Arrowhead Chips

Goat Xi Fa Cai! Here’s wishing everyone a happy and prosperous Year of the Goat. My most craved-for Chinese New Year (CNY) snack are these addictive deep fried arrowhead chips. After all, I can eat pineapple tarts and most other CNY goodies all year round. But arrowhead/慈菇 (also known “chiku” or “ngaku”) sell only once a year during the CNY season, and absence certainly made my heart fonder for them.

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They are cheap to make (1 kg of arrowhead is about S$2.30) with only two ingredients – arrowhead and oil. But I don’t want to kid you: making them IS a tedious process. You need to peel, air dry and deep fry. The process, excluding air drying time, took me about 2 hours. If you can get pass the hardship, I assure that you will be rewarded with the best tasting chips (my family calls them “enhanced potato chips”), without the awful recycled oil taste of the expensive store-bought ones.

Arrowhead (Chiku, Ngaku)
Do try out this recipe during the 15 days of the lunar new year season if you can still catch them selling at Giant supermarket and wet markets in Singapore.

Step-by-Step Pics (Arrowhead Chips)

Arrowhead Chips Recipe
Cut the base of each arrowhead.

Arrowhead Chips Recipe
Peel and discard the skin using a vegetable peeler (as shown) or paring knife, leaving the stalk intact.

Arrowhead Chips Recipe
The peeled arrowhead with stalk on.

Arrowhead Chips Recipe
Hold the arrowhead by the stalk with one hand, and stablise the mandoline slicer with the other hand. Carefully shred the arrowhead to thin chips.

Arrowhead Chips Recipe
They should resemble thin circular “potato chips”.

Arrowhead Chips Recipe
Pat dry the arrowhead chips with paper towels, and spread them out on several big plates. Air dry for about 3 hours to minimize oil splatters. I use a fan to speed up the process.

Arrowhead Chips Recipe

Heat oil in saucepan or wok and deep fry until light golden. Tip: When deep frying the first batch, you may want to start with a few pieces to test the heat and get the cooking timing right. Temperature and full printable recipe on the next page >>

Arrowhead Chips Recipe

There are many methods of salting the chips. Some people soak the arrowhead (either before or after slicing) in salt water before air drying. Some people add salt to the oil when deep-frying – I suggest using 1/4 tsp of salt to prevent over salting. The last method which is my preferred method (covered in this recipe) is to salt them after they are deep fried.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg arrowhead (chiku, ngaku) with stalks on
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • sea salt to taste

You also need

  • mandoline slicer
  • vegetable peeler or paring knife
  • kitchen paper towel or tempura paper

 

Directions:

  1. Peel the skin of each arrowhead using a knife but leave each stalk intact.
  2. Using a mandolin, hold each arrowhead by the stalk and carefully shred the arrowhead to thin circular “potato chips”.
  3. Pat dry sliced arrowhead with paper towels. Spread them out on large plates and air dry for about 3 hours.
  4. Heat oil in a wok (the oil should cover about 1 1/2 cm of your casserole). Test the temperature by inserting a bamboo chopstick in the hot oil. The oil is ready when you see small bubbles gathering around the chopstick. If using deep fryer, preheat to 180°C (356°F).
  5. Deep fry arrowhead chips, in small batches, and take them out when they turn light golden brown. Drain fried arrowhead chips on paper towels or tempura paper. Season to taste with salt.
  6. When the arrowhead chips are cooled, store them in air-tight containers.

Noob Cook Tip

  1. When deep frying, take out the chips as soon as they turn light golden brown. They will turn a slightly darker golden shade as they cool down.
  2. Feel free to use any amount of arrowheads, as long as you deep fry them in batches.