Water Chestnuts Steaming over a Wok
Chinese water chestnuts are not truly nuts, being more tuber in nature. Peeled before use, the water chestnut can be eaten raw and has a crunchy texture, slightly sweet in taste. When diced, it is one of my fav ingredients for use in wonton fillings mixed in together with the minced pork and prawn.
Inspired by ST's water chestnut cake in her Cheat Eat blog, I had wanted to attempt this steamed cake for quite awhile. The impetus came when I saw another version of this steamed cake in the Oct/Nov 2005 edition of the bilingual local food magazine, Gourmet Living (Shi Shang Pin Wei), which featured the use of wolfberries as part of the steamed chestnut mixture. Making a trip to Phoon Huat (our local baking supply shop), I bought water chestnut flour (S$2 per packet) manufactured in China (pic below shows the packaging of the box) and moving on to the NTUC Fairprice supermarket, I looked for fresh ready-peeled chestnuts (not being particularly keen to peel fresh chestnuts) or canned ready-peeled chestnuts. The ones you see below (foreground, right) are from a can and they served me just as well.
- first, wash and soak half a cup of wolfberries (not for too long though - 5 minutes is enough) - drain away water
- then, dice 150g water chestnuts
- add 200g sugar to 800ml water and bring to boil, reduce heat and add in the wolfberries and diced chestnuts
- mix 200g water chestnut flour with 20g cornflour and 400ml water into a paste
- add chestnut paste to wolfberries and diced chestnuts mixture and STIR till mixture thickens - mixture will look very gluey and starchy
- pour mixture into a greased square pan and steam over high heat (covered in a wok) for half an hour
- serve cut into slices when cooled, tho' I preferred mine after being chilled in the refrigerator
This sticky slightly sweet dessert with its crunchy bits of chestnuts and bursts of sweetness from the wolfberries is great after a meal on a hot day (like today) and of course, from the aesthetics point of view, the little dots of reddish brown from the wolfberries and glistening texture is very satisfying to my amateur photographer's eye!