Water chestnuts are in fact not related to regular chestnuts at all. They’re the fruit of a species of water plants, common here in China. I believe I may have eaten them once or twice back in Holland, but always canned. In China, of course, it’s much easier to get fresh ones. And then you can see that they do look like their namesakes after all.
Water chestnuts are shapes like small flat balls and have a brown skin that needs to be peeled. Once peeled a white, potato-like fruit is left. When you eat it raw it resembles an apple in texture and even in taste. It’s not overly sweet or overly sour, so it can be used as a filler and an added crunch in any salad or stir-fry. It won’t give any overpowering flavor, but it adds a bit of texture. I stir-fried mine with chicken, pineapple, ginger and a Thai sweet chili sauce, serving it over rice. It turned out rather nice, like a sweet and sour chicken.
Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 6