When your garden flourishes with an abundance of chives, a world of culinary possibilities unfolds before you. While Chinese chive & egg stir-fry and pork chive dumplings may be your go-to dishes, there’s a hidden treasure that awaits your taste buds. Allow me to introduce you to the captivating realm of Chinese garlic chive delicacies, a culinary masterpiece that remains elusive within the confines of your local Chinese eatery.
Understanding Chinese Garlic Chive Delicacies
Commonly known by various names such as Chive Pockets, Chive Cakes, and Chive Pie, these delights have their roots in Northern China. The native moniker is 韭菜盒子 (jiucai hezi), aptly meaning “Chive Boxes.”
It’s fascinating to discover that numerous families in Northern China vouch for their version of this dish being the best. For someone like me, hailing from Shanghai, and Bill, with a Cantonese background, these chive boxes were an exciting discovery. The recipe is versatile: some folks infuse ground pork or shrimp, others toss in some glass noodles, while a good number spice it up with five-spice or Sichuan peppercorn powder. Oyster sauce has made an appearance in some variants, too.
It’s important to emphasize the uniqueness of the chives used. They aren’t the typical kind you snag from supermarkets. These are Chinese garlic chives, recognized by their thicker texture and robust garlic punch. While the recipe provided here is elemental, don’t hesitate to jazz it up. A word of caution: if adding ground meats or shrimp, adjust your cooking duration accordingly.
The Genius of Using Spring Roll Wrappers
In a stroke of inspiration, I stumbled upon a game-changer: using spring roll wrappers instead of the usual dough. The advantage? A crunchy exterior without the fuss of deep-frying!
A Peek into Dried Shrimp
For those unfamiliar, dried mini shrimps, or 虾皮 (xia pi), are like the bonito flakes of Chinese gastronomy. Small yet bursting with taste, these dried wonders are savory additives. They harmonize perfectly with recipes like Steamed Egg, Zucchini Pancakes, or a soul-soothing Easy Fish Tofu Soup.
- 5 eggs
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon salt (split)
- 3 teaspoons sesame oil (split)
- 8 tablespoons vegetable oil (split)
- ⅓ to ½ cup dried mini shrimp
- 1 pound Chinese garlic chives
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 pack frozen spring roll wrappers
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (melded in 1 tablespoon water)
- In a spacious bowl, mix eggs, Shaoxing wine, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Set this mix aside.
- Crank your wok to high heat. Upon smoking, introduce 3 tablespoons vegetable oil. Swiftly toss in the eggs, stirring for about 15-20 seconds. As the eggs set, power down and let residual heat work its magic, breaking larger egg chunks as needed. Relocate eggs from wok to cool.
- Engage 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in your wok over medium flames. Add dried shrimp, cooking until they adopt a golden hue. Cool them off.
- Thoroughly rinse the garlic chives, dabbing them dry subsequently. Slice them finely. In a grand bowl, combine chives, shrimp, eggs, ½ teaspoon salt (adjust if using more shrimp due to their salty nature), sugar, white pepper, and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Give it a good mix, and tweak seasoning if needed.
- To craft the delicacies, employ 2 spring roll wrappers. Deposit a generous ¼ cup of the mix in the center and fold neatly. Use cornstarch slurry to seal them, presenting them seam side down on a plate. Continue until your batch is ready.
- For the finale, preheat a frying pan on medium, brushing it with oil generously. Cook your creations for about 2-3 minutes per side under a lid. Then unveil and grant each side an extra crispy minute. Do remember: if you’ve incorporated ground meats or shrimp, adjust your cooking time.
- Plate up and enjoy these warm treasures!
A Little More on Chives
Chives, especially the garlic variant, are not just a treat for your taste buds but also a powerhouse of nutrients. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they contribute to a balanced diet. Plus, garlic chives have been part of traditional medicine, believed to help with digestion and boost immunity. As you dive into this dish, remember, it’s not just about indulging in a delightful flavor but also nourishing your body with wholesome goodness. So, the next time you spot those lush green stalks in your garden or market, you know they’re packed with benefits beyond taste.