Sunday, January 22, 2012

Arrowhead chips

Chinese New Year is only a few days away, and as our yearly tradition during the Lunar New Year, we fry quite a large amount of arrowhead chips or in Chinese, known as ngaku. The smell of these addictive, fattening too but oh so addictive chips fill the air as we fry them fresh in our own kitchen and you can't help but throw a few pieces into your mouth as you work hard over a hot wok of oil to fry them. Sort of like potato chips but with a lot my depth in flavour in each crunch really. You'd need a very good Japanese mandolin for this or they'll come out too thick.
Peel the fresh arrowhead and make sure you take out all the brown parts. Use a knife to cut off the ends then use a fruit peeler to remove the skin. Soak them in some water while you get them all done, then drain them just right before frying.
Make sure you have a sharp japanese mandolin and adjust the thickness of your chips. You can test it out and get the best crunch and flavour! Too thin and you won't taste the arrowhead. But the crunch factor is very important to achieve. Just the sound makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! 

Heat your oil in a wok/pot. Test the temperature of the oil with one piece of the arrowhead. There should be bubbles forming around the chip and that's how you tell that the oil is hot enough. Hold the mandolin above the wok and slice the arrowhead directly in the oil, do be careful and make sure you have a tight grip on the mandolin as you don't want to have an accident with hot oil involved. AND make sure you're using the protective grip to slice not your bare hands! It's very sharp and you don't want to be missing a finger during chinese new year! 

If the arrowhead chips stick together, just use two forks and separate them as fast as you can cause when it starts to get crisp it'll be impossible! 
The chips will turn slightly golden. The colour of a potato chip to be exact! Use a spider sieve to take the chips out and drain the chips on lots of paper towels. That's to make it less fattening, if that's even possible.
Store the chips in airtight containers and munch on them all day during chinese new year! Be sure to hit the gym after to get back to your healthy self :)

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