|Chinese water chestnut|
|illustration circa 1880|
(Burm.f.) Trin. ex Hensch.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||406 kJ (97 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||3 g|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
The Chinese water chestnut or water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) is a grass-like sedge native to Asia (China, Japan, India, Philippines, etc.), Australia, tropical Africa, and various islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is widely grown in many countries for its edible corms.
The water chestnut is actually not a nut at all, but an aquatic vegetable that grows in marshes, underwater in the mud. It has tube-shaped, leafless green stems that grow to about 1.5 metres. The water caltrop, which is also referred to by the same name, is unrelated and often confused with the water chestnut.
The small, rounded corms have a crisp white flesh and can be eaten raw, slightly boiled, or grilled, and are often pickled or tinned. They are a popular ingredient in Chinese dishes. In China, they are most often eaten raw, sometimes sweetened. They can also be ground into a flour form used for making water chestnut cake, which is common as part of dim sum cuisine. They are unusual among vegetables for remaining crisp even after being cooked or canned, because their cell walls are cross-linked and strengthened by certain phenolic compounds, like oligomers of ferulic acid. This property is shared by other vegetables that remain crisp in this manner, including the tiger nut and lotus root.
The corms are rich in carbohydrates (about 90% by dry weight), especially starch (about 60 percent by dry weight), and are also a good source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Raw water chestnuts are slightly sweet and very crunchy. Boiled water chestnuts have a firm and slightly crunchy texture, with a flavor that is very mild and slightly nutty, so it can be easily overpowered by any seasonings or sauces with which the water chestnut is served or cooked. Water chestnuts are often combined with bamboo shoots, coriander, ginger, sesame oil, and snow peas. They are often used in noodle or rice dishes.
The Chinese water chestnut (traditional Chinese: 荸薺; simplified Chinese: 荸荠; hanyu pinyin: bíqi, 馬蹄; pinyin:mǎtí) is native to China and is widely cultivated in flooded paddy fields in southern China and parts of the Philippines. In Vietnam, it is called củ mã thầy (in the North) and củ năng (in the South) and is the main ingredient of bánh củ năng hấp, chè mã thầy. In Thailand it is called somwang (สมหวัง) and it is often used in dessert as tabtim krob (ทับทิมกรอบ). In India it is commonly known as Singhada, shingada or singoda.
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