Thai-Style Water Chestnut/Caltrops (Paniphal/Singhada) Salad

Remember I told you we found fresh, fresh water chestnuts in a Calcutta market? We absolutely had to get some home, and experiment with them. After all, I had never laid my eyes (or hands!) on fresh, straight-from-the-pond water chestnuts before. When we bought them, I was absolutely clueless about what I would do with them.

I asked the vegetable vendors what the locals do with the chestnuts aka caltrops (locally called ‘paniphal‘ or ‘singhada‘), and I was told they were usually eaten raw. Just peel them off and eat – they are super fresh, I was told time and time again. We did eat some raw, and quite liked the nutty flavour of them, though the taste of raw water chestnuts might not be for everyone.

Once back in Bangalore, I wanted to cook something with the water chestnuts. After some thought, I decided to make a Thai-style salad, keeping them raw, just as the locals prefer eating them. The end result was scrumptious, even if I say so myself.


Here is how I made the salad.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. About 2 cups of fresh water chestnuts, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  4. A few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  5. A small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
  6. 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  7. Juice of 2 lemons, or to taste
  8. 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
  9. 1/4 cup peanuts, dry roasted till crisp, let to cool down and coarsely crushed in mixer for just a second
  10. 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Serve immediately.


  1. If you don’t think raw water chestnuts are your thing, you could roast them to make this salad.
  2. Peeling raw water chestnuts can be quite an uphill task, I must warn you. That said, water chestnuts have a whole lot of health benefits and eating them raw can be the best thing you can do. I hope this gives you the much-needed motivation to keep at the tough task of peeling them, water chestnuts!
  3. You can make the preparations for the salad well in advance, and mix it up just when you are ready to serve it. It isn’t advisable to keep the mixed salad standing for more than a few minutes, as there are chances of it turning into a soggy mess.

You like? I hope you will try this out, too!


Here are some other salads that I have made and loved:

  1. Thai green mango and moong sprouts salad
  2. Thai raw mango and onion salad
  3. Thai green papaya salad
  4. Maharashtrian beetroot-onion raita
  5. Moong sprouts and pomegranate salad
  6. Kappa kizhangu/ tapioca salad
  7. Thai-style moong sprouts and pineapple salad
  8. Mexican nacho salad
  9. Simple carrot salad

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