Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chi Gu Chips

Arrowroot Chi gu chips

note: I was mistaken by the English name for these bulbs. They are NOT arrowroot, which is a different thing.

Arrowroot Chi Gu bulbs

My father had two ways with arrowroot chi gu bulbs, an aquatic plant. He either put them in a shallow bowl of water and stones about a month before CNY to get a green healthy decorative plant (signifying spring and new beginnings) for the celebrations or he cooked the sliced bulbs with cured pressed duck. I didn't quiet like arrowroot bulbs cooked that way because I could detect the slight, very slight bitterness in them. But turned into chips, arrowroot bulbs are delicious. You know I have a weakness for good potato chips, which is very lacking here. I don't know why Merdeka and Tong Hing Supermarkets carry such *bleep* imported potato chips as Oregon Fresh (an oxymoron name because the chips smell stale and rancid, maybe because they're expensive and are on the shelves forever) and Kettle (can taste real potato in them but they are so hard my brains rattle when I bite on them and they also stay on the shelves until clearance sale) respectively and the local horrors Jack N Jill (they are chips not rubber prophylactics) & Mister Potato chips, when they could just give us good old Lays or Smiths chips. That's why I love Lintas Supermarket, behind Apiwon in Luyang, because it's the only supermarket that sells Lays potato chips. And that's also where I found taro at RM4.50/US$1.25 per kg and arrowroot at RM4.99/US$1.40 per kg whereas the other places are selling the same things for RM8/kg and RM12-15/kg respectively!

I nicked and skinned all the fingers on my right hand yesterday slicing the arrowroot bulbs with a mandoline. Making arrowroot chips is straightforward. Just slice and fry but getting good chips is another thing. Some chips among the whole batch remained soft and soggy and I had to pick them out. I tried frying at low heat and at high heat but both ways I still got a couple of soggy chips. If the heat is too high, the chips turn brown and bitter. I tried frying about 12 slices each time and I ended up frying chips all night and woke up with a headache this morning. Maybe I should've dried the chips in the sun before I fried them? Any experience to share?

Arrowroot chips are very tasty. They have a slight flavor but my Hub can't even tell they aren't potato chips, which surprises me. Sometimes I think my culinary efforts are wasted on him. He can't tell if something is on the way to rot; the rest of us won't eat something that's off but he'd not notice it or that we're not eating. Then he looks up and catches us making eyes and goes "What?" I once got into the car and he said, "Nice dress". It was a dress I'd been wearing for 7-8 years. After a radical hair cut once, I asked if he noticed anything different and he said "New dress?".

Arrowroot Chips
1 kg arrowroot  chigu
1/2 t salt
oil for frying

1. Peel (update 14/1/2012: I don't peel the chi gu anymore. Just peel remove the thin 'skin' and scrub well. Less wastage and more fiber) the arrowroot but leave the stem on because you'll need them to hold on to as you slice them into thin slices (the thinner the better) with a mandoline. That's a tip I got from here.

2. Toss the arrowroot bulbs with the salt and leave for an hour.

3. Now, my advice is to bandage all the fingers on your working hand with plaster bandages to prevent skinning them. Get a mandoline that gives the thinnest slices and slice all the arrowroot bulbs (do not rinse away the salt) with a to and fro movement. Update: If you are patient, arrange the arrowroot slices on trays or colanders and leave for a couple of hours (I left them out 1 hour and they were still wet) to dry.

4. Heat up lots of oil and fry the slices in small batches until slightly golden. You have to put the slices one by one into the oil so that they will not stick together. The chips will turn darker even after frying so remove them from the oil when they just turn golden. Drain on paper towels, cool and store in CNY canisters. No need to salt them.


Anonymous said...

Hi Terry

I have been following your blog for quite awhile now, and I totally love the way you tell your stories :)

By the way, you should try Kettle's crisp. The honey dijon flavour is totally awesome.

Oh yeah, Happy CNY, and I look forward to more postings on your CNY cooking and such..


Lakshmi said...

Happy CNY to you and family. Drying arrow root slices before your deep fry yields crispier chips.

javapot said...

after peeling, try slicing with mandoline straight into the hot oil.

Precious Pea said...

I made some yesterday night and i usually use my peeler to peel it straight into my wok. You get really paper thin slices. They are so addictive aren't they? I have to hide and lock it away to prevent myself from nibbling each time i enter my kitchen.

Big Boys Oven said...

this is my favourite, can sapu the whole tin! hehehehehe!

red | hongyi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
red | hongyi said...

HAHAHA daddy is such a blur-fish! remember when I had those really awful eyebrows years ago and BOTH of us got really depressed about it? I asked dad if he noticed anything and rmb him saying, 'u got a new haircut?' hahaha SO CLUELESS!

oh the chips look yummy. i think im really missing out on CNY this time. there's a small cny celebration in tudelft for chinese students, and you know what's on the programmes? program no.1: 'watch tv with fellow students'


ChopSuey said...

hi Terri,

2 tips: try using a "fingerguard" on your mandoline to save your knuckles and fingertips. it's a plastic shield that goes on top of the mandoline but doesn't allow you to slice all the way down the last bit of arrowroot.

second, blot off the arrowroot, and you may save yourself a little moisture but not by much.

and i love reading your blog! greetings from toronto, ON, Canada!


Big Boys Oven said...

Gong Hei! Gong Hei! wish you a great year! :)

terri@adailyobsession said...

rach: why, thank YOU, and gong xi fa cai to u n family too :) I have tried kettle's olive oil chips n another flavor (salt & vinegar?) n altho there is the real taste of potatoes, the chips are too hard. i prefer light crispy chips to hard crispy ones.

lg: yes, i did leave them out for an hour but they were still wet. mayber like you said i shd've let them dry longer. thanks, n gong xi fa cai!

javapot: i tired that at first nut it got very stressful, peeling, stirring and making sure the chips don't burn at the same time. gong xi fa cai!

pp: ah, a veg peeler. tt's a good idea but didn't you get any cuts on ur fingers? hey, gong xi fa cai to u an family. smart to make it home for CNY--all those food.

bbo: looks like verybody's favoraite :))gong xi fa cai boys!

hongyi: so u're lucky u get to go to hamburg this weekend. rmber, 1st day of CNY is sunday the 14th. we'll be at Na's. call u. "Xin nien guen bu"

chopsuey: thanks for the tips. i am a lazy cook, taking short cuts all the time n thought of blotting the slices of bulbs but too lazy to bother :D. hey, toronto eh, my fav city in canada (even though vancouver is prettier :DD)

Zurin said...

mmmmm I like!!!!

louisebah said...

Hi Terry!

I had arrowroot chips at a friend's place for the new year!! Very, very good!!

I'm from KK too :) but live in KL now.

Zeniavoice said...


Love your blog.
Why is it that my arrowroot chips turned 'limp' and will not keep?
Do you need to dry them before frying?

terri@adailyobsession said...

lileague: it's a good idea to dab-dry the slices of arrowroot b4 frying. i think your chips turned out limp bc you didn't fry them long enough. don't use high heat n don't overcrowd the wok.

Taephy said...

Hi Terri - didn't know plain old su ku is called arrowroot. To rid bitter taste soak them for about a day and stew with pork - delicious. Better than potatoes.

terri@adailyobsession said...

taephy: is tt a secret name or code? :)) ah, su ku, i always called it ci ku but tt's the same as the fruit too. so now i know, it's su ku. ok, will try stewing with pork b4 suku season is over.thnx!

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