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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

Leave a Comment

44 Responses to “Huai Shan & Arrowhead Chicken Soup”

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  1. celine — February 1, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    curious about the pairing …. like ABC soup, huh? will need to try it out real soon. i am a frog in the well, the only form of arrowhead i had is arrowhead chips!


    • wiffy replied: — February 4th, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

      I’m a bigger frog in the well. Only heard of arrowhead, and arrowhead chips, when I read wokkingmum’s blog post. Prev saw them at supermarkets and wonder what “strange veggie” this is lol


      • celine replied: — February 8th, 2010 @ 7:45 am

        made it for dinner last night, and it was GOOD! i like the “clear and natural taste”. kids (and hubby) said that it MUCH BETTER than the infamous ABC. thanks, not a noob, (haha) for sharing the recipe ……

        • wiffy replied: — February 8th, 2010 @ 9:46 am

          happy to hear you like it! yes there is a “natural” taste which I can’t quite describe, it’s really a taste I savor. Thanks for your kind words! :-)

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes — February 1, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    wow…this is definitely a soup for both body and soul!


  3. Doris — February 1, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

    My mom used to stir fry it with pork. Its really delicious.


    • wiffy replied: — February 4th, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

      That sounds delicious. I must try it out one day :)


  4. MaryMoh — February 2, 2010 @ 12:20 am

    This looks simple, delicious and nutritious. I love it. Haven’t seen the arrowroot here. More searching needed…hmmm


  5. ravnouscouple — February 2, 2010 @ 2:54 am

    ohh thanks for teaching us about the arrowhead root!


    • wiffy replied: — February 4th, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

      hope you can find it easily in the US :)


  6. Bob — February 2, 2010 @ 3:44 am

    Never heard of arrowhead, but it sounds intriguing. The soup looks great!


  7. gertrude — February 2, 2010 @ 7:10 am

    I love fresh Wai San soup but never thought of adding arrowhead to it. I am going to add it the next time I made wai san soup again.


    • wiffy replied: — February 4th, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

      Hope you like it. The addition of arrowhead is not intrusive … it complements the mild taste of wai san :)


  8. lisaiscooking — February 2, 2010 @ 7:18 am

    I’d never heard of arrowhead, so I learned something new today! Love that. Your soup looks fantastic!


  9. Lia Chen — February 2, 2010 @ 8:00 am

    I’m not sure whether I ever try arrowhead before. I love this simple but yet very interesting soup!


  10. Ching — February 2, 2010 @ 8:27 am

    Oh yes, I know huai shan is very good for us. I haven’t tried it yet, perhaps I should since I also see arrowhead for sales here.


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