Chive, a perennial herb, is the closest possible cousin to garlic, leeks and onions. With similar characteristics as these bulbous condiments, chives too have their culinary uses, especially as a garnishing or flavoring ingredient. In such cases, the flavor of chive is enhanced when combined with marjoram or tarragon. Just as onions add a little sweetness and depth to the foods in which they are included (such as stews, soups, sauces, etc), this herb too adds a mild onion like flavor, though not as strong, to the dishes in which they are included. Some popular chive recipes are Herbed Goat Cheese, Thousand Island dressing, Baked Potatoes, etc. Today, many recipes of various cuisines across the world enhance the flavor of dishes by adding chive.
History of Chives and Chive Recipes
Chive has had its place in the culinary world from almost the middle ages, in Europe. In fact there is reference to the use of this mild onion like herb since almost 5000 years ago. There was a strong belief among the Romans that chives and chive recipes helped relive sore throat and sun burn. They were also believed to help as a diuretic and in controlling blood pressure. Another popular use of chive, though not culinary, was using this perennial herb by Romanian Gypsies to tell fortune and also hung in bunches around the house to ward off evil and diseases. Nowadays, because of their easy growth and increased use, it is possible to find a lot of herb gardens and pots in the kitchens across the world lined with small little plants of chive.
Culinary Uses of Chives
Chive has made a mark in the culinary world as a mild herb that adds oodles of flavor to a dish. This perennial herb has many culinary uses, especially in baked foods, salads, dips and stewed dishes. It is basically the leaves of this condiment that are used in cooking and these leaves are generally plucked and chopped fine to either garnish a dish or add to a dish while it is being cooked. The best time to add chive is just towards the end of the cooking process, as it is sensitive to excessive heat. Traditional dishes of France and Sweden include some delicious chive recipes. In fact, pancakes, soups, sandwiches, vinegars and even fish get that extra edge in flavor from chives. These slender leaves are given the same place as some of the finest herbs of French Cuisine, herbs such as tarragon, parsley and chervil. Even the flowers of chive are useful. The light purple colored petals of these flowers are used for garnishing and one such example is Quark Cheese of Polish cuisine. Whatever be the cuisine, there are innumerable culinary uses of chive.
Popular Chive Recipes of Various Cuisines
Chive is a popular ingredient in most of the cuisines across the world. This condiment is used independently or in combination with other herbs such as tarragon, chervil or parsley, mostly in stir fried foods, salads, stews, spreads and even in soups. Some popular chive recipes are –
- Chinese – Cantonese Spring Rolls with Pork and Shrimp is a popular chive recipe of this cuisine. The main ingredients of this dish are shredded pork, shrimp, black mushrooms and of course chive. The spring roll tastes great when served with plum sauce and hot mustard dip. Other popular chive recipes of this cuisine are Scrambled Eggs with Chives, Sprouts and Chives Stir Fry, Healthy Baked Chicken Chow Mein, etc.
- American – One popular chive recipe of this cuisine is Roast Turkey with Lemon and Chives. Other than turkey being the main ingredient, this dish gets an added flavor from chive, carrots, onions, and lemon zest, baked along with the spice rubbed turkey. Finally, fresh pepper and kosher salt are used for seasoning the turkey. Other popular chive recipes of this cuisine are Creamy Chive Garlic Mashed Potato, Scallop Dumplings with Garlic Chives, Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon and Chives, etc.
- European – Mushrooms with Chives is a popular recipe of this cuisine. This very simple dish is made with small mushrooms and chopped chive sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Other popular chive recipes of this cuisine are Cream Eggs with Irish Cheese and Chives, Rosti with Black Forest Ham and Chives, Carrot with Chives, etc.
Non-Culinary Uses of Chives
Chive is known to have medicinal properties as well, other than used as a condiment. Though similar in nature to garlic, this condiment is milder even in its medicinal properties. This vegetable is rich in compounds such alkyl sulfides and alkyl sulfoxides, which help the circulatory system to a great extent. Chives are a rich source of vitamin C and A, along with minerals such as calcium and iron. Just as in the ancient Roman times, chive and chive recipes have similar effects as garlic even today, in controlling the blood pressure and also act as an appetite stimulant. In fact, the long slender leaves of the condiment are known to have antibiotic properties as well. Irrespective of the culture, there are many such medicinal uses of chive.
Chive is believed to strengthen nails and teeth.
The essence of this condiment is supposed to bea natural insect repellent.