The small, rounded corms of water chestnut have a crisp white flesh and can be eaten raw, slightly boiled, or grilled, and are often pickled or tinned.
They are most often eaten raw, sometimes sweetened. They can also be ground into a flour form used for making water chestnut cake, which is common as part of dim sum cuisine. They are unusual among vegetables for remaining crisp even after being cooked or canned, because their cell walls are cross-linked and strengthened by certain phenolic compounds.
The corms are rich in carbohydrates (about 90% by dry weight), especially starch (about 60 percent by dry weight), and are also a good source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Raw water chestnuts are slightly sweet and very crunchy. Boiled water chestnuts have a firm and slightly crunchy texture, with a flavor that is very mild and slightly nutty, so it can be easily overpowered by any seasonings or sauces with which the water chestnut is served or cooked.They are often used innoodle or rice dishes.