Sep 10, 2015

Chinese Chive Flowers and Salted Black Beans Stir Fry - Wait till You Find Out This Dish's Real Name

This recipe calls for Chinese chive flowers, which is basically the same thing as Chinese chives but come with flower buds at the tips. The flower version carries a lighter aroma compared to Chinese chives. These two are interchangeable. However, the salted black beans (蔭豆鼓) cannot be substituted in any way.

Chinese chive flowers and salted black beans stir fry -


  • 0.7 lb ground pork
  • 1 medium bundle Chinese chive flowers
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 sprigs Chinese basil (optional)
  • 2 red chilies
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons salted black beans
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon homemade chili sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar


Traditionally, this dish doesn't use any Chinese basil, but I happened to have some in the kitchen. Figured just a small amount of finely chopped Chinese basil would add more depth and aroma to the stir fry, why not?

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Discard the chili stems and finely chop the remaining. Take the Chinese basil leaves and finely chop them. Also chop the Chinese chive flowers into small pieces.

Drizzle enough oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan and turn to medium heat. Add in chopped garlic and chilies. Cook till the garlicky aroma comes out but not burning them, lower the heat a little if necessary. 

Turn the heat up a little and add in ground pork, give it a quick stir, about 30 seconds. Add in salted black beans and mix well.

Pour in the soy sauce from the side of the pan along with Shaoxing wine. Also add the sugar and chili sauce. Keep stir frying for another minute or two.

Transfer the chopped Chinese chive flowers and Chinese basil into the mixture and cook for one more minute. Taste and adjust the flavor with salted black beans. Using more salted black beans can bring up the saltiness and sweetness levels.

On a side note, this dish actually has a not-so-tasty name in Chinese. Its pronunciation "tson yin tou," 蒼蠅頭, which literally translated to "flies' heads." The salted black beans somehow look like flies' heads and that's how this dish was named. I didn't want to mention it in the beginning in case some of you got scared away before even get a chance to see how delicious flies' heads actually are (wink).

Other Asian stir fry recipes:


  1. These "flies heads" don't scare me but made me drool. So good with rice or tossed with noodles

    1. Yes!! Whole plate devoured with rice in no seconds~!