As greenhouses and farms make various fresh producs available all year around, it is easy to forget each fruit and vegetable has its own sowing and harvesting cycle. Enjoying seasonal food not only provides us with the best quality produce, it also helps to maintain our body’s yin and yang balance, according to traditional Chinese medicine. The Seasonal Eats blog series introduces dishes best served and eaten this month.
Early spring is the best time to enjoy Chinese chives, when they are young and tender. Usually only used as a herb for garnish or flavoring in western cooking, in northern regions of China, chive is a used as a vegetable, and is a major ingredient in various popular dishes. Try these dishes for a game-changing and mouth-watering experience!
Chive dumpling 韭菜饺 (Jiucai Jiao)
Steamed, fried or boiled, this popular dongbei delicacy is easy to find in many Chinese restaurants. Chive is often mixed with egg and pork to make a fragrant, delicate stuffing.
Fried chive box 韭菜盒子 (Jiucai hezi)
A chive box is four times the size of a regular dumpling and is very heavy on chive. The shell is crunchy and the chive is al dente and very fresh. Available at most Chinese restaurants as an appetizer or snack.
Chive pancake 韭菜饼(jiucai bing)
Similar in taste to the chive box, the chive pancake is perfect for sharing as a starter.
Fried chive with egg 韭菜炒鸡蛋 (jiucai chao jidan)
Tired of regular scrambled egg? Spruce it up with chive.
Fried meatballs stuffed with chive 韭香杂粮养生丸子 (jiucai zaliang yangsheng wanzi)
Breaded and fried, this nugget sized meat ball stuffed with chive offers a more fun and refined way to enjoy this ingredient. Find it at Shuntian Restaurant (顺天食府) at the south gate of Beijing Dance Academy in Haidian District.
Photos: courtesy of Nate Gray: A culinary (Photo) Journal, beautifulcataya, powerplantop and avlxyz (Flickr)