February 11, 2007

Delicious handfuls of golden chips

As Chinese New Year creeps up on us; the family has been stocking up on yummy goodies, bright red decorative pieces and everything festive!
My all time favourite thing about the Chinese New Year is how families make the effort to visit far and wide; catch up and stay in touch.
When family and friends come by; it is expected of us to have a couple of nice snacks; temptingly displayed for guests to munch on while they laugh, chat, and ..... *whispers* ...gamble *cheeky grin*. Hehe...that's where these delicious Chinese new year tidbits come in; another favourite thing of mine! *grin*Known as "Ngah-ku / ngah-gu" in Cantonese; these onion-like Chinese arrowroot bulbs are peeled, thinly sliced and deepfried to golden perfection to create a heavenly, crisp and tantalizing tea-time snack. I prefer them to potato chips ANyday! I sometimes wonder why it only appears during festive Chinese new year seasons...I wonder if it's a seasonal vegetable. Chinese arrowroot blubs are pretty difficult to find at local supermarkets...I don't think I've seen them being sold in Australia at all. They're shaped like chestnuts; only larger and of a completely different flavour. If you see these being sold in your local Chinatown; I strongly suggest you have a go at making these at home!
Here are a couple of pointers to making deliciously perfect ngah gu;
  • Slice them REAL thin; The thinner it gets, the crispier they turn out. It needs to be almost translucent when you pick them up. Careful with the fingers!
  • Use good quality peanut/corn oil. And never fry batches of ngah gu with "old" -used oil. A new batch always gives a clean fresh flavour.
  • Heat oil on high heat and lower heat to medium right before dropping in ngah gu slices
  • Drop ngah gu pieces in one at a time, but very quickly; fry on medium heat
  • Reduce heat once more when removing ngah gu from oil
  • Increase heat before repeating with next batch of ngah gu
Practice...practice...practice.. Nothing says it better...experience is undeniably an important aspect behind the art of playing with fire "temperature" *grin*.
Most of us toss fried ngah gu in a tiny bit of salt before storing it in an air tight container...but personally; I prefer ngah gu unsalted...its fresh, raw arrowroot flavour is perfect as it is.


Flower said...

When I was still working and still in Malaysia, just before Chinese New Year we will get tin and tin of this chippies. So sedap. But so far I havent seen that thing yet in Perth.


Just dropping in to wish you and your loved ones a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Blessed Chinese New Year!

Have lots of fun eating!


Esther said...

Ah I love this stuff! Won't be getting any this year tho, spending CNY in Brisbane.

Happy CNY in advance to u :)

Anonymous said...

OH my how did you do it SuYin. I tried grating two arrowroots and gave up. It was too tiny to hold and grate, ended up cutting with a knife. And the frying was a disaster. I'd rather pay RM13 a tin anytime.. Oh and this is my favourite as well!! Wishing you and family Gong Xi Fa Cai!!

Michael said...

Thanks for your nice post and pics!