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May 10, 2004 08:30 PM

flowering chives

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I got a bunch of flowering chives in Chinatown today because I love having them at NY Noodletown and I would want to use them in some dish at home.
I have some chicken already grilled (lemon, salt, pepper) so I would like to complement that.
Can anyone give any pointers on how to cook them? And should I go for chinese flavor with some soy sauce or are there other flavorings I can add?

Thank you ^-^

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  1. Are they the same as the chives that I have in my garden which are flowering? Or are they an asian item which is different? I usually only use regular chives when they are not flowering, so I would love to know how to cook flowering chives because I've got tons of them right now.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Fred B

      They are probably not the same - the violet flowered chives with round "leaves" in bloom at this time of year in the NE are allium schoenoprasum, and have a milder flavor than the chinese "garlic" chives (allium tuberosum) with the flat leaf and white flowers (late summer/fall in NY) used in chinese cooking. Probably you could cook the chives you have in the same manner as long as the flowers are fresh and not dried out but the taste wont be exactly the same since the chinese chives are more pungent.

      1. re: jen kalb

        So what kind of cooking method would that be? I have garlic chives also, although as you point out they flower later. I have never seen recipes that use the flowers. Is it a quick stir fry type of preparation like pea shoots?

        1. re: Fred B

          Just search for nira recipes online. There are also recipes for "nira flowers" if they are in fact flowering.

          the nomenclature can get tricky, because there are also flowering garlic, and garlic shoots (look like thin long green asparagus and can be easily stir fried) and the nira grass which are sometimes also called chinese chives, and chinese leeks.

          In Mandarin - one is JiuHaung, one is Suanmiao.

          If anyone is interested, I just found online that there's a restaurant in Falls church called peking gourmet that serves both stirfried garlic shoots (get the pork if you're going to go) as well as chinese leeks/garlicchives/nira in dumplings. So anyone in the DC area, go give it a try.

      2. re: Fred B

        mine are the chinese ones I had at a chinese restaurant in NYC. I think i'm going to stir-fry them really fast with some soy sauce/sesame oil/chicken for a fast supper.

      3. Flowering chives are best with vegies or ground meat and not chunks of meat as it should be the main flavor of a dish.
        Chinese often cook them with stewed and firm bean curd cut to stick size and bean sprouts. Strewed ground pork (cooked separately with anasi, bay leaf, etc.) will add flavor.
        The MOST IMPORTANT thing is not to overcook the chive flowers (or any chives). A little mor ethan one minute cooking time for the chive flowers would be enough.