Last Updated October 11th, 2019
What are water chestnuts?
Though they are termed as chestnuts they aren’t nuts at all. In fact, they are aquatic tuber vegetables that are found growing inside paddy fields, ponds, shallow lakes, and marshes. This aquatic vegetable is native to, many islands in India, Taiwan, Southern China Australia, Africa, Pacific oceans, and Southeast Asia. Water chestnuts are ready for harvesting when the bulb turns into a dark brown color. This vegetable is enjoyed raw or cooked and is one of the commonly used vegetables in many Asian dishes such as salads, chop suey, stir-fries, and curries.
What are the health benefits of water chestnut?
They are rich in nutrients but low in calories
Water chestnuts are loaded with nutrients. A single serving of 100 grams of water chestnuts provides the following nutritional value:
- Calories: 97
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Carbs: 23.9 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Potassium: 17% of the RDI
- Manganese: 17% of the RDI
- Copper: 16% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 16% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 12% of the RDI
They also provide great sources of fibers and are accountable for 12% of daily fiber intake. Studies have proved that the constant intake of fibers help promote bowel movements, regulate blood sugar levels, promote gut health, and reduce blood cholesterol levels. They are high in water content and low calories. Most of the carbs present in them are acquired from the water.
They may contain high amounts of antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that play a vital role in preventing the body from harmful molecules called free radicals. When free radicals accumulate in the body they interfere with the body’s defense and lead to a state known as oxidative stress (an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants).
Oxidative stress is associated to cause a high risk of chronic diseases such as heart, diabetes, and many types of cancers. These antioxidants are abundantly present in water chestnut in the form of ferulic acid. This ferulic acid (antioxidant), in addition to providing antioxidative qualities, it also helps keep the water chestnut crispy and crunchy while cooking.
May help lower blood pressure
People are prone to develop heart disease due to elevated levels of blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, high bad cholesterol levels, and strokes. Interestingly, water chestnuts contain high amounts of potassium. Studies have interlinked the consumption of potassium with reduced risks of strokes and elevated blood pressure levels. These two factors are the major concerns that cause a risk of several heart diseases.
May promote weight loss
Water chestnuts are categorized as high volume foods. These high volume foods contain a lot of water or air. These two elements are completely calorie-free. Water chestnuts also contain low-calorie content but they effectively curb hunger. By consuming water chestnuts you are provided with a filling effect that can be an effective strategy to curtail your food intake and thereby help with weight loss. As they grow amidst water beds, water chestnuts are almost 75% water. If you are struggling with hunger during your dieting venture then one of the best ways to control your hunger is by having water chestnuts.
Best ways to add water chestnut to your diet
Water chestnuts are a delicacy across Asian countries. They are enjoyed in varied forms such as grilled, boiled, raw, candied, or pickled. Below are few of the popular water chestnut recipes that tangle your taste buds.
Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts
- This smoky bacon wrapped water chestnut is a party appetizer. The chestnuts are soaked in soy sauce and marinated at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. The water chestnuts are then wrapped with bacon and the combination is secured with a toothpick or stick. Bake it for about 30 minutes until the fat from the bacon begins to drip into the water chestnuts.
- Prepare a sauce with ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce (a sauce consisting of anchovies layered in brine, tamarinds in molasses, garlic in vinegar, chilies, cloves, shallots, and sugar) in a bowl. Once the bacon wrapped water nuts are cooked transfer them into the bowl with sauce and coat them evenly.
- Once coated bake them for another 15 minutes until the coating becomes crispy. Now serve hot bacon wrapped water chestnuts with pepper sprinkled over it.
Stir-fried chicken with broccoli, water chestnuts, and peppers
- Place a wok over high heat and add peanut oil. Twist the wok to evenly coat it with oil. Once the oil is hot and smokes, add garlic, green onions, ginger, and cubed chicken pieces. Fry it well until the chicken becomes lightly brown.
- Now add the water chestnuts and broccoli and stir the mixture for a minute. Add soya sauce and sesame oil and sauté for 30 seconds.
- On completion add chicken stock, pepper, and salt and bring it to boil for 3 to 4 minutes. You can now enjoy this semi gravy stir fry of water chestnuts with steamed rice.
- This amazing dish of chop suey is a blend of American and Chinese legacy. Mix garlic cloves, a tablespoon of oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, and half a cup of cornstarch in a bowl. After a few minutes stir pork along with the mixture and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Dice vegetables such as snow peas, water chestnuts, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, bok choy, onions, and sprouted beans. High heat a wok and add vegetable oil and individually stir-fry all the vegetables with seasoning salt.
- Transfer the stir-fried vegetables into a bowl. Now mix chicken broth, one teaspoon oyster sauce, and one teaspoon cornstarch in a bowl. Now fry the marinated pork in the wok for a few minutes.
- Once the pork is fried, add all the vegetables and the prepared chicken broth to the mixture. Bring it to a boil and evenly combine the pork and the vegetables along with the chicken broth. Chop suey is ready for services with steamed rice.
- Mix the teriyaki sauce (a combination of soy sauce and cornstarch along with vinegar, garlic, or ginger) with some garlic cloves. Once the mixture is done add the chicken liver and water chestnuts to it.
- Toss the mixture well and marinate for one hour in the refrigerator. Alongside soak 24 toothpicks in cold water for a minimum of one hour. After an hour remove the liver and water chestnuts and discard the remaining marinade.
- Now place a liver and water chestnut on bacon and make it into a neat parcel and secure the bundle of taste with a toothpick. Preheat the boiler. Place the wrapped chestnuts and liver into the oven for a few minutes.
- Broil the rumaki and coat it with some additional teriyaki sauce and allow it to boil for 2minutes and repeat the same procedure to the other side of the rumaki.
- Once broiled well, serve these delicious rumaki teriyakis on a serving tray.
Lettuce chicken wraps
- Soften the Chinese mushrooms by soaking them in hot water for five minutes. Once softened chop them finely.
- Heat olive oil in a large nonstick pan and once the oil is hot add the finely chopped mushrooms and sauté for two minutes.
- Now add the ground chicken and stir-fry it for four to five minutes. As the chicken mixes with the other ingredients it breaks into smaller pieces. Once it’s broken down into pieces add wine, sesame oil, sesame seeds, water chestnuts, garlic, and oyster sauce.
- Evenly mix all the ingredients and cook for a few minutes until it is caramelized. Once cooked add spring onions and remove from heat.
- Clean the radicchio leaf and spread some plum sauce on the leaf. Once done spread the chicken mixture and enjoy a delicious wrap of lettuce chicken.
Crab with baked spring rolls
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Preheat a skillet and add oil. Fry onions, pepper, water chestnuts, and celery for two to three minutes.
- Make sure that you remove the veggies just in time so that they don’t soften but have a crunchy texture. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Combine sprouted beans, crab, soy, and thyme.
- Paint half a sheet of phyllo dough with butter and arranged it like a wrap. Add all the ingredients including the crab inside the wrap and coat it with butter.
- Bake rolls for fifteen minutes and ensure that they are light brown.
Water chestnut – A great addition to taste and health
These seasonal aquatic vegetables are altogether nutritious and delicious. They provide great sources of antioxidants and other relevant compounds that play a vital role in preventing diseases associated with age, such as cancer and heart complications. They are highly versatile and can be an active ingredient in many dishes. In order to reap its health benefits, it is just a try away. Add water chestnuts to your diet and indulge in the benefits that it nurtures.
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