Friday, February 25, 2011

Keeping Warm on the Inside-- A Recipe for Garlic Chives

Allium tuberosum... Garlic Chives... Nira

One of my favorite winter dishes is Nira no Tamago Toji, "Nira" being garlic chives, a member of the onion family.  The strap-like leaves are used in Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and widely in Korean cuisine.  They have a wonderful, onion-y--garliky smell and come loaded with Vitamin A (just the thing for keeping your body warm from the inside when the frost comes and they're also good for anybody with a cold or the flu;-).  You can use it in stir-fry, or yaki-soba and such.

 Nira-Tama, though, is a great side-dish, or even main dish if you're just having a light supper since it's made with eggs.  And the best thing is--I can throw it together in five minutes flat (well, ok--6 or 7 minutes).  All you need are a bunch of garlic chives (which are easy to grow from seed I've been told--haven't tried growing them yet myself), 4 eggs, plus a little powdered dashi, soy sauce, sake, and mirin (serves 4).

Slice the Nira 4-5cm while bringing the soup ingredients to a boil.  Soup is:

240ml dashi (water plus 1/2 tsp powdered dashi)
2 tbsp mirin (sweet cooking sake)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake

Boil briefly the soup ingredients, add the Nira and simmer 'til cooked.  Let someone who is pestering you in the kitchen break and beat the eggs (bonus feature: this recipe has enough eggs for each kid in almost any family to have an egg to break, thus fulfilling its vital role as peace-keeper).

Pour the eggs over the soup, stirring in briefly, put the lid on and simmer 'til half (or so--as you like) cooked.

 Some recipes make this with half the above amount of soup (about 120ml and 1tbsp each of the flavorings).  I make double the amount because I like the soup itself.  I also sometimes add a teaspoon or two of sugar to the soup since the kids like it like that.  Teki to ni.  Suit yourself;-)  I also let it cook long enough that the eggs look puffy when I take the lid off (4 or 5 minutes over medium heat).

Enjoy!  Itadakima--su!


  1. damn you and your delicious japanese recipes!
    Every time you post something, i want to eat it IMMEDIATELY.
    needless to say, i'm starring this post as well.

  2. Gomen!! Glad it looks good to you! (even though I didn't take a picture of it in a nice bowl...). Try it out if you can get garlic chives from an Asian market near you--easy, fast, healthy, and *good*!