Chinese chive pockets (韭菜盒子)

Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible. 

Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible.

I mentioned in the post on Spicy beef flatbread that in our Red House, flour based dishes with meat filling, such as dumplings, buns, stuffed flatbread, etc., were nominated to be our family’s favourite type of food. Last week after we happily tucked into some Chinese chive pockets (韭菜盒子), I realized that we love vegetarian fillings in these dishes too! They taste just as good, if not better.

Chinese chives (aka garlic chives, 韭菜) have long, flat, dark green leaves. Not only do they look different from regular chives, they also have a much stronger flavour which somehow resembles the taste of garlic. In Chinese cuisine, they are usually used as a vegetable (rather than a herb) and often paired with meat or eggs. Among many dishes that feature this flavourful vegetable, Chinese chive pocket (韭菜盒子, literally means “Chinese chive box”) is no doubt the most popular one.

Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible.

Chinese chive pockets are pan fried, semi-circle shaped, flat dumplings filled with Chinese chives and scrambled eggs. Sometimes you can find mung bean vermicelli noodles and/or dried shrimps in the filling. Chinese chive has such a strong and appealing flavour on its own that you don’t need to add too much seasoning to the filling.

You may find Chinese chive pockets complicated at first glance. However, they are actually much easier to make than you would imagine. Here are my reasons:

Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible.

  • Chinese chives are very easy to be chopped small (in comparison with other popular vegetables for dumpling fillings, such as Chinese cabbage, pak choi, etc.)
  • Chinese scrambled egg takes very little effort to cook. Please refer to my post on “Tomato and egg stir-fry” for detailed instructions.

Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible.

  • Salt is the only essential seasoning. Sometimes I add a little Chinese five-spice powder or ground Sichuan pepper, but they are entirely optional.
  • You only need two basic ingredients, flour and hot water, to make the dough and there is no special technique required.

Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible.

  • You can shape the pockets using the simplest method: Place the filling in the middle of the wrapper; flip one side of the wrapper towards the other; seal the edge by pinching between your thumb and index finger. Done! However, if you’d like to make them a little prettier, you can use a fork to press the edge or make a more attractive pattern as shown in the images above.
  • The wrappers for Chinese chive pockets are made from “Hot water dough (烫面)” which doesn’t take much time to cook through.

Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible.

Chinese chives are widely available in Asian/Chinese shops. In Spring time, I like using Bear’s garlic (aka Wild garlic) as a  substitute. Growing in the woodland, bear’s garlic belongs to the Allium family and tastes very similar to Chinese chives. When I was living in Switzerland, I used to pick bear’s garlic in a nearby wood every Spring and make delicious pockets with this “free” ingredient. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found a location where I can do the same around Bedford, the town where I live in England.

One last tip: I don’t recommend that you use pre-made, commercial dumpling wrappers to make Chinese chive pockets. They are too small and too thin thus not really suitable for this purpose.

Chinese chive pockets (韭菜盒子)
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Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Make 12 pockets

Chinese chive pockets (韭菜盒子)

Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible.

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 360g / 2.5 cups plain flour (all-purpose) + extra for dusting if necessary
  • 230ml / 1 cup hot water
  • For the filling
  • 150g Chinese chive
  • 50g dried mung bean vermicelli noodles (optional, see note 1)
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder or Ground Sichuan pepper (optional)
  • For frying
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dough: Put flour into a heat proof bowl. Pour in hot water (soon after being boiled). Stir with a pair of chopsticks or a fork until the flour turns into small lumps. Knead into a soft, smooth dough when cool enough to handle (see note 2). Cover the bowl with a wet kitchen towel. Leave to rest for 30 mins.
  2. Mix the filling: Finely chop chives. Soak vermicelli noodles in hot water for 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water until pliable. Chop into small pieces. Heat up oil in a wok then fry eggs (see note 3). Coarsely chop the egg. Put chive, noodles and egg into a mixing bowl. Stir in salt and Chinese five-spice powder / ground Sichuan pepper (if using). 
  3. Assemble the pockets: Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each piece into a circle (about 15cm / 6inch in diameter). Place filling in the middle then seal the dough into a semi-circle flat pocket (see note 4).
  4. Fry the pockets: Heat up oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Place the pockets in then cover with a lid. Flip over when the first side becomes golden brown. Fry the second side uncovered until it turns golden brown (see note 5).

Notes

1. Mung bean vermicelli noodles don’t have much of a flavour on their own, but they provide an interesting texture to the filling. You may skip them if not available. In this case, increase the volume of chive and egg accordingly. 

2. The ideal flour water ratio may vary slightly depending on the brand of the flour and how you measure it (Measuring with cups is less accurate). You may also use a stand mixer to make the dough.

3. Please refer to the post tomato and egg stir-fry for more instructions on how to cook Chinese scrambled egg.

4. Three ways to seal the pockets: A: Simply seal the edge of the wrapper by pinching between your thumb and index finger. B: After step A, pressing the edge with a fork. C: After step A, use your thumb and index finger to pinch and fold the edge towards the centre of the pocket. Repeat all the way around the edge (as shown in the images in the post).

5. Cooking time may vary depending on the pan. For your reference: I fry 12 pockets in 2 batches in a 28cm / 11 inch, heavy bottomed frying pan. It takes me around 5 minutes to cook the first side and a further 2 minutes to finish the second side.

https://redhousespice.com/chinese-chive-pockets/

Preparing this post has made me very hungry! Hope you feel the same looking at my pictures. Give my recipe a try! I’m sure you are going to love it.

Happy cooking!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible. Pan fried flat dumplings filled with fragrant Chinese chive, soft scrambled eggs and springy vermicelli noodles, Chinese chive pockets are simply irresistible.

More pan-dried delicacies to discover: 

Spiced beef flatbread (香酥牛肉饼)

Spring onion flatbread, leavened (葱油发面饼)

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3 thoughts

    1. Thank you for popping by! You can surely freeze uncooked pockets. Fry them without defrosting. Just make sure to add about 1/2 cup of water then cover with a lid when you fry the first side. The steam will help to cook through. Have a great time in your kitchen!

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