Stir-Fried Garlic Scapes

For your next springtime meal, try this garlic scapes stir-fry.

In the next weeks, garlic scapes might show up at your neighborhood farmer’s market or Asian supermarket. Long, twisted green stalks end in tiny buds. Incorporating garlic scapes into your diet has never been simpler or more tasty than with this recipe.

Scapes of Garlic Are What?

Scapes from garlic plants, also known as scapes, are mild and slightly sweet in flavor. The hard neck garlic bulb’s flowering top and stems. Only hardneck garlic kinds, I learned at the farm stand, produce scapes.

We commonly encounter soft neck garlic in grocery stores because it produces larger bulbs and more cloves per bulb but no scapes.

Garlic scapes, however, should be harvested before they blossom and become thick and rough. Try to find garlic scapes that can be snapped off easily.

They are a staple in Chinese stir-fries and are trimmed at the end of spring/beginning of summer to encourage bulb growth.

We used to get them all the time from the local market in Beijing, and they were always a big hit. During the latter half of spring and the beginning of summer, they start showing up at farmer’s markets and Chinese grocery stores.

Consume them exclusively during their season of availability, and stock up when you see them!

Methods for Preparing Garlic Scapes:

Let’s get started by washing the garlic scapes. Even if they don’t appear dirty, you should still wash them.

Your next step is to cut them down to size. You’ll want to trim off the bottom of the scape because it’s often woody and fibrous. The stem can be broken by gently bending it until it breaks at its natural point, which can be found by running your fingertips down its base. For fragile, freshly harvested scapes, this method works just well.

The base can be chopped with a knife until it is sensitive, or you can use your fingers. Any sloppy cutting won’t matter much because cooking softens garlic scapes anyway.

While preparing meals, I like to cut off the scape’s top and divide it in half. They can be discarded if they are too huge or rough, but even the larger ones have a unique flavor and provide a nice textural contrast.


Pork & Marinade:
  • 8 ounces of 2-inch strips pork shoulder
  • 2 teaspoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil
Rest of the dish:
  • 10 ounces of garlic scapes (cut into 2-inch)
  • 5 dried chili peppers
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • 1/3 cup of chicken stock or water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of Shaoxing wine
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (with 1 tbsp of water)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely julienned ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground white pepper


  1. Combine the pork, cornstarch, water, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, and vegetable oil in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes after thoroughly mixing.
  2. Heat the wok over high heat until it begins to smoke. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil around the outside of the wok Spread the pork in a single layer on the wok and sear for 1 minute on each side. Set the pork aside after removing it from the wok.
  3. 1/2 tablespoon of oil should be added to the pan. Combine the dried chiles, ginger, carrots, and garlic scapes in a mixing bowl. Stir-fry for 1 minute over medium-high heat to sear the scapes. Pour in the Shaoxing wine. Stir-fry for a further 20 seconds.
  4. Heat to high, then add the water or chicken stock. Place everything in the wok’s center, cover, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the cover and swirl the vegetables around the hot wok’s perimeter to generate wok hei.
  5. Then stir in the cooked pork and juices, as well as the ground white pepper, sugar, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Stir-fry for another 20 seconds over high heat. Taste it and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  6. Stir-fry for another 15 seconds after adding the cornstarch slurry, making sure to pour it straight into the standing liquid. Place on a serving dish. Steamed rice is included.
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