Ingredient Name:  Water chestnuts also known as Chinese water chestnuts
Traditional Chinese Name:  馬蹄 (mǎtí)
What is this?
  • The edible corn (or root) portion of the water chestnut plant
  • It is a small round corn with crispy white flesh
  • It can be consumed raw, boiled, steamed, grilled, pickled, and used in a variety of Chinese desserts, dishes and soups
  • It is slightly sweet and retains its crispiness (even after being cooked)

How do I prepare it?

  • Fresh water chestnuts contain a high amount of dirt because they grow submerged in water
  • Rinse well under warm water
  • Peel with a knife of peeler (like you would an apple) the skin of the water chestnut
  • Some people like to soak in slightly salted water (to prevent browning of the root)

Where can I buy this?

  • You can purchase fresh water chestnuts from most Asian supermarkets and wet marts in Hong Kong
  • You can also purchase frozen water chestnuts
  • Canned water chestnuts are also available

What is the cost?

  • Water chestnuts are relatively affordable and costs around $5 HKD for 10 medium sized water chestnuts

Any benefits?

  • Water chestnuts are an excellent source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, potassium, copper and manganese
  • They contain a high amount of carbohydrates and starch
  • It is a relatively cooling food and is said to help relieve coughs

Any precautions?

  • Due to its relatively cooling effect, pregnant women (especially those who have not yet reached 3 months to term) should consume with caution
  • Raw water chestnuts contain a disease called Fasciolopsiasis, in which a parasite infects the plant (the water chestnut) being eaten.  This can cause in extreme cases diarrhea, fever, stomach pains and fever – so be sure to boil and cook water chestnuts thoroughly before consumption

Any substitutes?

  • Depending on the soup you’re making, you can substitute with fresh apples, but then you may be better off making another soup instead and not use arrowroots

Additional Information?

  • Fresh water chestnuts can keep in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks if sealed
  • Frozen water chestnuts can keep for up to 6 months in the freezer
  • You can also purchase canned water chestnuts