Chinese chives, rich in fiber and valued as an internal cleansing aid, look more like wild onion weeds rather than the chives growing in your herb garden. I have never tried onion weeds, but I know that Chinese chives are very flavorsome. Raw leafs taste a little garlicky and quite sharp, however once cooked they are very mild with a pleasant sweet after-taste. They are used in Chinese cooking as a vegetable instead of a herb and are consumed in rather large quantities. They make delicious stir-fries as well as fillings for dumplings, buns and stuffed flatbread. The stem and flower of Chinese chive plant are also harvested for making pickles and stir-frying.
This chive and egg stir-fry has to be one of the quickest dishes to prepare, perfect for times when you don’t have time. Until the past twenty years, it wasn’t uncommon to have a visitor turning up at your doorstep at odd hours, without prior notice, wanting a good chat over a drink. Since most Chinese abhorred drinking on an empty stomach, the hostess was obliged to whip up something quick and fresh for the visitor. Chive and egg stir-fry was always the choice. I am sure it has facilitated many good conversations but you certainly don’t have to drink to be able to enjoy this delicious dish.
As with stir-frying all green leafy vegetables, use a large wok and high heat so you can cook quickly to preserve color and nutrition. Have everything ready before you start. It all happens in less than 2 minutes.
Preparation: 3 minutes; Cooking: 2 minutes
- 250 g Chinese chives, cut into 6 cm long sections
- 2 eggs, beaten then mix well with 2 tbsp cold water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce or ¼ tsp salt
- 1 star anise (substitute with a pinch of Chinese five spices or cinnamon)
Heat a wok on high heat, add 1 ½ tbsp oil. Scramble the egg for about 10 seconds and quickly remove from wok while it is still soft.
Add ½ tbsp oil, add star anise (or substitutes), then chives. Stir-fry until chives turn bright green and soft, about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce or salt and quickly stir a few times. Cover the wok, turn off the heat. Let set for 1 minute, stir occasionally. Serve on rice.