Water chestnuts are synonymous to Chinese cuisine. They are the ones that makes water chestnuts popular all over the world except we only see them mostly in cans. Once in a while you will see them in Chinatown but you probably will not recognize it because they look like the corms of certain flowering plants like gladiolus, freesia and crocus. The only difference is the plant look like grass or sedge and they grow in water or marshes just like in the picture.
I am fortunate to see this water chestnuts as corms when I was growing up in the Philippines. We buy them in the market already boiled and ready to eat like peanuts. It is one of my favorite snacks although they are not as big as the Chinese water chestnuts. And I feel fortunate now too that I was able to grow them myself and see how the plants look like which I never did when I was a kid.
My Chinese girlfriend gave me some plants to start with and I put them in a bucket like a small fish pond. And I was so excited to see them grow.
The crunchy and nutty flavor of the water chestnuts makes it an indispensable part of Chinese cuisine. It actually stays crisp even after cooking just like the lotus root because of its property called ferulic acid.
Water chestnut is rich in carbohydrates, source of fiber, riboflavin, Vit B6, and other good for you stuffs like potassium, copper and manganese.
Chinese cooks used water chestnuts in almost all their stir fries. I like to use them too when I stir fry mix vegetables like broccoli, beansprouts, Chinese snow peas, mushrooms with tofu as protein. It is also my secret in making “Shanghai lumpia”.