|Eleocharis dulcis |
(Burm.f.) Trin. ex Hensch.
The small, rounded corms have a crispy white flesh and can be eaten raw, slightly boiled, grilled, pickled, or tinned. They are a popular ingredient in Chinese dishes. In China, they are most often eaten raw, sometimes sweetened. They can also be ground into a flour form used for making water chestnut cake, which is common as part of dim sum cuisine. They are unusual among vegetables for remaining crisp even after being cooked or canned, because their cell walls are cross-linked and strengthened by certain phenolic compounds. This property is shared by other vegetables that remain crisp in this manner, including the tiger nut and lotus root.
The corms are rich in carbohydrates (about 90 percent by dry weight), especially starch (about 60 percent by dry weight), and are also a good source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and manganese.
If eaten uncooked, the surface of the plants can transmit Fasciolopsiasis.