Chinese Flowering Chives - oh how I love them. Beautiful to behold and simply delightful to cook and serve, the strong flavor makes for a mouthwatering addition to stir-fries, soups and seafood dishes. Tender, oval buds sit atop stiff, square-ish green stems that are about 8 - 10 inches long. The buds have a strong garlic flavor, while the stems are succulent, sweet and crisp.
These show up in our family dinners about once a week. Everytime I'm shopping in Chinatown, I inevitably come home with bunch of them. I sauté them with garlic, then scramble some eggs atop everything and this makes for a very quick, delicious and nutritious one-dish meal. Here's how:
Flowering Chives with Eggs (serves 4)
2 tablespoons corn oil
5 cloves of garlic - peeled and sliced
1 bunch flowering chives
Salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
4 eggs - lightly beaten and seasoned with salt
Toasted sesame oil
1.To prep the flowering chives, cut off and discard the bottom half inch. Then cut one 1.5 inch segment and set aside. Continue to cut 1.5 inch segments until you reach the top making sure not to mix these with the first 1.5 inch piece that you cut. Stick with me here, people. You'll see why I'm being such a stickler about the first segment and the blahblahblah. I promise you this is not just about me being a control freak - there is a valid reason for it.
2. Heat oil over medium high heat in a wok or frying pan. Add the garlic and salt to taste, about a 1/4 teaspoon.
3. Once the garlic is very lightly browned and aromatic, add the first 1.5 inch segment that you cut from the bottom of the stems. These may be slightly fibrous and will definitely require more cooking time that the rest of the stalk, which is why we cook these first. Add two tablespoons of water to generate some steam and to soften these tough pieces. Cook for about three minutes. (You may choose to skip this step entirely - throw out the bottom, woody segment and use only the tender parts of the stems. I cannot stand any sort of waste in the kitchen and so opt to use every part of the stem)
4. Once the water is almost all gone, add the rest of the cut up flowering chives. Stir to combine and cook until the bright green turns an even brighter green. Sounds impossible I know, but it will happen in about one minute.
5. Add the eggs and leave them to set a little - about two minutes. Using a spatula, break the set eggs into pieces that can be flipped. I usually break the contents of my frying pan into about five or six large pieces so it's easy to flip them individually. It's best to try and keep the eggs in large pieces rather than to stir and scramble which, in my opinion, leaves a rather unpleasant looking mess.
6. Once flipped, cook for another minute or just until the eggs are completely set. Add white pepper to taste and transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle lightly with toasted sesame oil. Serve immediately with hot rice.
7. Enjoy and plan to make this again next week. And the next :o)
Flowering Chives can be purchased at any Chinese or Asian supermarket.