Saturday, June 24, 2006

WHB Water Chestnut stem

This is called water chestnut, scientifically, it belongs to the trapa species. In manipur, we know it by the name of Heikrak. Looks like the samosa, and it is believed that Samosa is also known as Singhara, because of it striking resemblance to the water chestnut, also called Singhara. Manipur is also famous for a lake called the Loktak lake, one of the largest natural reservoirs, unique because of the floating Islands, and more specifically the Keibul lamjao which is a Floating National Sanctuary, with a wide variety of Fauna, and flora, and the only natural home or habitat to The Sangai, or the beautiful brow antlered deer, an endangered species.

The lake also is the primary source of the locals for fishes and varied water plants, the water chestnut being one.

This blog post is not about the NUT, but the stem of the nut. A soft, hollow, and very delicious stem. Grows in bunches, and a delicacy of Manipur. We call it Heikrak Yelli, heikrak for the chestnut, yelli meaning the stem. There is a similar stem, of the water lily which also taste as good.

As you can see the fine needle like bunch of reddish stem, which is quite nutricious, and tasty. It is selodm cooked, we have it as a salad. But then, the salad has to be pungent, and won't actually go well with Mayonnaise. It is best had with the South Asian fish sauce and lots of red chilli.

I haven't actually tried preparing it anyother way then, with fish sauce and chilli. It is an acquired taste, fish sauce stuff that is, and hence I won't say everybody will love the salad, but I am sure there must be other way, like a saag eh!

I am sorry I don't have a better recipe, but lemme assure you the salad that I talked of, we call it Singju is something everybody from Manipur will long for, far away from home.

This is my entry to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this weekend by Virginie at Absolute green. Visit the weekend herb Blogging at Absolute Green's.

3 Comments:

Blogger Virginie said...

Your post is so interesting. I didn't know how a water chestnut looks like, nor that its stem was edible. That's a pity we can't get them in France (only the water chestnuts in tins). I'd love to taste it. Thank your for posting it.

6/25/2006 03:15:00 AM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

Very interesting. I do love reading your posts, and I feel like I'm learning a lot about unusual foods eaten in India.

BTW, I went to an Indian restaurant in California that I'll be posting about and I may need help identifying some of the foods! My favorite thing was a kind of soup (but we used it to dip breads in) made of tomatoes, garlic, chilies, and lots of tamarind. Quite red in color and absolutely delicious.

6/27/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Pritya said...

Hey Anthony,

That is indeed an interesting bit of information on the water chestnuts. They actually taste pretty good. I have eaten them in a few vegetarian dishes in Chinese retaurants.

The lotus stem, like the water chestnut stem is also edible. It is available fresh during the rainy season. It is a delicacy prepared best by the Sindhis in India. The lotus stem is also cut, dried in the sun and deep fried!

2/18/2007 06:37:00 PM  

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