Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food Column – And these are? Water Chestnuts

And these are? Water Chestnuts

Wandering around a food market in Wanon, Northern Thailand…and losing myself among the sights and smells of beautiful tempting Thai food. I spied a few fruits and vegetables which were unknown to me and this one. Although once I knew what it was then I recognised the taste ….without knowing the name I was puzzled I sort of knew the taste but didn’t connect the dots…lol

We were talking and looking for these a few weeks ago when were thinking about what to cook for dinner and reminiscing about the Chinese food we remembered having years ago with these crunchy water chestnuts never got many just a few slices… I was then looking in the shops at imported goods to see if I could them and no luck…Then there they were the other day right under my nose and fresh ones….strange world… When your thoughts take you unexpectedly to what you were looking for.

Usually available in specialty groceries or supermarkets, they should be washed thoroughly and peeled with a sharp knife, especially if to be eaten raw. At this point, adding a few drops of lemon juice keeps them from turning brown when steamed or sautéed.

Once peeled, they’ll only remain fresh in water that’s changed daily for two to three days.

Chinese Chicken with Water Chestnuts.


  • ½ lb of chicken breasts or pork finely sliced.
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of corn flour or arrowroot
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp of spring onions
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated or julienned
  • 2 cups of water chestnuts peeled and sliced ( tinned are fine) and can be found in most
  • Asian sections of supermarkets.
    1 cup of bamboo sliced (optional) or bean sprouts.

N.B…I have started using arrowroot instead of corn flour it is tasteless and gives a glossy sauce and where corn flour has a slight taste and cloudy appearance arrowroot is glossy and clear. It is a great thickener and can easily replace corn flour.

Arrowroot powder is fast gaining in popularity in the western world as people are looking for substitutes and alternatives to cornstarch either because they have corn allergies/sensitivities or they want to avoid anything GMO and laden with pesticides.

Let’s Cook!

Mix the sherry, soy sauce and arrowroot together, set to one side.

Heat the oil in a pan and add chicken /pork and stir fry for 2 minutes add garlic, spring onions, ginger and bamboo and stir fry for a further 3 minutes or until meat is cooked.

Add water chestnuts and stir fry I minute then add the arrowroot mix and stir fry for another minute or two until juice thickens slightly add beans sprouts if using.

I always add my bean sprouts if using add the very end as I like mine crisp and just cooked.

Serve immediately with steamed rice or noodles…


My second recipe for today is a Thai dessert made from water chestnuts. It is called Ta-Ko Haew…..Sweet Water Chestnut with Coconut Custard.


  • For base:
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour.
  • 1 3/4 cup water.
  • 1/4 cup pandan leaf juice. This gives lovely soft green colour which is often seen in Thai desserts.
  • 8 oz can water chestnuts or fresh if you can get them.
  • 1/3 cup sugar.
  • For topping:
  • 1 can coconut milk or again fresh coconut milk if you can get.
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1tsp salt.

Let’s Cook!

Dice the chestnuts very small.

Mix both flours and sugar together add water and pandan leaf juice. Mix well. Put in pan and bring to the boil, stirring it until the mixture thickens add the diced water chestnuts and bring back to the boil then remove from the heat.

Spoon the mixture into small individual foil cups. Or if you have banana leaves then they would be traditionally wrapped in a banana leaf or on the markets they are sliced into squares and displayed.

Now make the topping.

Mix the coconut milk, sugar, rice flour and salt together bring slowly to a soft boil whilst stirring until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and spoon over the bases.

Allow to cool and serve immediately.

These are lovely if you enjoy sweet desserts…


I hope you have enjoyed this post and if you use water chestnuts what do you cook them with or do you eat them raw ???

As always a massive thank you to Carol for these wonderful recipes. An ingredient that we take for granted when we eat our takeaways but something now to use in our own kitchens.

©Carol Taylor 2018

You can find previous columns in the directory:

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol

New additional Blog:


If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:

Carol would love your feedback and questions.. thank you for stopping by.. Sally

34 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food Column – And these are? Water Chestnuts

  1. Pingback: Carol Taylor’s Food Column: Water Chestnuts – The Militant Negro™

    • You are welcome, Debby…I have only just started using arrowroot I am gradually looking at everything I use and if I like the replacement am using it. There are so many of the ingredients I have always used which have viable substitutes which are healthier. I love water chestnuts as well and it was a pleasant surprise when I bought them and started my sleuthing…haha. Right under my nose and fresh, I continue to be surprised at what I find on my travels here. Thank you for your comment 🙂 x

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well I appreciate your interesting shares. I haven’t felt too creative in the kitchen since I began writing books, mostly cooking what I know as opposed to my old pattern of wanting to experiment, so now I’m getting that from you. 🙂 xx

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you Debby…Much of mine is because of my intended cookbooks but also because I just want to preserve this old bod as long as I can…lol and because and I am not going to rant I think all food manufacturer do not care about consumer health but their profits at any rant over girlfriend xxx

        Liked by 2 people

      • I hear you on all counts! I try my best to live healthy too, only I’m quite happy eating boring food sometimes so your offerings are a treat. With all my food allergies and lost passion for spending time in the kitchen creating I’ve become a person who eats to live instead of one who lives to eat. Thank goodness for that in many ways it doesn’t throw the scales off! LOL 🙂 xx

        Liked by 2 people

      • I am in that camp too because..once I get involved in writing I have to remind myself to eat and then if I have left it too late I then don’t want my dinner ..I have to give myself a talking every so often. But I only eat two meals a day and one snack if I

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Retired? No one told me! and commented:
    Water chestnuts one of my latest finds…I always seem to discover something new at every market I visit…I hope you enjoy this post which was written for my food column on Smorgasbord and hosted by the wonderful Sally. Sally will soon be off on her birthday jolly and I hope you have a wonderful time Sally xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These recipes sound delicious and quite simple to make – both of which appeal to me. I’ve become suck a lazy person in the kitchen. Always loved water chestnuts though have only used canned ones in the past. don’t know that I would be able to find fresh ones here in Scotland. Thanks, Carol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food Column – And these are? Water Chestnuts | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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