Allium tuberosum (garlic
chives, Oriental garlic, Asian chives, Chinese chives, Chinese leek) is a species of onion native to southwestern parts of the Chinese province of Shanxi, and cultivated and naturalized elsewhere in Asia and around the world.
Allium tuberosum is a perennial plant growing from a small, elongated bulb, tough and fibrous, originating from a stout rhizome. It has a distinctive growth habit with strap-shaped leaves 1.5 to 8 mm wide unlike either onion or garlic. It produces many white flowers in a round cluster on stalks 25 to 60 cm (10 to 24 in) tall. It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. In warmer areas, garlic chives may remain green all year round. In cold areas, leaves and stalks completely die back to the ground, and resprout from roots or rhizomes in the spring.
The flavor is more like garlic than chives.
Distribution and habitat
Originating in the Siberian–Mongolian–North Chinese steppes, but widely cultivated and naturalised. A. tuberosum is currently reported to be found growing wild in scattered locations in the United States. However, it is believed to be more widespread in North America because of availability of seeds and seedlings of this species as an exotic herb and because of its high aggressiveness. This species is also widespread across much of mainland Europe and invasive in other areas of the world.
Often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, several cultivars are available. A. tuberosum is distinctive by blooming later than most native or naturalised species of Allium. It is cold-hardy to USDA hardiness zones 4–10.
A number of varieties have been developed for either improved leaf or flower stem production. While the emphasis in Asia has been primarily culinary, in North America, the interest has been more as an ornamental. 'Monstrosum' is a giant ornamental cultiva.
Uses have included ornamental plants, including cut and dried flowers, culinary herb, and traditional medicine. Garlic chives have been widely cultivated for centuries in East Asia for its culinary value. The flat leaves, the stalks, and immature, unopened flower buds are used as flavouring. Another form is "blanched" by regrowing after cutting under cover to produce white-yellow leaves and a subtler flavor.
Chinese names for A. tuberosum vary depending on the plant part, and between Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese, as well as varying romanizations. For instance, the green leaves are jiu cai, the flower stem jiu cai hua, and blanched leaves jiu huang in Mandarin, but gau tsoi (kow choi), gau tsoi fa, and gau wong in Cantonese, respectively. Other renderings include cuchay, kucai, kuchay, or kutsay. The leaves are used as a flavoring in a similar way to chives, scallions, or garlic, and are included as a stir fry ingredient. In China, they are often used to make dumplings with a combination of egg, shrimp, and pork. They are a common ingredient in Chinese jiaozi dumplings and the Japanese and Korean equivalents. A Chinese flatbread similar to the scallion pancake may be made with garlic chives instead of scallions; such a pancake is called a jiucai bing or jiucai you bing. Garlic chives are also one of the main ingredients used with yi mein dishes.
In Japan, A. tuberosum is used for both garlic and sweet flavours, in soups and salads, and traditional Japanese and Chinese dishes.
Garlic chives, known as buchu, are widely used in Korean cuisine. It can be eaten fresh as namul, pickled as kimchi and jangajji, and pan-fried in buchimgae (pancake). It is also one of the most common herbs served with gukbap (soup over rice).
– a type of buchimgae, made by cutting garlic chives, julienning aehobak, carrot, and onion, finely chopping Cheongyang chilli, then adding the ingredients into a thin flour dough and pan-frying the mixture in oil.
– a type of kimchi, made by cutting garlic chives, salting them with aekjeot, then marinate the salted garlic chives with gochutgaru(chilli powder). The kimchi is usually served with toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
dwaejigukbap – a type of pork bone gukbap, usually served with a lot of seasoned garlic chives.
– a type of clear guk(soup), made by boiling small freshwater clams called jaecheop and chopped garlic chives together. The soup is often eaten as a haejangguk(hangover soup).
In Nepal, cooks fry a curried vegetable dish of potatoes and A. tuberosum known as dunduko sag. In Manipur and other northeastern states of India, it is grown and used as a substitute for garlic and onion in cooking and is known as maroi nakupi.
In Thailand, they are known as gui chai
In Vietnam, the leaves of garlic chives are cut up into short pieces and used as the only vegetable in a broth with sliced pork kidneys.
Recipes using garlic chives see Here