Chives, also known as chinese leek flowers, are the smallest member of the onion genus. It is a bulbous plant with long hollow stems (8 to 15 inches) like long blades of grass. Unlike the onion, both the bulb and leaves are edible.

It is a plant native to Asia but is cultivated in all parts of the world as it has become increasingly popular in many culinary dishes.

Also known as

  • Japanese Hananira
  • Chinese Garlic Chives
  • Jiu Cai (Mandarin)
  • Gau Choy or Gau Choy Fa (Cantonese)
  • Flowering Chives
  • Garlic Chives
  • Garlic Chive Flower
  • Flowering Garlic Chives
  • Chinese Leek Flower
  • Buchu (Korean)

Flavour Profile

Chinese chives feature two distinct flavours in one elegant stalk. The buds feature a pungent garlic flavour while the stems have a juicy and crisp texture with a delicate sweet garlic flavour which sweetens even more when cooked.

Nutritional Benefits

  • High level of Antioxidants – Anti-cancer properties, detox properties
  • Rich in Potassium – helps in regulating high blood pressure
  • Reduces levels of bad cholesterol
  • Good source of vitamin C – great for boosting immune system
  • Good source of vitamin K  – maintaining bone mineral density and integrity
  • Aids in digestive issues – ease digestive discomfort, antibacterial qualities
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Good source of folic acid – prevents birth defects

Other Benefits

  • Anti-microbial and antifungal properties
  • Anti-fatigue properties
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Improve vision health – delays appearance of cataract, prevent macular degeneration

Choosing and Using your Chinese Chives

Generally sold in supermarkets and wet markets, look out for firm bunches that appear fresh with flexible deep green leaves with no sign of wetness or rot. Avoid stalks that have yellow or brown spots and show signs of wilting. Some may prefer flower buds that are closed.

Fibrous sections of the chives should be trimmed off and discarded before cutting into 1 to 2 inch segments for stir-fries.

Store chinese chives wrapped in paper towels in the crisper section of the fridge for up to 5 days.

Consuming Chinese Chives

Chinese chives are commonly used in stir-fries to complement egg dishes, meat or fish dishes. They can also be the main feature of a dish. Chinese chives are sometimes eaten raw in salads and noodle dishes. In certain parts of China, chinese chives are incorporated into dumplings and savoury cakes as snacks and appetisers.

If you live in Singapore, you’re in luck! We farm these chinese chives right here on our little organic farm. And you can get your organic chinese chives delivered to your doorstep today! Click here to find out more: I want fresh organic veggies delivered to my doorstep! 

Sources: SeriousEats, Thaifoodandtravel, OrganicFacts, EOL   |  Image credit: auriasmalaysiankitchen


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