Stir-fry Royale Chives (Qing Long Cai)
Stir-fry royale chives (清炒青龙菜) is a recent discovery of mine, after eating the vegetable at a restaurant for the first time months ago. Since then, I have been cooking several versions of this vegetable weekly. This basic stir-fry, with lots of garlic & ginger, is a simple yet homely version, enabling one to enjoy the inherent mildly sweet taste of the chives.
In my earlier attempts at cooking this veg, I notice that the royale chives exudes some liquid after cooking. Adding too much water and/or overcooking may result in the chives looking soggy & mushy. So I prefer to do a drier stir-fry for this veg, adding little or no water except for Chinese wine. A hot wok with a quick cooking time helps, too, to keep the chives tender and green after cooking.
Royale chives are known literally as “green dragon chives” (qing long cai/青龙菜) or Chinese garlic chives. Being “royal”, this vegetable is slightly more expensive than other types of Asian greens at about S$2+ per bundle, but it is still so much more affordable when home-cooked.
As a lazy cook, a top reason why I love this vegetable is due to the ease of preparation. There are no stems or roots. Simply use the entire leaf & cut it to equal sections. I usually cut them to four (pictured above) or five equal sections.
The flip side though is that there is quite a bit of dirt on the chives, and you have to rinse & wash them thoroughly before use. I also spin dry them in a salad spinner to reduce the splattering in the wok.