Huai Shan & Arrowhead Chicken 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.
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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.
- 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.
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.
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