Chinese Yellow Chives and Eggs Stir Fry (韭黄炒鸡蛋)

The Chinese yellow chives are stir fried with scrambled eggs. Made with 3 ingredients, this dish is light, nutritious, and hearty. Serve it as a side dish or top it on steamed rice as a light main. {Gluten-Free}

Homemade yellow chives and eggs stir fry

An introduction to Chinese Yellow Chives

This typical Shaanxi dish is light, nutritious, and full of complementary textures. It’s also the perfect introduction to a new ingredient you may never have seen or even heard of: yellow chives.

Its stronger older brother, the green chive, exudes a more pungent and oniony taste. While the yellow or ‘golden’ chives are tenderer, sweeter, mellower, and ever so slightly garlicky. This is because they have been grown away from any kind of light so they do not produce chlorophyll, much like white asparagus.

The yellow chives can be traced back to a historic Chinese tradition of transforming vegetables using unconventional growing methods. In previous generations, Chinese families living in rural areas would eat a vegetable- and grain-heavy diet. Eggs would normally supply the protein. And meat and dairy would only be consumed on rare occasions, if at all. With the seasonal produce available, people would find natural ways of adapting fresh crops to produce varying flavors and textures. That includes growing, pickling, and fermenting indoors. This is why in China, you can find different versions of the same vegetable. For example, dwarf and baby bok choy; napa cabbage and baby napa cabbage. And in this case, green chives and yellow chives.

Yellow chives and eggs stir fry

Cooking with yellow chives

1. Purchasing and storage

Yellow chives are very tender and delicate. That’s why you usually see them wrapped in soft tissue paper at the market. Look for a batch with fewer withered and bruised leaves. Once you purchase the yellow chives, store them in a loosely wrapped plastic bag in the fridge and consume them as soon as possible. It’s best to consume them the day of purchase. You can store them in the fridge overnight or up to two days. Note, the longer you store them, the more work you will need to do to pick out and discard the withered leaves.

Chinese yellow chives

2. How to prep yellow chives

You should rinse the yellow chives thoroughly using running tap water. Pay special attention to the white part of the stalk. It’s the part that grows in the earth and might have dirt attached to it. You should also snip off and discard any withered or bruised parts. Once done, drain the yellow chives, chop off the tough ends and discard them, and cut the remaining part into 2” (5 cm) long pieces.

Chopped yellow chives

3. Cooking

The yellow chives cook very quickly. Like with most Chinese stir fries, the hotter the pan, the shorter the cooking time and the better the result you’ll get. Once you heat the pan up nice and hot, the chives usually cook in 1 to 2 minutes (or less, if you use a wok with a powerful gas stove). They will be seared and still crispy, tender but still keeping their shape, and smelling less pungent, with a mild sweet taste. The longer you cook them, they will start to release liquid. It is perfectly fine as well, since some people do prefer their chives cooked to a very tender texture.

Yellow chives and eggs stir fry cooking step-by-step

4. Yellow chives vs. green chives

In spite of their different appearance and flavor, yellow chives and green chives are interchangeable. And of course, you can use this recipe to cook green chives as well. Both types of chives work great in dumplings and wontons as well. I’ll be sharing a recipe soon.

A final word

When you see these chives at an Asian market, don’t be put off by their strong smell when they are raw. Once you have cooked them in this gorgeous stir fry, you’ll be surprised at how delicious a simple stir fry can taste, with only three ingredients!

If you’re interested in learning about and cooking with Chinese greens, check out my complete guide to Chinese greens.

Yellow chives and eggs stir fry close-up

More delicious Chinese veggie recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Chinese Yellow Chives and Eggs Stir Fry (韭黄炒鸡蛋)

The Chinese yellow chives are stir fried with scrambled eggs. Made with 3 ingredients, this dish is light, nutritious, and hearty. Serve it as a side dish or top it on steamed rice as a light main. {Gluten-Free}
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Course: Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4
Calories: 146kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1 small batch (14 oz./400g) Chinese yellow chives
  • 4 large eggs , beaten
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Rinse the yellow chives with running tap water. Use your fingers to gently wash them in small batches to remove any dirt. During this process, snip off any withered ends and peel off any parts that do not look fresh and discard them. Once done, drain the chives. Chop about 2 inches from the bottom (the white part is usually tougand discard it. Chop the rest of the chives into 2-inch pieces and set them aside.
  • Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a large 12” nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until warm. Add the beaten eggs. Let cook until the bottom sets. Stir them with your spatula and chop them into smaller bits, like you’re cooking scrambled eggs. Once the eggs are just cooked, remove the pan from the stove immediately and transfer the eggs to a plate.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil just starts to smoke, add the yellow chives. Quickly stir a few times to coat the chives evenly with oil. When the chives start to turn tender, add back the eggs and sprinkle salt over everything evenly. Stir and cook until the chives turn tender and the volume reduces. Remove the pan from the stove and taste the chives. If the chive are still tough, you can return them to the stove and cook them a bit longer. The chives will start to release water when they turn very tender and it won’t affect the taste. Once done, transfer everything to a plate.
  • Serve hot immediately over steamed rice.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.7g | Protein: 9.5g | Fat: 10.8g | Saturated Fat: 2.6g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 2.5g | Sugar: 2.2g | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 3mg
Yellow chives and eggs stir fry - Made with 3 ingredients, this dish is light, nutritious, and hearty. Serve it as a side dish or top it on steamed rice as a light main. {Gluten-Free}

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