The water caltrop ‘Crachap’ in Thai, is an aquatic plant bearing distinct buffalo head-shaped fruits. The fruits are the Thai version of the more famous in the west, Chinese water chestnut. There’s evidence of water caltrop cultivation for at least 3,000 years.
The fruit contains a single and very starchy seed that can be eaten raw, cooked, roasted, or dried and milled into flour. In Thailand, it is popular in ‘Tub Tim Krob’ ruby stones dessert. The Chinese water chestnut is a great substitute to water caltrop as it is more accessible and practically saves effort in preparation as it has a larger edible part compared to water caltrop.
Although it can be eaten raw, cooking it before consumption is highly recommended due to its potential risk of inflicting Fasciolopsiasis a disease caused by a parasitic flatworm known as ‘Intestinal Fluke’.