Splash the spy sauce (#5) over the recipe and give it one final stir.
- Serve with rice and contrasting dishes.
Variations: Add 4 oz slivered lean pork, ground pork, sliced pork belly, or sliced Chinese bacon. Substitute julienned onions or peppers for the bean sprouts. Or for simplicity’s sake, omit the bean sprouts completely and just make this a dish of garlic chives.