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Huai Shan & Arrowhead Chicken Soup

Arrowhead and Huai Shan Soup

With two more weeks to go before Chinese New Year (CNY), one starts to see arrowheads on sale at the supermarkets & wet markets in Singapore. I’ve only just recently learnt about arrowheads (aka 慈菇/ngaku) when I read wokkingmum’s blog post about it along with her recipe for arrowhead chips. Arrowhead is a bulb vegetable and it is popularly used in CNY cooking to make festive goodies such as arrowhead chips. Some people also grow the bulb to decorate their house during the festive period because the auspicious-looking arrowhead-shaped leaves symbolise (i) growth and prosperity (步步高升) as well as (ii) blessings for a male offspring. Since “rare” ingredients are a cook’s dream come true, I’m going to incorporate this festive ingredient into my everyday cooking, since nothing beats a bowl of nourishing home-made chicken soup.

Arrowhead and Huai Shan Soup
Main soup ingredients: Arrowhead (left) and Chinese wild yam aka huai shan

I paired the arrowheads with another tuber vegetable, namely Chinese wild yam (aka huai shan 淮山), which is really nutritious. If you read teczcape’s post, you can learn about the beneficial properties of this vegetable, ranging from anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, antispasmodic (relieves muscle spasms) to anti-aging. It also has medicinal properties such as treating menopause symptoms, gallstones and muscle spasms.

Nourishing properties aside, I really love the taste of this soup! There is no good way to describe how an ingredient taste like because the best way is to taste it yourself, but I’ll liken it to Chinese-style potato soup aka ABC Soup, which is one of my favourite home-cooked Chinese soups.

(Serves 2-3)

– 300g arrowroots/ngaku (慈菇), peeled and cut to large chunks
– 150g fresh huai shan root/Chinese wild yam (淮山), cut to large chunks* (if can’t find fresh, you can substitute with 3-5 pieces of dried huan shan)
– 1/2 chicken (around 500g), skin removed and cut to large chunks
– 1 large carrot, peeled and cut to chunks
– 3 slices old ginger
– 1.5 litres of water
– sea salt or small piece of chicken cube to taste

1. Blanch chicken pieces in boiling water for about 5 minutes, then rinse with cold water, set aside.
2. Add water, blanched chicken and the rest of the ingredients into soup pot. Bring to rapid boil for first 10 mins, then simmer over low fire (with lid partially covered) for another 60 mins, or till chicken is tender.
3. Season with salt or chicken cube if needed. Serve with warm rice.

Cooking Note
1. If you’re using fresh huan shai, first rinse it in water to get rid of the soil, then remove the skin (I use a vegetable peeler) and cut to large chunks. Be careful as the flesh is slippery/slimey to handle.

Arrowhead and Huai Shan Soup

44 comments on “Huai Shan & Arrowhead Chicken Soup”

  1. I keep seeing arrowroot in the supermarket but I did not buy it because I do not want to make chips out of them. Now I know they are good in soups….heh heh heh….

  2. very interesting soup!

  3. I’ve never had arrowhead! I’d love to try it. It looks great.

  4. Interesting! I’ve cooked all sort of Chinese soup before but neglected nga ku. Didn’t know i can use that to cook soup! Saw abundance of them in the wet market today.. will try it the next time i cook soup. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Like the combination of the roots…looks the soup looks very tasty with the chicken and yet light.

  6. My friend told me arrowhead is just opposite to ginger, it’s very windy according to Chinese. Not sure how true it is.

  7. I’m going to have to look out for these arrowheads…never tried one before!

  8. I’ve only had fried arrowhead, sounds really interesting!

  9. Beautiful presentation on all (but especially the main) photos! I like how we can see even the little bubbles in the soup. Looks delicious! :up:

    • I was actually trying to get rid of the oily bubbles by using a spoon but ended up spreading them around even more, lol. Thanks for your kind words my friend :)

  10. Never seen arrowhead, wonder how it tastes! Nice soup.

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