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braised arrowhead root with pork

braised arrowhead root with pork

Braised arrowhead root with pork is a classic dish my family would make every Lunar New Year! It consists of crunchy and potato-like arrowhead roots braised in a thick, savory sauce, Chinese pork belly, and refreshing Chinese celery. It’s the only way my family prepares arrowhead roots!

What are arrowhead roots?

arrowhead root

Arrowhead roots, also known as katniss, duckroot, duck-potato, or wapato, are tubers that have a similar, but crunchier texture compared to a potato. In Chinese, we call these 慈菇 (ci4 gu1 in Cantonese).

They’re starchy and soak up liquids just like a potato, which make them perfect for a braised dish. Arrowhead roots can also be stir-fried, boiled, or fried into chips!

How to prepare arrowhead roots

Arrowhead roots should be peeled and washed thoroughly before consuming. To do this, I like to use the sprout as a little handle while peeling the outer layer. Then, snap off the sprout and peel the area it was connected to.

Make sure to rinse the peeled arrowhead roots in water to remove any extra dirt.

For this specific braised arrowhead root with pork dish, we like to use the side of a knife and smash the arrowhead roots into a few pieces. We do this to create rough, craggly edges on these tubers which are better at holding onto sauce than smoothly-cut edges. It’s the same technique we use for a Chinese cucumber salad!

Ingredients you need to make Chinese braised arrowhead roots

  • arrowhead root
    • These starchy tubers are the center of this dish! I typically find mine at Chinese or Asian supermarkets like 99 Ranch, in the produce and vegetables section.
  • Chinese cured pork belly (lap yuk), or regular pork belly
    • Chinese cured pork belly will add savory and salty flavor to this dish, but you can also use substitute regular pork belly. Both will provide some necessary fat and flavor to this dish!
  • Chinese celery, or regular Western celery
    • Compared to regular or Western celery, Chinese celery has stalks that are more narrow, fibrous, and crunchy, and I find that they have much more flavor. Western celery almost tastes like a watery, diluted version of Chinese celery. You should be able to find these in most Chinese or Asian grocery stores.
  • garlic
    • Lightly smashed garlic cloves add a lovely aroma to this braised dish
  • Chinese soybean paste
    • Made of yellow soybeans, Chinese soybean paste is umami, rich, and salty. It’s similar to miso, and is the main flavor profile of this dish. You can find jars of this in the condiments and seasonings section of an Asian or Chinese grocery store.
  • oyster sauce
    • Oyster sauce adds a touch of sweetness and umami to this dish!
  • sugar
    • Sugar is used to balance out the saltiness of the other ingredients. For the most traditional taste, we use Chinese slab sugar, but you can also substitute white sugar instead (in less amounts, as white granulated sugar is sweeter than Chinese slab sugar).
  • toasted sesame oil
    • Adding a touch of toasted sesame oil at the end gives the dish a slightly nutty aroma.

You may also like these other Chinese veggie recipes:

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braised arrowhead root with pork

Braised Arrowhead Root with Pork

This balanced dish consists of crunchy and potato-like arrowhead roots braised in a thick, savory sauce, Chinese pork belly, and refreshing Chinese celery. It's the only way my family prepares arrowhead roots!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 3


  • 1 lb arrowhead roots 10-12
  • 2 oz Chinese cured pork belly lap yuk or regular pork belly
  • 3 stalks Chinese celery or sub regular celery
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp Chinese soybean paste (sometimes labeled yellow soybean paste)
  • 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 inch piece Chinese slab sugar or 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil


Prepare the ingredients

  • Peel the arrowhead roots. I like to do this by first using the sprout as a handle, then peeling all around it. Then snap off the sprout, and peel the area that connected the sprout to the body. Rinse under water to remove any additional dirt.
    1 lb arrowhead roots
  • Using the side of a knife, smack each arrowhead root until it breaks into 2-3 pieces with craggly edges. These edges create more surface area to hold onto the sauce better.
  • Peel the garlic cloves. Give each a light smash with the side of your knife. Alternatively, mince the garlic.
    3 cloves garlic
  • Slice the Chinese cured pork belly into 1/8th or 1/4th of an inch thick.
    2 oz Chinese cured pork belly
  • Wash and slice the celery stalks into 2-3 inch long pieces.
    3 stalks Chinese celery

Cook the arrowhead root

  • Heat a pan on medium-low heat, and add neutral oil. Once the oil is warm, add the garlic and Chinese cured pork belly. Stir fry for 2 mins or until the garlic is golden, and some fat from the pork belly has rendered.
    1 tbsp neutral oil
  • Add the soybean paste and oyster sauce. Stir-fry for 1-2 mins to release their flavors.
    2 tbsp Chinese soybean paste, 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • Add the arrowhead roots, and stir-fry for another minute.
  • Add the water and sugar to the pan. Bring it up to a simmer, then cover the pan with a lid to let cook for 5 minutes, or until the arrowhead roots have softened slightly.
    2 cups water, 1 inch piece Chinese slab sugar
  • Remove the lid, and simmer for another 3-5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. The texture of the arrowhead roots should be slightly crunchy, but cooked through to the center (similar to a potato with a crunchy exterior).
  • Season with salt to taste. Finish with the celery and sesame oil. We want to maintain the crunchiness of the celery, so just give it a quick stir, and remove from the heat. Enjoy!
    salt, 1/2 tsp sesame oil
Keyword arrowhead root with pork, braised arrowhead roots, chinese arrowhead root, stir fry arrowhead root
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  1. 5 stars
    Thanks so much for posting this. My grandma (ma-ma) made these around Lunar New Year for us and I loved the dish, even though most of my family wasn’t wild about it. She would always make me an extra batch if she knew I was visiting, so I could take it home! Now that she’s gone, it is wonderful to see your blog, as I am trying to keep my culture alive through the food I make for my family. This is a wonderful site!

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