|Flowering garlic chives|
Rottler ex Spreng. 1825 not Roxb. 1832
Allium tuberosum is an Asian species of onion native to the Himalayas (Nepal, Bhutan, India) and to the Chinese Province of Shanxi. It is cultivated in many places and naturalized in scattered locations around the world.
The species is commonly known as garlic chives, Chinese chives, Oriental garlic, Chinese leek, also known by the Chinese name kow choi (also transliterated as gau choy; Chinese: 韭菜; pinyin: Jiǔcài; Wade–Giles: Chiu3-ts'ai4; Jyutping: gau2 coi3), or the Japanese name nira, and the Korean name buchu, is a vegetable related to onion. The Chinese name for the species is variously adapted and transliterated as cuchay, jiucai, kucai, kuchay, or kutsay in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. In Manipur and other northeastern states of India, it is grown and used as a substitute to garlic and onion in cooking and is known as "maroi nakupi" It is also sometimes called "green nira grass" where "nira" is Romanization of the Japanese word "韮" which means garlic chives.
Allium tuberosum has a distinctive growth habit with strap-shaped leaves unlike either onion or garlic, and straight thin white-flowering stalks that are much taller than the leaves. The flavor is more like garlic than chives. It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. In warmer areas, garlic chives may remain green all year round. In cold climates, leaves and stalks will completely die back to the ground, and re-sprout from roots or rhizomes in the spring.
Both leaves and the stalks and immature, unopened flower buds are used as a flavoring in a similar way to chives, scallions or garlic and are used as a stir fry ingredient. In China, they are often used to make dumplings with a combination of egg, shrimp and pork. They are a common ingredient in Chinese jiaozi dumplings and the Japanese and Korean equivalents. The flowers may also be used as a spice. In Vietnam, the leaves of garlic chives are cut up into short pieces and used as the only vegetable in a broth with sliced pork kidneys.
A Chinese flatbread similar to the scallion pancake may be made with garlic chives instead of scallions; such a pancake is called a jiucai bing (韭菜饼) or jiucai you bing (韭菜油饼). Garlic chives are also one of the main ingredients used with Yi mein dishes.
Garlic chives are widely used in Korean cuisine, most notably in dishes such as buchukimchi (부추김치, garlic chive kimchi), buchujeon (부추전, garlic chive pancakes), or jaecheopguk (a guk, or clear soup, made with garlic chives and Asian clams).
In Nepal, cooks fry a curried vegetable dish of potatoes and A. tuberosum known as dunduko sag.
Garlic chives are sometimes "blanched"—the clumps are cut and then covered to block light while they resprout. This produces a softer leaf with a yellow rather than green color, and a subtler flavor.
As a weed
Allium tuberosum is one of several Allium species known as wild onion and/or wild garlic that in various parts of the world are listed as noxious weeds or as "high impact environmental or agricultural" weeds.
Allium tuberosum is currently reported to be found growing wild in scattered locations in the United States. (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Alabama, Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin) However, it is believed to be more widespread in North America because of availability of seeds and seedlings of this species as an exotic herb and because of its high aggressiveness. This species is also widespread across much of mainland Europe.
Allium tuberosum - MHNT
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