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Using fresh water chestnuts

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wegmans just opened around the corner from my office and i am obsessed...i heard recently that fresh water chestnuts are de-lish...saw them today lunchtime and bot them and now need idea of something to do with them. cut'em up and eat them plain?

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Peel them first. :laugh: You can actually keep the peeled nuts in water for a couple of days.

But yeah, you could eat them plain. They are sweet and crisp and nutty. You'll never want to eat canned again.

If you slice them very thin and saute them, they make a great garnish.

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what about rumaki? (is that right??) a water chestnut wrapped in bacon?

i love to use them in soup and in stuffings (dressings) because they don't lose their crunch. they are similar in taste and texture to (though less starchy than) jicama. i love them in salads, thinly sliced in spicy soups and in fried rice.

the one thing about them is that they aren't pretty...they're a little pocky when peeled, and sometimes don't slice perfectly. (as you've noticed - my preparations for them don't require pristine presentation)

enjoy!


from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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Fresh waterchestnuts are great. One thing you can do is use them in any Chinese recipe that calls for waterchestnuts and taste the difference. But you could also make sweets with them, such as by candying them or making an ice cream with them.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Fresh waterchestnuts are great. One thing you can do is use them in any Chinese recipe that calls for waterchestnuts and taste the difference. But you could also make sweets with them, such as by candying them or making an ice cream with them.

i get the candying. how would i make cream with them? would i use them like ginger?

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Fresh waterchestnuts are great. One thing you can do is use them in any Chinese recipe that calls for waterchestnuts and taste the difference. But you could also make sweets with them, such as by candying them or making an ice cream with them.

i get the candying. how would i make cream with them? would i use them like ginger?

I've never made ice cream, so I really can't advise you on technique, but I think it could be a very good thing.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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BUMP.

I've come across an irregular source for water chestnuts myself. Should I peel them immediately and put them in water? Or should I peel them when I'm ready to use them? Also, does anyone know of dishes that are designed to showcase their freshness?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Boil, unpeeled, in water with... Rock sugar (the golden kind if you can get it). Make it as sweet as you like it. When done, the water will be greenish and the inside of the water chestnut should not be white.

I'll ask mom what are the other ingredients and come back to post.

Edited to add: Mom says nothing else. Just water chestnuts, water and sugar to taste. The texture of the boiled water chestnut is very different from raw, but still good!


Edited by miladyinsanity (log)

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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My one experience with fresh water chestnuts convinced me that the best thing to do with them is leave them in the grocery store. Their taste and texture weren't much different from jicama, which is much easier to peel, slice, and use in general.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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They turn brown almost instantly on contact with the air when you slice them, so I always work with a bowl of lemon-water into which I toss them as I trim them. (acually I use ascorbic-acid and water more, but lemon juice works too)

First time I used them I wrapped them in thin slices of some cured pig-product along with a spot of cream cheese, green onion slivers & black pepper which was nice, though overly fancy.

I agree with melissah about them being very similar to jicama. Gonna have to try using that as a sub for them next time...

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The Chinese market I frequent has fresh water chestnuts in:

gallery_19804_437_14052.jpg

gallery_19804_437_68470.jpg

If you've only had the canned variety, you don't know the subtle, sweet flavor and wonderful texture of fresh water chestnuts. They are sold with the mud still on them; you wash them off and peel the brown skin and any discoloration. In my experience, you also throw out about 10-20% of them out because they're sickly grey inside.

gallery_19804_437_39016.jpg

I made a pork dumpling filling tonight using six of the little buggers -- it was great -- and I'm eager to make a braised short rib dish with the rest tomorrow. I've wondered about making ice cream with them....

What else do people use them for?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I love fresh water chestnuts. And actually, I have never had to throw any out for being grey inside, as far as I can recall. Do you have any tricks for peeling them, though? Man, that was pretty tedious, and I felt like I was wasting huge quantities of the good stuff when I trimmed them up.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Wow cool. I thought they grew in cans like pearls grow in oysters.

:raz:

Although I've never used fresh ones,

I use them in endless salads and dressing/stuffing.

And in tuna muffins:

2 large cans tuna drained

1/2 (tuna) can almond meal

4 eggs beaten well with a tid of water

minced onions

chopped water chestnuts

chopped celery

salt pepper

bake 425-450 degrees

until nicely browned about 25 minutes

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I discovered fresh water chestnuts 35 years ago in NYC's Chinatown. You are right, they are so superior to the canned variety. Sadly, my Chinese cooking has fallen by the wayside in the last decade.

I would slice them thinly & stir-fry with snow peas, dried mushrooms & a few other ingredients which now escape me, probably scallions & a rice wine / garlic sauce.

They also worked well chopped into rough cubes in a chicken / cashew recipe I had that involved hoisin sauce.

I don't remember any clear tricks for peeling them, just had at them with a paring knife.


Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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I love fresh water chestnuts. And actually, I have never had to throw any out for being grey inside, as far as I can recall. Do you have any tricks for peeling them, though? Man, that was pretty tedious, and I felt like I was wasting huge quantities of the good stuff when I trimmed them up.

See there's a good reason to stick to the canned variety.

Would a potato peeler work or is the skin too tough?

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In my extremely limited experience with fresh water chestnuts, they've been useful in all the same dishes as canned -- they're just better. Omelette with water chestnuts and scallions. Water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and roasted. Water chestnuts added to curry chicken salad.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Love these guys. When I get some that are not so nice it is usually because I have not taken the time to lightly squeeze them and run my thumb around them to ensure plumpness. I remove the skins with the knife towards me just like an apple or orange. It give me better control and I lose less flesh. I toss them in wherever they seem appealing. Usually a stir fry or an Asian inspired slaw. I have not braised them, but may try it in the future.

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I clean them by cutting off the root and the stem ends and then just rotate the disc-like body while using a standard potato peeler. Much less loss of meat that a paring knife. I use them in all sorts of ways, sweet potato casserole, stir fries of all sorts but especially with light flavors. To me there is a hint of coconut and fruitiness that is not present in the canned version. They keep peeled wrapped in plastic for several days in the frig. I am crazy about them.

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To me there is a hint of coconut and fruitiness that is not present in the canned version.

I agree completely.

Which makes me really, really like the ice cream idea (or germ of an idea) that you mentioned earlier, Chris. I wonder, too, what they'd do in a quick bread or muffins.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Love then in dumpling fillings. Can't use the canned ones anymore - if I can't get fresh, I use jicama as a substitute per Ming Tsai.


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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My local Whole Foods keeps fresh unpeeled water chestnuts in water, in the fresh veggie display case (the one that rains on your hand as you are about to pick out some lettuce.) I had never seen water chestnuts stored like that before, not even in Chinese markets. It seems to work. The water chestnuts are crispy and white inside. I've begun storing fresh water chestnuts in water in my own fridge, though so far only for a few days before I cook 'em.

Anybody else do this? know about this storage technique?

My dad used to make this dish once a year for Chinese New Year. Such a treat. They're like Chinese tacos. My dad made this dish with chopped pork and added in some finely chopped shittake mushrooms, too.

http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipes/coo...ttuce_wrap.html

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I've wondered about making ice cream with them....

That is a fantastic idea!


"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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Tried eaten them raw a few times, but have not used them in cooking before. hmm, good suggestions above. Chris, excellent close shots by the way! :)

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