How to Prepare Canned Water Chestnuts

Order moo goo gai pan or another vegetable dish from your local Chinese restaurant and you will find small circular discs with a surprising crunch. Water chestnuts are popular in Asian cuisine. Not true chestnuts, they are tubers, or root plants, that grow in slow-moving or still bodies of water throughout Asia. Freshwater chestnuts are available in the United States, but most consumers purchase the canned variety from Asian groceries for use in homemade stir-fry or dumpling dishes.

Stir-fry

Step 1

Preheat a wok or deep nonstick skillet over high heat for two to three minutes or until it is too hot to hold your hand over the top of the pan. Add the oil and turn the pan to coat the surface.

Step 2

Add the garlic and ginger once the oil begins to smoke slightly. Saute for one minute, using your wooden spoon to keep the mixture from sticking or browning.

Step 3

Reduce the heat of the burner to medium-high and add the broccoli and carrots. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the snow peas and water chestnuts and stir-fry for an additional two to three minutes.

Step 4

Whisk together cornstarch, broth and soy sauce in a small mixing bowl to create a thickening paste. Pour it over the vegetables and stir it in to mix it thoroughly. Cook the stir-fry an additional one to two minutes until thickened. Serve hot with rice and additional soy sauce.

Dumplings

Step 1

Combine green onions, water chestnuts, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse the ingredients until mixed. Add the ground pork to the food processor and run it until the meat and vegetables are thoroughly combined. Remove the pork mixture from the processor, cover it and refrigerate it for 30 to 60 minutes to set.

Step 2

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set a wonton wrapper on it. Scoop one teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of the wrapper, then lift the edges of the wrapper together to form a purse. Gently tap the bottom of the purse on the tray to flatten it so it will stand up on its own. Set the purse aside and repeat the process until you have exhausted your pork stuffing.

Step 3

Tear off a large enough piece of parchment paper to line the inside of a bamboo steamer. Set as many dumpling as you can in the steamer without crowding it. Leave a half inch between each dumpling.

Step 4

Steam the dumplings over boiling water for six to eight minutes. The dumplings are ready when the wrappers become translucent and the skin slightly puffy. Repeat until all of the dumplings are cooked.

Things You'll Need

  • Wok or deep nonstick skillet

  • 2 tbsp. peanut or Chinese stir-fry oil

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 2 tsp. ginger, minced

  • Large wooden spoon

  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen

  • 3/4 cup carrots, julienned

  • 8 oz. snow peas

  • 4 oz. can of water chestnuts, drained

  • Small mixing bowl

  • Wire whisk

  • 1 tbsp. corn starch

  • 3 tbsp. chicken broth, room temperature

  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce

  • Food processor

  • 6 oz. water chestnuts, finely chopped

  • 3 tbsp. green onions, chopped

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar

  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper

  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp. rice wine

  • 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil

  • 2/3 lb. ground pork

  • Mixing bowl

  • Baking sheet

  • Parchment paper

  • 50 wonton wrappers

  • Bamboo steamer

Tip

Water chestnuts are good sources of fiber and vitamin B, according to Liberty Gold, an American food canner that sells the vegetable.

Warning

Be careful when working around hot oil, as it can burn the skin on contact.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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