GARLIC CHIVES (Allium tuberosum) "Ku Chai" in China or "Nira" in Japan, this unique and incredibly versatile chive has flattened leaves that grow to 12" - 15" with straight thin white flowering stalks that appear in August. The leaves are sometimes blanched white to match the flowers in a manner similar to blanching asparagus, but I think the contrast is appealing. Easy to grow perennial deserves a place in your onion bed or ornamental border as it is not only useful but beautiful, but I like to grow in my kitchen herb garden so it always handy. With a distinctly mild garlic flavor it is used in stir fry with flowers attached. Also forms a small bulblet which can be used like an onion or wait until the black seed inside forms and harvest for future plantings (or just let it reseed in place, growing your patch) or as a spice. I have never had a pest problem with this herb. Growing organically is so important with this and any herb. Perennial in zones 4-8. 25 seeds.
GROWING TIPS: Prefers a sunny position with good drainage and will thrive with little attention as long as you give it plenty of water and occasional light fertilization. Shear the plant occasionally as the older leaves can become coarse.
RECIPE: Jiucai Bing or Chinese Pizza, also called a Green Onion Pancake, is a traditional flatbread featuring this wonderful green. The term pancake is misleading as this is made with dough, not batter, and the process of making them not only releases the fragrant oils of the garlic chive, but creates a simultaneously chewy crispy bread that is truly satisfying.
Mix 2-1/2 Cups all purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add 3/4 cup boiling water and mix. Let the dough cool and bit and then add 1/4 cup cold water and mix well, then knead the dough until it becomes smooth. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let it rest at room temperature for one hour. Divide into 8 pieces. Each piece should be rolled out as thinly as possible, one by one as follows: spread a thin layer of softened butter across the pancake and sprinkle choppped garlic chives on top. then roll into a tight tube, and then form the tube into a coil and pinch the seams shut. You will wind up with 8 such rolls. Then roll out each such piece into a pancake 1/8" - 1/4" thick, depending on whether you want a chewier (thicker) or crispier (thinner) pancake. You can stack the cakes uncooked inbetween waxed paper and freeze for later use, or proceed to fry each in hot oil over medium heat, turning after a few minutes until it's crisp and brown. Drain on paper towels or paper and cut into wedges. Serve with soy sauce or nuoc mam.