More Water Chestnuts

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As a co-worker opened up her lunch of Chinese take-out she posed what is perhaps the most poignant question I’ve heard all year: Why aren’t there more water chestnuts in our daily lives?

The water chestnut, or “Eleocharis dulcis” if you want to get technical, is not a nut at all. Rather, it is an aquatic vegetable native to marshes in Asia. The result is a crunchy, watery, light little morsel.

Though I’m a big fan, if I’m being honest I’ll admit that I don’t really know what they taste like in their purest form. Mild in flavor, they pretty much take on the profile of whatever ingredients they are doused in; which makes them the perfect compliment to saucy Asian dishes and the like.

I’ve had a can of water-chestnuts sitting in my pantry for about two years. I love the little buggers, but for the life of me I can’t really figure out what to do with them; I know I could whip up a generic pan-asian stir-fry but it seems like it wouldn’t really do them justice. So instead, they sit there, haunting me. A constant reminder that I’m afraid of what I do not understand.

So, I guess that answers my co-workers query: there aren’t more water chestnuts in our daily lives because people lack courage.

Such is life.

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