Ingredient Name: Water Chestnut. Also called Chinese Water Chestnut
Ingredient Name in Chinese: 馬蹄 (mǎ tí)
- Water chestnut is a corm of an aquatic plant native to China that grows in marshes underwater in the mud. A corm is an edible short swollen plant stem that grows underground and serves as the plants storage organ to survive through winter, drought, or other adverse conditions.
- It is often confused with water caltrop which really is a different species. Water chestnut is also not the same food item as chestnuts.
- The small rounded corm has a paper-thin brown skin and crsipy white flesh that has a slightly sweet taste.
- Water chestnut stays crisp and crunchy even after it is cooked.
- When buying water chestnuts, choose ones that are firm.
Water Chestnut Uses and Health Benefits:
- Water chestnut can be eaten raw, boiled, grilled, and often pickled or canned. It can also be grounded into a flour to make water chestnut cake.
- Water chestnut is rich in carbohydrate and starch, 90% and 60% by dry weight respectively.
- This corm is also a good source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and manganese.
- Rinse fresh water chestnuts under cool water to remove dirt or sand debris before peeling. Sometimes the outer skin can have parasites since the corm grows underwater in muddy marshes.
- Discard any parts of the water chestnut flesh that is bruised, mushy, or has turned yellow under the brown peel. Good water chestnuts should be very hard.
- Store the corms in a dry and cool location. I like to put them in a paper bag inside the refrigerator.
- Although water chestnuts can be eaten raw, I personally prefer to cook them before consumption.
- See a list of soup recipes using water chestnut.
Where to Buy:
- Fresh water chestnuts are available at Asian supermarkets. Some large mainstream chain supermarkets will also carry fresh or canned versions.
- Canned water chestnuts can also be purchased online.
How do you use your water chestnut? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.
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Resources and further reading: Wikipedia