Halloween Decoration or Exotic Spice?

Just in time for Halloween. Then again, it’s possible that this has a culinary use. I did find it in the produce aisle of my Chinese grocers, after all.

Don’t you think these would look awesome strung up for the season? It’s a devilish looking thing – does anyone else see horns and a scowling face?

I’ve consulted every Asian food reference I’ve been able to thing of so far…no luck.

Being of such humble means, your dear Leather District Gourmet has not the ability to offer prizes or rewards for the solution to this mystery….

However, eternal fame and glory await those who come up with the best description, either true or whimsical.

Have at it food fans!

~ by jacqueline1230 on September 21, 2006.

4 Responses to “Halloween Decoration or Exotic Spice?”

  1. What you have there is called a ling jiao which literally means “bull’s horn” in Chinese. It’s also known as a horned water chestnut, horned water caltrop. They are the seeds of the Trapa bicornis plant.

    According to various sources the horned water chestnut either contains a harmful parasite or toxins – everyone recommends boiling. Some websites say you should boil it for over an hour while Harold McGee’s On Food And Cooking suggests that only the cysts of a parasitic fluke are on the exterior of the nut and thorough washing, scrubbing, and a quick immersion in boiling water will do the trick.

  2. Hells Bells Pepper


    Root of Gargoyle

    (the last suggestion sounds a bit shakespearian – boil, boil, toil…)

  3. I actually had one of those once. I think you prepare and eat them like chestnuts. I vote for Balrog.

    Found this site, too.

  4. I vote for Tim Curry’s Lord of Darkness character from 1985’s Legend.

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