What Is Negi?

Are you curious to know what is negi? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about negi in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is negi?

In the world of culinary delights, there are many ingredients that add unique flavors and textures to dishes from different cuisines. One such ingredient is “Negi,” a staple in Japanese cooking. While it might look like a simple green onion or scallion at first glance, Negi has a distinct flavor and cultural significance that sets it apart. In this blog, we’ll explore what Negi is, its culinary uses, and its cultural importance in Japanese cuisine.

What Is Negi?

Negi, also known as Japanese scallion or Japanese leek, is a type of allium closely related to green onions and garlic chives. It belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family and is native to East Asia, particularly Japan and China. Negi has a long, slender, and straight stalk with a white base and green leaves. Its flavor is milder than that of regular onions, making it a versatile ingredient in Japanese cooking.

Culinary Uses Of Negi

Negi plays a vital role in Japanese cuisine and is featured in a wide range of dishes. Here are some common culinary uses of Negi:

  • Soba and Udon Noodles: Negi is often finely sliced and used as a garnish for hot and cold noodle dishes like soba and udon. It adds a refreshing, onion-like crunch to the dish.
  • Yakitori: In yakitori, a popular Japanese skewered and grilled chicken dish, Negi is used to skewer the chicken pieces. Grilling the Negi along with the chicken imparts a delightful charred flavor.
  • Nabe: Negi is a common ingredient in Japanese hot pot dishes known as “nabe.” It’s sliced and added to the simmering broth along with other ingredients like vegetables, tofu, and meat.
  • Tempura: Tempura, a Japanese dish featuring battered and deep-fried ingredients, sometimes includes Negi. It’s coated in tempura batter and fried to a crispy texture.
  • Sushi and Sashimi: Negi is occasionally used as a garnish for sushi and sashimi, enhancing the visual appeal and providing a mild onion flavor.
  • Miso Soup: Chopped Negi is a classic addition to miso soup, providing a subtle oniony aroma to the broth.
  • Stir-Fries: Negi can be included in stir-fries, adding flavor and a bit of crunch to the dish.

Cultural Significance

Beyond its culinary uses, Negi has cultural significance in Japan. It’s a symbol of resilience and tenacity because it can grow even in poor soil conditions. In Japanese folklore, it represents growth and development, making it a common ingredient in dishes prepared for special occasions and celebrations.

In addition to its cultural symbolism, Negi is a sustainable crop that grows well in various climates, making it a valuable resource for Japanese cuisine throughout the year.


Negi, the Japanese scallion, is a vital ingredient in Japanese cooking, known for its mild onion flavor and culinary versatility. It finds its way into numerous traditional dishes, from noodle soups to grilled skewers, adding both flavor and cultural significance. Whether you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine or simply looking to expand your culinary horizons, Negi is a delightful ingredient to explore and incorporate into your dishes for that authentic Japanese touch.

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What Is Negi In Japanese Cooking?

Negi is the Japanese name for Welsh onion. It’s longer and thicker and is used raw and cooked in Japanese cuisine. Negi (ネギ), Naga Negi (“long onion” 長ネギ), Shiro Negi (“white onion” 白ネギ), or Tokyo Negi (東京ネギ), refers to an allium with a thick and long white stem and hollow green tops.

What Is Negi Used For?

Negi has a strong garlic-like aroma and flavour, and is a staple of Japanese cuisine, often used to remove the odour of raw fish and meat. Kizami negi (chopped negi) are sprinkled over udon, soba and ramen noodle dishes and are used in nabe hotpot dishes, hiyayakko (chilled tofu) as well in miso soup as a garnish.

Is Negi Leek Or Green Onion?

So what is negi? Is it a spring onion, green onion, scallion or leek? Well, it’s technically a spring onion, green onion and scallion! All these onions belong to the Allium fistulosum species of onion and differ on their age.

Is Negi The Same As Leek?

fistulosum is characterized by its non-bulbing nature and hollow green tops. The tops are the visual key to differentiate Negi from Leeks: Negi has hollow tops, while Leeks have flat, rigid tops. Of course if you taste the white layers of the shank you will also be able to tell the difference as well.

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