Not really a nut at all, the water chestnut is actually a corm (bulb-like root). They are flat and round and usually about 3cm in diameter, have papery dark brown skins and are peeled before use to reveal their white flesh.
Fresh water chestnuts are popular in Chinese cuisine, but canned, peeled chestnuts are more commonly used in Western cookery. Water chestnuts are prized in Chinese cookery not for their flavour which is quite bland, but for their crunchy texture which is retained if cooked quickly.
Uses: In stir fries and a variety of Chinese dishes to add a crunchy texture.
To prepare: Peel fresh water chestnuts and slice thinly before cooking. Rinse and drain canned water chestnuts before slicing and cooking.
To store: Fresh water chestnuts will keep, unpeeled in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Opened canned water chestnuts should be stored in water and used within 3-4 days.
To cook: Stir fry fresh sliced water chestnuts for 5 minutes and sliced canned water chestnuts for 2 minutes. If the chestnuts are cooked for any longer they will not retain their crunchy texture.