Jan 01

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Garlic Chive Flowers Stir-fry

happy new year and blogiversary

Happy new year & Happy 1st Blogiversary!

I hope that 2015 will bring much joy, peace, and happiness to you. 2014 was a really fun but busy year as I learned to blog, formed another organization, and advocated for legislation. Today marks the first blogiversary of Nut Free Wok, it was a little idea to write our family’s favorite recipes for my sons, share them, and help others along the way. I’m grateful for you, your support, and encouraging comments and sharing your stories with me. Thank you for being a part of this community as we try to raise food allergy awareness and enjoy some Allergy Aware Asian Fare along the way. I’m excited about 2015, how about you?

New Year, New Resolutions

I went food shopping with my mom earlier this week and the freshest most beautiful vegetable I could find was flowering garlic chives. I know that as a wife, mom, and caretaker for my children, I have to keep myself happy and healthy with adequate sleep, exercise, and healthy foods with lots of fruits and vegetables. In that spirit, I decided to start the year by sharing a simple Asian vegetable recipe: Garlic Chive Flowers Stir-Fry. It had a little bit of bite and zesty spiciness to it because I lightly stir-fried it but an extra minute will soften it more and mellow out the zesty flavor. Tonight I plan to use the leftovers and cook it with scrambled eggs and char siu (see below for instructions).

Flowering Garlic Chives Stir-Fry


What are Garlic Chives?

Garlic chives or Chinese chives (Allium tuberosum) are flat leafed, like long blades of grass, and are also known as “gau choy” in Chinese or “nira” in Japanese. In Chinese cooking, garlic chives are usually used in stir fries by itself, with scrambled eggs, or with small amounts of meat. One of my sons loves onion, garlic, and chives and of course he loves all kinds of chive dumplings. Garlic chive flowers, “gau choy fa,” are used in the same ways and are considered a delicacy.

You can buy garlic chives or flowering garlic chives at an Asian market or a farmer’s market where available. To select for freshness, the bunch should feel firm (not wilted), heavy, have a consistent green color (not yellow), and I prefer that the flower buds are closed. If you don’t have access to an Asian market, you can grow your own by ordering garlic chive (called “nira” in Japanese) seeds. Kitazawa Seed Company in San Jose has seeds for almost any Asian vegetable you might want to grow. My parents grew Chinese chives in their yard and kept harvesting from the same plants for years by using a knife to cut the plant at the base right at the soil line, and the chives would regrow in a few weeks.

Fresh Flowering Garlic Chives

Fresh Flowering Garlic Chives


Garlic Chive Flowers Stir-fry
  • 1 bunch of flowering garlic chives
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • season to taste with a little salt OR 1-2 tsp of soy sauce (or similar), OR 1 tsp of sesame oil
  1. Trim ½ inch off the bottom of the stems and any tough ends, discard any yellowed stems or flowers, and wash with water.
  2. Chop the chives into 1 to 1.5 inch lengths and set aside.
  3. Heat up wok or frying pan until hot (3-5 minutes), add oil and swirl plan (30 seconds).
  4. Add chives and stir fry until the stems are bright green (1-2 minutes).
  5. Add seasoning to taste, cook another minute (or two if you prefer a milder flavor).

Additional Garlic Chive Flower Stir Fry ideas

When I need a little simple comfort food, I make garlic Chives with scrambled eggs like mom did: prepare 2 eggs for scrambled eggs and season with a dash of soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir fry chives as above and add scrambled eggs at step 5. Add 1 cup of cooked and chopped meat as desired (grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, roast pork, etc.).

You can also stir fry garlic chives with meat. Prep about 6-8 oz of sliced and marinated meat of choice, stir fry until it’s no longer pink/raw on the outside, add the garlic chives and continue stir frying for another 3 minutes until the chives are bright green and soften.

Are there other Asian vegetables or fruit you want to try or learn about? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. miranda @lemonsandlaughs

    I am so excited to try this! If I use the sesame seed oil it will be whole30 compliant! I can already smell it mentally cooking.

  2. pam (Sidewalk Shoes)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I planted garlic chives in my herb bed several years ago, not realizing that they go crazy. They practically took over my bed, completely shoving out the regular chives. Now, I have a great recipe to use them in!

    1. Sharon Wong

      Whooo-hoo! Pam, that’s so awesome that your garlic chives are thriving. I’ll post a follow up recipe for you. We didn’t finish the garlic chive stir fry and so I added it to scrambled eggs and that was amazing!

  3. Sharon @ What The Fork Food Blog

    What a great and different side dish! Love quick stir fry sides 🙂

    1. Sharon Wong

      Me too, I love any easy veggie dishes that taste great! Enjoy!

  4. Lauren | Wicked Spatula

    I’ve never heard of Garlic Chive Flowers! I’ll definitely be on the look out for some! This sounds great.

    1. Sharon Wong

      Enjoy, I hope you love it.

  5. Valerie

    This looks so good it makes me want to run to our local Farmer’s Market! Pinned and Shared, yum! I;ve never heard of Garlic Chive Flowers 🙂

    1. Sharon Wong

      Yay, Valerie! Let me know how you like it when you find it.

  6. Michelle @ The Complete Savorist

    These look like garlic scapes, just less curvy. But I bet they taste amazing.

    1. Sharon Wong

      Michelle, garlic scapes are so interesting, I’ve never heard of them until you mentioned them, thank you. I imagine they taste similar, garlic chive flowers are the stem and flowers from a type of chive plant and it is garlicky and spicy tasting.

  7. Caroline

    Oh Serious Yum!!!!!! Yup, I’m going to need to move next to you. Opening a restaurant any time soon?

    1. Sharon Wong

      Oh, Caroline, we would have so much fun as neighbors! If I do open a restaurant called the Nut Free Wok, you’ll be the first to know! xoxo

  8. Linda

    This is one of my favorite dish with a drizzle of oyster sauce and sesame oil and I will definitely try it with garlic!

    1. Sharon Wong

      Oh yes, Linda! I love oyster sauce and sesame oil too.

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