Stir-Fried Garlic Chive Flowers Recipe

stir fried garlic chives in a white plate

Garlic chive flowers are the flower buds and stems of Chinese Chives. It’s such a delicious vegetable with a narrow window of peak tastiness. I like to enjoy it in a simple stir fry by itself. This recipe is free of top 9 allergens.

This post was originally posted in January 2015 and updated on March 12, 2024.

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Happy new year & Happy 1st Blogiversary!

I hope that 2015 will bring much joy, peace, and happiness to you. 2014 was a really fun but busy year as I learned to blog, formed another organization, and advocated for legislation. Today marks the first blogiversary of Nut Free Wok. It was a little idea to write our family’s favorite recipes for my sons, share them, and help others along the way. I’m grateful for you, your support, and encouraging comments and sharing your stories with me. Thank you for being a part of this community as we try to raise food allergy awareness and enjoy some Allergy Aware Asian Fare along the way. I’m excited about 2015, how about you?

Eat Beautiful Vegetables

I went food shopping recently and the freshest and most beautiful vegetable I could find was flowering garlic chives. I decided to start the year by sharing a simple Asian vegetable recipe: Garlic Chive Flowers Stir-Fry. Garlic chive flowers have a little bit of bite and zesty spiciness to them. I lightly stir-fried them for the freshest flavor. But cooking them for an extra minute will soften it more and mellow out the zesty flavor. Tonight I plan to use the leftovers and cook it with scrambled eggs and char siu (see below for instructions).

What are Garlic Chives?

Garlic chives or Chinese chives (Allium tuberosum) are flat leafed, like long blades of grass. They are also known as “gau choy” in Chinese or “nira” in Japanese. In Chinese cuisine, garlic chives are usually cooked in stir fries by itself, with scrambled eggs, with small amounts of meat. They’re also added to dumplings or stir fries. There’s also garlic chives that are grown in the dark and they will look exactly the same except yellow. This variety is also considered a delicacy.

Garlic chive flowers, “gau choy fa,” are used in the same ways and are considered a delicacy. You can buy garlic chives or flowering garlic chives at an Asian market or a farmer’s market where available.

fresh garlic chives flower buds and stems

How to shop for garlic chive flowers

The garlic chive flowers will be sold in a bunch. The bunch should feel firm (not wilted) and heavy. The color should be consistently dark green color (not yellow), and I prefer that the flower buds are closed. Also check to see that the bottom of the stems are bendy and not woody. The hard woody parts need to be trimmed off and discarded (or added to vegetable stock).

Grow Your Own Garlic Chives

You can grow your own by ordering garlic chive seeds (called “nira” in Japanese). Kitazawa Seed Company in San Jose, CA has seeds for almost any Asian vegetable you might want to grow. When shopping for garlic chives seeds, be sure that the chives look like they have a flat leaf and a white flower.

My parents grew Chinese garlic chives in their yard in San Francisco. They grow well in areas with cooler temperatures. My parents kept harvesting from the same plants for years. Use a knife to cut the plant at the base right at the soil line, and the chives would regrow in a few weeks. If you let them keep growing, flower stems will appear but you would have to grow a lot of garlic chives to grow a handful of garlic chive flowers to stir-fry.

Allergy Aware Garlic Chive Flowers Stir Fry

This recipe is free of top 9 allergens. A small sprinkle of salt will help the chive flowers to sweat and finish cooking. Or you can add a tablespoon of water and then season it with a small amount of soy sauce or oyster sauce. See What’s in Nut Free Wok’s Cupboard? Nut-Free Ingredients for alternate suggestions.

Stir-Fried Garlic Chive Flowers Recipe

Garlic chive flowers are the flower buds and stems of Chinese Chives. It's such a delicious vegetable with a narrow window of peak tastiness, I like to enjoy it in a simple stir fry by itself. This recipe is free of top 9 allergens.

Course Side Dish, vegetable side dish
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chinese vegetable stir fry, garlic chive, garlic chive flower stir fry
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Author Sharon Wong (Nut Free Wok)


  • 1 pound flowering garlic chives
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional, or season with 1 teaspoon soy sauce, oyster sauce, or sesame oil


  1. Trim 1/2 inch off the bottom of the stems and any tough ends, discard any yellowed stems or flowers, and wash with water.

  2. Chop the chives into 1 to 1.5 inch lengths and set aside.
  3. Heat up wok or frying pan until hot (3-5 minutes), add oil and swirl plan (30 seconds).
  4. Add chives and stir fry until the stems are bright green (1-2 minutes).
  5. Add seasoning to taste, cook another minute (or two if you prefer a milder flavor).

Additional Garlic Chive Flower Stir Fry ideas

When I need a little simple comfort food, I make garlic Chives with scrambled eggs like mom did: prepare 2 eggs for scrambled eggs and season with a dash of soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir fry chives as above and add scrambled eggs at step 5. Add 1 cup of cooked and chopped meat as desired (grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, roast pork, etc.).

You can also stir fry garlic chives with meat. Prep about 6-8 oz of sliced and marinated meat of choice, stir fry until it’s no longer pink/raw on the outside, add the garlic chives and continue stir frying for another 3 minutes until the chives are bright green and soften.

Are there other Asian vegetables or fruit you want to try or learn about? Let me know in the comments.

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About Sharon Wong 275 Articles
Welcome to Nut Free Wok, a blog about Allergy Aware Asian Fare. I hope that you will find my food allergy mom experiences helpful and enjoyable to read as I write about recipes, cooking techniques, Asian ingredients, and food allergy related awareness and advocacy issues. My professional experiences include education, teaching, and a little bit of science and computers. Thank you for visiting! ~Sharon Wong, M.Ed.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I planted garlic chives in my herb bed several years ago, not realizing that they go crazy. They practically took over my bed, completely shoving out the regular chives. Now, I have a great recipe to use them in!

    • Whooo-hoo! Pam, that’s so awesome that your garlic chives are thriving. I’ll post a follow up recipe for you. We didn’t finish the garlic chive stir fry and so I added it to scrambled eggs and that was amazing!

  2. This looks so good it makes me want to run to our local Farmer’s Market! Pinned and Shared, yum! I;ve never heard of Garlic Chive Flowers 🙂

    • Michelle, garlic scapes are so interesting, I’ve never heard of them until you mentioned them, thank you. I imagine they taste similar, garlic chive flowers are the stem and flowers from a type of chive plant and it is garlicky and spicy tasting.

    • Oh, Caroline, we would have so much fun as neighbors! If I do open a restaurant called the Nut Free Wok, you’ll be the first to know! xoxo

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