Yen Can Cook: Chinese Chives with Dried Tofu (Vegetarian)

Chinese chives or Jiu Cai 韭菜 in Mandarin, resemble the more recognizable chives used as herbs but the former are substantial and leafy. Garlicky in flavor and crisp in texture, Jiu Cai are commonly stir fried or added to dumplings. There are Chinese yellow chives too where the chives are grown under cover without exposure to direct sunlight (hence the yellow pigment).

While the flowering chives that I’m using in this recipe is another species which has a hollow, light green stems and yellow buds, these stalks are light and crisp, though with considerably less garlicky flavor than either the green or yellow varieties. The entire stems are edible, not just the buds. The buds  have a pungent garlic flavor, while the stems are delectably sweet and crisp. If the stems are unusually long (more than 8 inches), the bottom inch or two can be a bit fibrous and should be trimmed off and discarded.


Ingredients (Serve: 2-3)

300g Chinese Flowering Chives

2pcs dried tofu, thinly slice into about 2mm thick

2 tablespoons soy sauce

White pepper

Cooking oil


Step 1: Cut the Chinese Flowering Chives into 1-2″ long pieces, discarding the last few inches which are too fibrous to eat.


Step 2: Heat some oil in a pan then pan fry the tofu pieces until they are golden brown on both sides.

Step 3: Turn the heat up to high and add the Chinese Flowering Chives (Step 1).

Step 4: Add in soy sauce and a dash or two of white pepper while stir frying.

Step 5: Continue to stir fried for about 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and serve.






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