As the winter starts in India, one can observe innumerable hawkers with Singhara or water chestnut on the roadsides. The market is also flooded with this aquatic vegetable. The crispy and crunchy features of it are mouth-watering. Due to its low price value and on the other hand of higher nutritional facts, more or less all the people like to purchase it. I also like to bring it for myself as well as for my family members. I relish its crunchy and crispy aspects.
What is a water chestnut?
Water chestnut is an aquatic vegetable, native to the Asian continent, and generally grown in a muddy or marshy area of the land. It is having the shape of a tube and its stems are without leaves. The edible part of the vegetable is the corms, which are whitish in color. Often, they are eaten raw. They are also used after slightly boiled. They are used to make flour and cake (water chestnut cake). Singhara is rich in carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are crispy and crunchy.
Common name of water chestnut
Water chestnut is known by various names in different countries. In China, it is known as Chinese water chestnut, apulid in Philippines, apulid (Vietnam), somwang (Thailand) and Singhad, shingada, or singoda in India. Its biological name or botanical name is Eleocharis dulcis. The other names of water chestnut are water caltrop and Trapa natans.
Amazing uses of water chestnut
They are used along with coriander, rice, noodles, ginger, sesame oil, and bamboo shoots, etc., and give the taste of crunchy and crispy. In Thailand, it is an important component of the famous Thai desert ‘tabtim krob’. In the developed countries, it is used along with bacon strips as an hors d’oeuvre and mix with drinks in Indonesia. They are used in many forms such as powder, juice, cake, flour, sliced, eaten raw, and steamed.
Surprising benefits of water chestnuts
- Rich in potassium: It has enough amount of potassium, which helps to counter the effect of sodium and good for lowering blood pressure as well as for your heart. 5 raw water chestnuts have 5% of daily recommended of your potassium intake.
- Alleviate nausea: the drinking of water chestnut juice is helpful in easing out of nausea. Singhara juice is good for jaundice.
- Lowers cardiac risks: It helps to lower down the level of cholesterol and discourages the absorption of carbohydrates. 100 grams of it contains 2 g of fiber.
- Good for sound sleep: The presence of Vitamin B-6 is good for sleeping as well as alleviating your mood. It produces neurotransmitters that are effective for your mood and sleep.
- Good for measles: Boiled water of water chestnuts is good for measles patients.
- Good for thyroid gland: Due to the presence of iodine, it is effective in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
- Hair growth: It has a sufficient amount of potassium. It is also having vitamins B and E. All these nutrients are good for healthy hair.
- Control loose motions: It has cooling effects and acts like as coolant.
- Anti-viral: The presence of antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids, acts as anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-fungal.
- Good for fetal growth: During pregnancy, it is helpful in the growth and development of fetal.
- Good for skin: It helps to detoxify the body and gives an overall good appearance. The paste of water chestnuts and lemon juice is good to cure eczema.
- Regulates water retention: It has balancing effects in the body due to the presence of enough amount of potassium and a lower amount of sodium thus helps in regulation of water retention.
- Cure phlegm: Its juice is good for curing phlegm.
- Secretion of mother milk: It is good in the secretion of milk by stimulating the mammary gland.
- Sore throat: Eating the vegetable is helpful to cure a sore throat.
The nutritional value of Singhara is as follow:
It contains many bio-chemical compounds such as catechins and epicatechins antioxidants. It is having a penicillin-like compound called puchin. Besides this, it also contains gallic acids, vanillin, hydrocinnamic acids, and coumaric acids. It has an adequate amount of potassium and a low amount of sodium thus good for your blood pressure and heart. Obese people should avoid eating it because it’s more carbs containing. 100 grams of it has nutritional value calories (97), fat (0.1g), potassium (584mg), sodium (14mg), carbohydrate (24g), protein (1.4g), fiber (2g), protein (1g), calcium (1%), vitamin C (6%), vitamin B-6 (15%) and magnesium (5%).
Water chestnuts nutritive recipes
The following recipes can be made from this important vegetable.
- Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts
- Snow peas with water chestnuts
- Bacon water chestnut appetizer
- It can be used in preparing many recipes like Egg rolls, Moo Goo Gai Pan, vegetarian potstickers, vegetarian cabbage rolls, ultimate chicken stir-fry, and stuffed green peppers.
- Cashew shrimps with water chestnuts
Water chestnuts are available throughout the year. But in the tropical climate, especially in the Asian region, it is abundant in the winter season. In the United States of America (USA), it is grown in the states of California and Florida. For having Singhara round the year, you have to use either packed or in products.
The selection of singhara is some sorts of a tedious job. Selecting or getting the smooth skin of this vegetable is not an easy task. Very few pieces are even in shape. Maximum of them are wrinkled. So, while purchasing it, one should take more quantity of it because many of them are get rotten or decay.
How to store
Uncooked or raw Singhara without unpeeling can be kept for 4 to 5 days. The storage process for the peeled water chestnuts; extra precautions have to be taken care of. It can be put in the refrigerator for two weeks dipping into the water. Water should be changed daily to maintain its taste. However, canned water chestnuts can be kept for one year. Once it opened, it should be consumed at the earliest. It is advisable to eat the fresh form of it to get the maximum benefits of the vegetable. The fresh form is more tasty, crispy, and crunchy.