Garlic chive packets

Garlic chive packets

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

These and the fried beef and dill flatbreads have us yearning for Xi’an. There they make all manner of fried, filled bing (breads), which challenge many clichéd preconceptions about what Chinese food is. In Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter, most shops and restaurants specialise in just one particular dish or snack, and our favourite shop on touristy Beiyuanmen Street makes the biggest, crispest, stuffed-est bing ever.



Quantity Ingredient
35g bean thread vermicelli noodles
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250g garlic chives, chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Quantity Ingredient
260g plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking


  1. To make the filling, put the vermicelli noodles in a small heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 15 minutes, or until softened, then drain. Finely chop the vermicelli and place in a large bowl.
  2. Heat half of the oil in a wok over a medium–high heat, then add the eggs and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until scrambled. Add to the noodles in the bowl. Heat the remaining oil in the wok, then add the garlic chives and spring onions and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes, or until wilted and bright green. Add to the noodle mixture and stir to combine well. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  3. To make the dough, put the flour in a bowl. Whisk together the egg, oil and 125 ml water in a small bowl. Add to the flour, then stir with a wooden spoon to just bring the dough together. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3–4 minutes, or until smooth. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into six even pieces, then roll each piece into a ball. Working with one ball at a time and using a small rolling pin, roll the dough ball on a lightly floured surface into a 20 cm circle. Using about one-sixth of the filling, spread it over one half of the circle, leaving a 1 cm border around the lower edge. Lightly brush the border with water, then fold the unfilled half of the dough over the filling and press the edges together to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough balls and filling.
  5. Place a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium–low heat, brush the base with oil, then cook the chive packets in batches for 5 minutes on each side, or until deep golden, adding more oil as necessary. Serve hot.
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